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Jones: Scripture Teaches That the Word of God is The Supreme Norm
Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics ^ | 7/18/96 | Douglas M. Jones III

Posted on 06/15/2015 6:30:36 PM PDT by RnMomof7

If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is true, then, as a system of theology, Roman Catholicism ought to be wholeheartedly rejected. This quick inference is not as simplistic as it may first appear. Sola Scriptura not only negates any form of authoritative tradition in Roman Catholicism, it also eviscerates any Roman Catholic doctrine or practice explicitly drawn from Scripture, since the truth of such doctrines is, according to the Council of Trent, only guaranteed by the "holy mother Church" who has the sole authority to "judge of their [the Scriptures'] true sense and interpretation."[1] Therefore, if Sola Scriptura precludes such ecclesiastical authority, Roman Catholic theology is unjustified and ought to be rejected.

Another reason to debate the issue of Sola Scriptura is that some converts from Evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism have claimed that a primary reason for their shift in theology was the absence of a Biblical case for Sola Scriptura. Such an astounding claim ought to lead the Protestant to query -- How can such a vast case be missed? I should rather think that the Biblical case for Sola Scriptura is similar to Warfield's claim concerning the basis for the infallibility of Scripture; the case overwhelms one like a waterfall.

Though the debate over Sola Scriptura is often discussed in terms of "sources" of revelation or authority, I think the issue will be clearer if we focus on whether Scripture is the sole or supreme norm for all questions of Christian thought and practice.[2] Hence, the thesis for which I will argue is the same as that found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, I:10: "The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined... can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture."

In direct contrast to the Westminster Confession, both the Council of Trent and Vatican II declare that there are two supreme norms for matters of faith and practice. The Council of Trent states: "[The Roman Catholic church] receives and venerates with a feeling of piety and reverence all the books of both of the Old and New Testaments, since one God is the author of both; also the traditions, whether they relate to faith or to morals, as having been dictated orally by Christ or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church in unbroken succession."[3] Vatican II continues the same line of thought: "...both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence."[4]

Though one can quite easily demonstrate Sola Scriptura from the Bible, the following brief arguments are not in any sense an exhaustive case for this doctrine. Nevertheless, they ought to be a sufficient start.

Preliminary Distinctions

Though some Roman Catholic apologists assume that Sola Scriptura rules out any appeal to divine oral revelation, no Protestant advocate of this doctrine has ever held that view. Advocates of Sola Scriptura take as obvious that, at some points in the history of redemption, God has revealed His will to His people by means of oral transmissions. For example, this form of revelation was authoritatively used prior to the time of Moses and the inscripturation of the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament writings. No advocate of Sola Scriptura would claim, for example, that the immediate hearers of Isaiah's pronouncements were free to disregard his prophetic revelations simply because he had not written them down. This would be a silly understanding of Sola Scriptura. Hence, Sola Scriptura incorporates the fact that, as a general pattern, God reveals His Word orally and temporarily through prophets and apostles and then subsequently inscripturates His Word. At all points in this process, God's Word is the supreme norm for Christian thought and practice. Thus, when Protestants speak of "Scriptura" we use it synonymously with such designations as "God's Word" (whether oral or written), a practice readily found in the New Testament (e.g., Rom. 9:17; Gal. 3:8; Matt. 19:4-5; Mk. 7:9-13; Acts 2:16-17; Heb. 1:6-7).

Roman Catholic apologists often appeal to New Testament oral "traditions" (e.g. II Tim. 2:2; II Thess. 2:15) as immediate refutations of Sola Scriptura. Given the distinctions above, this is a naive move on their part. As stated for any point in redemptive history, then, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the contention that the Word of God (oral or written) is the sole and supreme norm for Biblical faith. The central issue, then, which Protestants affirm and Roman Catholics deny, is the claim that the history of redemption demonstrates that God, at some points, revealed His Word temporarily in prophetic/oral form and then inscripturated this norm permanently in written form, with no subsequent authoritative appeals to oral revelation. Protestants maintain that, following inscripturation, the oral "speaking as a child" is done away with, and our only norm is the "mature," written Word of God; the latter is our current situation and, most notably, was that of the Reformers. In contrast, Roman Catholics maintain that some oral teaching authority continues as a norm on par with Scripture (though they do not claim that this Sacred Tradition is new revelation; it is only explicative).[5]

Protestants reject such a "co-supreme" norm and contend that Scripture itself teaches that the Word of God (now written) is our sole and supreme norm. We wholeheartedly reject the supreme authority of any secondary interpretations, explications, or extra-Biblical pronouncements, whether these are alleged charismatic revelations, Mary Baker Eddy's insights, or Mormon or Roman Catholic "apostolic" authorities.

I. A Biblical Case

A Biblical case for Sola Scriptura can be approached in numerous ways. I will begin by arguing from Biblical practices found in the Old Testament law, wisdom literature, and prophets and then from New Testament theology and practice. I will then rebut several common Roman Catholic objections to Sola Scriptura.

A. Old Testament

Old Testament practice clearly demonstrates that the sole and supreme authority is God's Word. Roman Catholics readily agree with this claim but reject the claim that this practice demonstrates Sola Scriptura, since they deem Sacred Tradition to be the Word of God as well (I will comment on this claim momentarily). Regardless of this assertion, Old Testament practice demonstrates that the sole and supreme norm invoked is God's Word, apart from secondary interpreters, explications, or "infallible" institutions.

1. Law

In very stark terms, the central issue of the Fall was loyalty to God's revelation alone, apart from even a supernatural interpreter. God had expressly forbidden Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but when they were tempted by Satan, they demonstrated their disloyalty to God's Word by considering it just another hypothesis on par with Satan's Word, which they could supposedly evaluate. In effect, Adam and Eve placed themselves as judges over God's revelation in order to reject it. God's revelation was clear; Adam and Eve needed no secondary, infallible interpreter or else their sin would have been excusable. Hence, we find Sola Scriptura at the very beginning of redemptive history.

Similarly, Noah was called upon to heed God's revelation without excuse. God's covenant was established directly with Noah as representative of creation (Gen. 9: 8,9). Subsequently, Ham's rebellion against God's revelation met with condemnation (Gen. 9: 22ff). Throughout, the sole standard was God's unmediated Word.

A most striking example of Sola Scriptura is made plain in the Abrahamic covenant. God again reveals Himself, apart from a divine expositor, and binds Himself to fulfill His covenant (Gen. 15). When Abram seeks confirmation of God's glorious promises, the Lord confirms His divine Word by His divine Word! As Hebrews 6:13 states, "since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself." No Pontiff or magisterium or Sacred Tradition is invoked to verify God's Word; the supreme authority is the Lord's own testimony to His Word. No further appeal is possible. Sola Scriptura reigns.

Later in Abraham's life, God further explicates His own covenant (Gen. 17) directly with Abraham (v. 9ff) and holds up Abraham as an example to his posterity for keeping "My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws" (Gen. 26:5).

As God's revelation is inscripturated in the Mosaic era, Sola Scriptura continues as the practice. The Lord keeps His covenant promises and further reveals Himself to His people. Moses recounts all of God's revelation to the people, and the people respond, "All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do! And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord" (Ex. 24:3,4; cf. 34:27). In these passages, we not only see the general transformation of God's Word from the temporary oral to the written, but we also see a direct "recounting" of God's Word to the people.

To the Levitical priests, the Lord revealed the sole supremacy of His Word over against non-Christian standards: "You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt...nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes;...I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 18:4). Hence, the priests themselves were directed to heed the (now written) Word of God alone. God's law never directs the priests or the people to give equal reverence to some ecclesiastical or priestly tradition; instead, they are repeatedly pointed back to the clear revelation of God's covenant.

In fact, the law itself explicitly prohibits Levitical priests or the people from adding another standard to God's revelation: "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deut. 4:2; cf. Deut. 12:32; 13:1-4). Such an unequivocal prohibition clearly precluded minor priestly additions, let alone an entire ecclesiastical body of "living" tradition which would stand on par with God's Word. Moreover, this commandment was given to all of Israel (Deut. 4:1). They were expected to understand and apply God's Word so as not to adulterate it, even if their priests did. God alone has the authority to add to His Word, and, at this point in redemptive history, He directs them to His written Word as their supreme standard alone and not to another Biblical institution or tradition. The law, then, serves as exemplary support for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, and since the law serves as the standard in the historical revelation that follows Moses, we should expect to see the written Word as the standard of faith and practice there as well, and we do (cf. Josh. 1:7 - "do not turn from it to the right or to the left;" II Chron. 17:7ff.; 29:15ff; II Kings 22 -- Josiah: "Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us" (v. 13).

2. Wisdom Literature
Even a cursory glance at the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament will provide further support that Scripture itself directs us to look only to God speaking in Scripture as our supreme norm. Psalm 1 points to the exclusivity and supremacy of God's written Word in that the righteous will meditate on it, "day and night" ([v. 2] figuratively, there is no time to meditate on ecclesiastical traditions!). Psalm 19 declares that God's Word is "perfect," "sure," "enlightening," "enduring forever," and "true" (vv. 7-10). The Psalms nowhere place similar designations on any divine institution or secondary explications. Psalm 37 describes the righteous as one who has the law of God "in his heart"(v.31) and Psalm 119 describes the blessed as those "who walk in the law of the Lord (v. 1). Psalm 119 glorifies God's written revelation as something to delight in (v. 70), love (v. 97), fear (v. 120), understand (v. 130), is everlasting (v. 160), and true (v. 142).

The Book of Proverbs repeats the solemn declaration that "every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him; Do not add to His words. Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar" (30: 5,6). This command becomes an enduring restriction on God's revelation. As God's people we are to have no other supreme authorities; no other institution or object is so circumscribed. Finally, after reflecting on the vanity of life, the Preacher of Ecclesiastes summarizes our basic duty as, "fear God and keep His commandments" (Eccl. 12:13).

3. Prophets
Sola Scriptura is the prevailing assumption of all the prophetic discourses in that the prophets conveyed God's Word directly to the people; the hearers were required to understand, interpret, and change their ways without any Mother Church infallibly interpreting the prophetic discourses. Moreover, at various times, the prophets pronounce curses upon the people for their failure to heed God's written Word; they rebelled against His covenant standards.

More particularly, Isaiah rebukes the false diviners in accord with the earlier prohibition from Deuteronomy 13: 1-4 ("you shall not listen to the words of that prophet....You shall follow the Lord...and...keep His commandments"), when he declares "to the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Is. 8:20).

Jeremiah declares that the coming New Covenant will be one, not in which Sacred Tradition reigns, but in which the Lord will place His "law within them" (Jer. 31:31).

Ezekiel gloriously testifies to the coming Christ who will reign over a future people who walk in accord with God's written Word (Ez. 37:24) in an everlasting covenant.

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego appeal supremely to the first commandment in their defiance of Nebuchadnezzar's wicked directive.

Repeatedly, we see that the Old Testament practice is to revere God's Word, most often in its written form, as the sole and supreme norm for thought and practice. The law, wisdom literature, and prophets direct us only to the Word of God in this manner. The Lord repeatedly speaks His Word directly to His people, who are expected to understand and apply it faithfully. The Old Testament simply has no place for secondary infallible explications or institutions, instead, it is saturated with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

B. New Testament

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not only at the heart of the Old Covenant church; it also continues in the practice of the New Covenant church. At the time of Christ, we see that the Old Testament oral revelation was finally inscripturated in such a manner that Christ can refer to it as a completed whole (Lk. 16:16; 24:44; Matt. 7:12). Given the history of revelation, we should expect that the new oral revelation from Christ and the apostles would be followed by a final written collection of God's Word as well.

1. Assumption of Old Testament Standards

One very basic argument for Sola Scriptura is that New Testament teachings assume Old Testament standards and practices, unless otherwise specified. Christ Himself directs us to obey the teachings of the Old Testament (Matt. 23:2,3; 22:37-40), for "the Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn. 10:35) and its standards are everlasting (Matt. 5:18; Lk. 16:17).

Similarly, the apostles direct us to heed the Old Testament standards. Peter instructs us to heed the teachings of the prophets as "a lamp shining in a dark place" (II Pet. 2:19). Paul teaches that Old Testament practices were "written for our instruction" (I Cor. 10:11; cf. Rom. 15:4), and that all Scripture is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction" (II Tim. 3:16 -- even Roman Catholics will concede this verse at least applies to the Old Testament Scriptures).

Thus, if the New Testament assumes the continuation of Old Testament teachings, and the Old Testament teaches Sola Scriptura (as above), then the New Testament teaches Sola Scriptura as well.

For example, if the Old Testament law, wisdom literature, and prophets direct us only to the Word of God as the supreme norm and not to ecclesiastical or priestly explications, then the New Testament teaches the same. The burden is on opponents of the doctrine to demonstrate that God has rescinded His previous standards.

Similarly, if Deuteronomy 4:2 prohibits adding anything to God's Word, and the New Testament assumes that this sort of teaching continues, then the prohibition also applies to adding anything to God's Word (oral or written) in the New Testament. We see this argument confirmed in the New Testament writings themselves. Paul most emphatically condemns those who would teach contrary to apostolic doctrine (Gal. 1:8,9), and the Holy Spirit speaking through John applies the same prohibition to the words of Revelation: "If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book..." (Rev. 22:18,19).

Given this general norm, Protestants do not beg-the-question against Roman Catholicism by arguing that Christ's condemnation of Pharisaical traditions (e.g., to Matt. 15:3) also applies to Roman Catholic traditions. The usual Roman Catholic retort to such appeals is to argue that Christ only rejects human traditions and not allegedly divine traditions as provided by the Roman church. But if the normal Biblical practice is to reject any secondary explications or traditions, then the burden is on the Roman Catholic apologist to prove that Christ now approves of secondary traditions. In short, the Roman Catholic apologist has the burden of demonstrating that God has now changed His normal practice and established an infallible and authoritative explicator of His Word. If he does not meet this burden, then Christ's condemnation of the Pharisees applies directly to Roman Catholic traditions.

2. New Testament Practice

Not only does New Testament theology endorse the ancient teaching of Sola Scriptura, but so does the practice of the New Testament church. As in the past, God's people may discern truth by going directly to the Scriptures: "they have Moses and prophets; let them hear them" (Lk. 16:29). Christ even rejects authoritative ecclesiastical opinion as a norm beside God's Word: "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God" (Matt. 22:29; cf. Matt. 23:24).

Though the apostles were the legal witness-bearers of Christ, thus making their words the Word of God (cf. Lk. 10:16; I Cor. 2:13; 7:12; 14:37; II Cor. 13:3; I Thess. 2:13; II Thess. 2:15; II Pet. 3:2), they still in practice regularly appealed to written revelation as supreme norm to confute, persuade, and settle differences (Acts 1:20; 2:17ff.; 7; 13:47; 15:16ff.; Rom. 9,10,11; Gal. 3; Hebrews). Like Christ, they do not direct believers to secondary explications or extra-Scriptural Hebrew traditions (though plentiful) as authoritative norms but to examine the Word of God itself (Rom. 15:4; Eph. 6:17; II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:19; Rev. 1:3). Scripture exalts those who examine the written revelation of God ("noble-minded" Acts 17:11) and assumes that God's people have the ability to rightly judge and interpret it apart from an infallible interpreter (II Tim. 2:15; Acts 17:11). Hence, even this cursory review of the teachings of Christ and the apostles suggest that, just like the Old, the New Testament is saturated with the teaching of Sola Scriptura.

II. Roman Catholic Objections to Sola Scriptura

A. Sola Scriptura is Unbiblical

As noted previously, several Roman Catholic apologists have attempted to offer a Biblical case against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura by arguing that (1) New Testament references to oral "tradition" (II Thess. 2:15; II Tim. 2:2; II Cor. 11:2) demonstrate the unbiblical nature of the doctrine and (2) Scripture nowhere teaches the doctrine.[6] The first argument rests on a naive understanding of Sola Scriptura in that it presupposes the doctrine to imply, as noted earlier, that the teachings of Isaiah or Christ were not the sole and supreme norm when spoken. The real trick would be to find some advocate of Sola Scriptura who has ever held this view. Hence, this argument attacks a straw man. In response to the second argument, I offer the non-exhaustive case presented above. Scripture teaches Sola Scriptura from beginning to end.

B. Sola Scriptura is Unhistorical

Hahn, Kreeft, Matatics, and others contend that the fact that "the first generation of Christians did not have the New Testament, only the Church, to teach them"[7] is a serious blow to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Moreover, Hahn claims that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is improbable, since it had "no single defender for the first thirteen centuries of the church" (i.e., Hahn: "Is it really the case that for fourteen centuries the Holy Spirit could guide no one to see the formal principle of the Reformation?"[8] ).

Though I maintain that such historical claims are false,[9] this is beyond our current question. Nevertheless, this "unhistorical" objection fails for other reasons. First, even if we grant the truth of the historical claim, the objection still assumes a very truncated view of church history. Most of those who present this argument speak of the church as beginning in the first century, and simply ignore church doctrine in the Old Testament. By narrowing the scope of history, the issue, deceptively, appears to be large. As seen above, if we mark church history from the beginning of covenant history as Scripture itself does, and readily find the doctrine of Sola Scriptura from the very beginning of time, then Roman Catholic teaching is aberrant in the history of redemption, and accordingly should be rejected.

Secondly, the "unhistorical" objection suffers from a common malady in church history; the view that the current age is the peak of church history. Again granting the historical claims of the objection for the sake of argument, Sola Scriptura only appears to be unhistorical if we are very near the end of time. If, however, we have another five thousand or so years to go and the Roman Catholic church dissolves and joyously becomes Reformed in the next one hundred years, then its current teaching is clearly unhistorical. Hence, the "unhistorical" objection fails apart from its dubious historical claims due to a very truncated view of history (on both ends).

C. Sola Scriptura is Illogical or Incoherent

Various objections can be grouped under this heading; they all attempt to refute Sola Scriptura by means of an internal logical flaw.[10] Some Roman Catholic opponents argue that Sola Scriptura is unreasonable because (1) it demands a closed canon, but Scripture never specifies what books are actually included in that canon, and/or (2) it requires self-authentication, but as Hahn contends, "no book can authenticate its own inspired status." [11]

Both arguments assume that God cannot or does not authenticate His own Word, apart from some human testimony. This is false as per Hebrews 6:13, but it also belies a very deficient view of God in that, though He is supposedly all sovereign, he requires human testimony to confirm His Word. On a view which better acknowledges the sovereign authority of God, the church did not determine what to include in the canon; it merely recognized the canon inherent in God's Word from the start. By analogy, John the Baptist did not make Jesus the Christ by testifying to Him; he merely recognized Christ's glorious status, and the church later recognized the Shepherd speaking to His people in the Scriptures (John 10:4,16). Moreover, those who raise this objection have yet to demonstrate how their claims for the authority of the church withstand the same objection.[12] Therefore, this general objection does not tell against Sola Scriptura at all.

D. Sola Scriptura is Impractical

A final Roman Catholic objection is the claim that Sola Scriptura is false because it leads to denominational anarchy: "private interpretation leads to denominationalism. Let five hundred people interpret the Bible without Church authority and there will soon be five hundred denominations. But [this] is an intolerable scandal by Scriptural standards (cf. Jn. 17: 20-23 and I Cor. 1:10-17)." [13]

First, this objection assumes, as many Roman Catholic arguments do, that Biblical unity is identical to institutional unity, as opposed to unity in truth. The Roman Catholic assumption about unity implies that we would be in a superior situation even if we had, for example, one corrupt church, and a hundred fruitful denominations agreeing in doctrine. Secondly, it assumes that the mere exercise of "church authority" genuinely resolves doctrinal differences instead of just judiciously obliterating them. Thirdly, and most importantly, it fails simply because it begs-the-question by assuming the falsity of Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura simply precludes the type of institution assumed by the objection. If Sola Scriptura is indeed God's design for His people, then this objection attacks God's plan itself. Hence, this objection should be jettisoned.

In all, then, none of these objections succeeds. They each fall prey to simple fallacies. Though I believe I have met my burden by providing arguments which demonstrate that Sola Scriptura is the teaching and practice of the Old and New Testaments, my next step might be to close out my case by going on to refute Catholic arguments for the claim that God has provided an infallible interpreter to explicate His Word to His people. But such arguments are Mr. Matatics' burden, and so I will await his response for that opportunity.[14]


[1 ] H.J. Schroeder (trans.), Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, English Translation (Rockford, Il: Tan Books and Publishers, 1978), Fourth Session [p.19]. The appeal to Trent is no mistake. Our entire debate simply ignores liberal Roman Catholic theology, since it has largely removed itself from such concerns. Conservative Roman Catholics gladly and actively defend Trent and other such traditions, though many Protestants glibly assume that no modern Catholics defend "old" Catholicism.

[2 ] This manner of framing the question in terms of norm instead of source is also the way Roman Catholic apologist Karl Keating discusses the issue (Catholicism and Fundamentalism, [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988], p. 134), though his remarks are otherwise quite inaccurate (e.g., "Anything extraneous to the Bible is simply wrong...." or "The whole of Christian truth is found within its pages" Ibid.).

[3 ] Schroeder, Council of Trent, p. 17.

[4 ] Vatican II, Dei Verbum, 9.

[5 ] For example, Roman Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft claims, "the Catholic Church does not claim to be divinely inspired to add any new doctrines, only divinely protected to preserve and interpret the old ones, the deposit of faith." (Fundamentals of the Faith (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), p. 275.

[6 ] e.g. Keating, Catholicism, p. 136; Kreeft, Fundamentals, p. 275; Scott Hahn in "The Authority/Justification Debate, Scott Hahn vs. Robert Knudsen" (Catholic Answers, P.O. Box 17181, San Diego, CA 92117). Interestingly, Hahn claims that even after several years of struggle he could not find an answer to the question, `Where does Scripture teach Sola Scriptura?' "I even called two or three of my seminary professors...but I didn't come up with a satisfying answer."

[7 ] Kreeft, Ibid.

[8 ] Hahn, "Authority Debate."

[9 ] cf. Oberman, H., The Harvest of Medieval Theology, (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963); Turretin, F., The Doctrine of Scripture; Locus II of Institutio of Theologiae Elencticae, Beardslee, J. (ed. & trans.), (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981); Chemnitz, M., Examination of the Council of Trent, Pt. I, Kramer, F. (trans.), (Missouri: Concordia Publ. House, 1971).

[10 ] Some of the objectors appear confused on this point. For example, Kreeft claims that Sola Scriptura is self-contradictory but in fact he only argues that the doctrine is unjustified, not internally contradictory (Kreeft, Fundamentals, p.275). Similarly, Hahn claims that the doctrine is "illogical" but doesn't produce a logical problem inherent in it; instead he raises an epistemological question regarding the formation of the canon. Moreover, some of the objections that could be placed in this category are simply too far from the mark to consider seriously. For example, Marshner ("The Development of Doctrine," Reasons for Hope, [Virginia: Christendom College Press] pp. 177-196) offers a logically detailed argument to refute the alleged Protestant claim that Scripture presents a set of dogmas which have no further implications. Since Protestants, especially in the Westminster Confession tradition, explicitly affirm the very opposite, Marshner's logical detail is all built upon a straw man.

[11 ] Hahn, "Authority Debate."

[12 ] Keating (Catholicism, p. 125ff,) interestingly attempts to offer a non-circular argument to this effect by using a Montgomery/Evidentialist line of reasoning, but he begs-the-question by assuming the truth not only of theism but of Roman Catholicism as well by taking the Scriptures as "purely historical material" and "[f]rom that we conclude an infallible church was founded."

[13 ] Kreeft, Fundamentals, Ibid.

[14 ] My thanks to David Hagopian and Doug Wilson for comments on an earlier version of this essay.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Evangelical Christian
KEYWORDS: doctrine; solascriptura
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1 posted on 06/15/2015 6:30:36 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Alex Murphy; bkaycee; blue-duncan; boatbums; CynicalBear; daniel1212; Gamecock; HossB86; Iscool; ...

sola scriptura ping

2 posted on 06/15/2015 6:31:16 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
"Supreme norm" and "sole norm" are not the same thing. The author is dishonest in pretending that they are.

As a Catholic, I have absolutely no problem in endorsing Scripture as the supreme norm of the faith. Calling Scripture the "sole norm" violates Scripture itself. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead the church to "all truth". He never promised that it would be exhaustively written down in a book which would require no further authoritative interpretation.

3 posted on 06/15/2015 6:37:08 PM PDT by Campion
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To: RnMomof7

Let me ask you theses questions. As in God’s word, whish is correct? The linage of Joseph in Matthew 1 or the linage of Joseph in Luke 3:23. The next question is who was the father of Jesus?

4 posted on 06/15/2015 6:47:45 PM PDT by mrs ippi
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To: RnMomof7
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Luke 24:44-49Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

John 10:35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken

5 posted on 06/15/2015 6:56:53 PM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: Campion

So, by what means does the Catholic church determine what truth is that it claims is outside the purview of Scripture?

How do they know if they’re being led by the Holy Spirit?

Get a warm, fuzzy feeling?

Form a committee and vote on it?

6 posted on 06/15/2015 6:59:00 PM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: RnMomof7

Thanks for posting this article. I think it is one of the best defenses of sola Scriptura I have seen.

7 posted on 06/15/2015 7:14:02 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: mrs ippi

The angel Gabriel; told the blessed Virgin Mary that the Holy Spirit would come over her. And that the name of the baby would be Jesus.

8 posted on 06/15/2015 7:31:10 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Campion

” As a Catholic, I have absolutely no problem in endorsing Scripture as the supreme norm of the faith. Calling Scripture the “sole norm” violates Scripture itself. “

Some response.

Sola Scriptura doesn’t make the Scriptures the only source. It declares it is the ultimate source of authority to which every other must answer. Every doctrine is judged by the single standard, does the Scripture teach it. If not, it is manmade.

“Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead the church to “all truth”.

It was a promise to believers and not to a church. Still, the promise was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament Scriptures. He continues to live inside each believer and speak to his or her heart.

“He never promised that it would be exhaustively written down in a book which would require no further authoritative interpretation. “

He gave to the church the spiritual gift of teachers for this purpose.

Nowhere did Christ promise that there would be one authority perched in Rome, nor just one gathering.

9 posted on 06/15/2015 7:31:54 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion ( "Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal.")
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To: RnMomof7

In addition to the Catholic church, there are many other churches which teach their traditions as though they were from God. They may adhere to “sola scriptura”, but they don’t adhere to the Scriptures. Like the Catholic church, these “denominations” were invented by men - only more recently.

10 posted on 06/15/2015 7:35:28 PM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: RnMomof7
Scripture AND Tradition equal the Word of God
11 posted on 06/15/2015 7:35:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Campion

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead the church to “all truth”.

Indeed He did!

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

John 16:12-15 KJV

12 posted on 06/15/2015 7:36:16 PM PDT by rwa265
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To: RnMomof7

this again... jeesh

13 posted on 06/15/2015 7:38:20 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: mrs ippi

Most conservative Bible scholars today take a different view, namely, that Luke is recording Mary’s genealogy and Matthew is recording Joseph’s. Matthew is following the line of Joseph (Jesus’ legal father), through David’s son Solomon, while Luke is following the line of Mary (Jesus’ blood relative), through David’s son Nathan. Since there was no Greek word for “son-in-law,” Joseph was called the “son of Heli” by marriage to Mary, Heli’s daughter. Through either Mary’s or Joseph’s line, Jesus is a descendant of David and therefore eligible to be the Messiah. Tracing a genealogy through the mother’s side is unusual, but so was the virgin birth. Luke’s explanation is that Jesus was the son of Joseph, “so it was thought” (Luke 3:23).

Read more:

Hope that helps.

14 posted on 06/15/2015 7:41:09 PM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR!)
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To: Salvation

Why argue, when the Word of God, is Always Present? Why do Holy Roman Catholics, argue anything, with anyone? God is present. Right?

15 posted on 06/15/2015 7:41:21 PM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: rwa265

This was part of what Christ said after the Last Supper, so it is addressed to the Apostles. How do you know that it applies to *all* followers of Christ, even future ones?

16 posted on 06/15/2015 7:56:29 PM PDT by Chicory
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To: RnMomof7
Then the apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them:
The apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number [who went out] without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’
(Acts 15:22-29)
Look, the Bible itself shows that the gathered pastors of the church taught with the authority of the Holy Spirit. Sola scriptura is contrary to Scripture.
17 posted on 06/15/2015 8:40:04 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: RnMomof7
Why are you always finding fault with your mother for everything?

No I don't!!

OK, let's change the subject. Did you notice the beautiful ring around the moon last night?

No because my mother always keeps the curtains closed in my bedroom!

Oh brother. OK, let's try another subject. Remember that summer we girls camped at Camp Grenada and the bear came out of the woods?

My mother scolded me when I tried to tell her that story when I got home from the trip!

Jeesh! One more try. Shall we walk to Brinkerhoff's drugstore and get a couple of Green Rivers?

That reminds me. My mother always wears this sickly green hat in the summer. Makes me wanna puke!

Gotta go...

18 posted on 06/15/2015 8:50:52 PM PDT by jobim
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To: metmom
So, by what means does the Catholic church determine what truth is that it claims is outside the purview of Scripture?

By the magisterial teaching of the Church.

By what means do Protestant determine what truth is that it posits outside the actual words of Scripture. And do not be mislead, despite all the claims of sola scriptura Protestantism does not operate according to it. Rather, it posits specific theological claims, Protestant opinions, that it insists that must be believed and places these opinions on the same plane as Scripture. If it truly worked according to sola scriptura it could not arbitrate between Catholic interpretations of Scripture and those of its own. Sola scriptura does not allow one opinion concerning the interpretation of Scripture to be raised above that of another.

How do they know if they’re being led by the Holy Spirit?

See the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. How does a Protestant know that he is being lead rather than a Catholic?

Form a committee and vote on it?

Again, see Acts 15.

19 posted on 06/15/2015 8:52:03 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
Sola Scriptura doesn’t make the Scriptures the only source. It declares it is the ultimate source of authority to which every other must answer.

The term is "sola scriptura", not "summa scriptura." The "sola" in sola scriptura means "only."

Every doctrine is judged by the single standard, does the Scripture teach it. If not, it is manmade.

That sounds like only Scripture to me. But of course sola scriptura itself is not found in Scripture. It is manmade.

It was a promise to believers and not to a church.

This distinction is not to be found in Scripture. It is manmade.

He continues to live inside each believer and speak to his or her heart.

Is this true of Catholic believers also?

He gave to the church the spiritual gift of teachers for this purpose.

Which the Church continues to do through the pastors established by Jesus Christ.

Nowhere did Christ promise that there would be one authority perched in Rome, nor just one gathering.

Nice rhetorical trick in trying to limit the Universal (i.e. Catholic) Church to just the city of Rome. The Catholic Church consist of over 5000 bishops and over 1 billion members throughout the world. It is not just the church of Rome.

20 posted on 06/15/2015 9:05:54 PM PDT by Petrosius
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