Monday, January 16, 2017

Hello Ben!  I'm a blogger now thanks to you! And my wife is

I pray the Lord would bless our discussions.  Nothing matters more to me than knowing the truth in Jesus.  
Like you Ben, I'm a layman.  I work 50 hours a week to keep the bills paid, trying to be a good husband and father, trying to follow the Lord.  We gotta get this right don't we man? "Life is too short for bad theology!"

Your words in blue:It does not seem at all apparent to me that this teaches Sola Scriptura. If this is the strongest scriptural text for the SS hypothesis, it is lamentably weak. Indeed, 3:14 seems to speak directly to the oral tradition; and so do many other verses in scripture. St Paul admonishes us to hold to whatever he has taught by word of mouth or in writing, for example.

Often, Sola Scriptura is misunderstood as if we are saying that God's Word has never been transmitted orally.  Obviously, this is not the case.  When Paul told Timothy to hold to what he had learned by word of mouth, that was binding on him, that was the Word of God.  But Sola Scriptura does not address the time when special revelation was being given, the time of inscripturation.  SS addresses the period of time we are in now.  The Apostles are no longer with us.  They have gone to be with the Lord.  And all we have left from their authoritative oral preaching is now written and contained in the New Testament Canon.  Ephesians 2:20 says the church is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone".
I think you would agree that the Apostles are the foundation of the Church.  Sola Scriptura seeks to guard that foundation.  SS seeks to test all doctrines by that Apostolic foundation. And since all of the Apostles are no longer here with us preaching orally, we have to hold to their teaching that was written down.  How did people in Jesus' day hold to Moses' teaching?  They had to stick closely to what was written by Moses since Moses was no longer with them to preach orally.  But during Moses lifetime, of course his oral preaching was the Word of God and binding.  Does that make sense Ben?  Sola Scriptura speaks to our current situation because there are no Apostles or Prophets around today who can preach authoritative oral revelation.  

I had said, "Scripture equips the man of God "for every good work." therefore, no other ultimate source is needed for religious truth." 

YOU SAID: The 'therefore' in this sentence actually hides a logical error. For example, a plumber might have a tool box that equipped him for every job he might encounter; but instructions on how to use the tools is also necessary. Scripture is indeed necessary and equips us (no Christian could deny that) but this verse does not teach that it is all that is necessary. 

I would disagree Ben.  Scripture completes the man of God.  "that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."  The text clearly says that Scripture completes the man of God and equips him for every good work.  If something more is needed, like the teaching Magisterium of the Church, then Scripture would not complete the man of God but he would need something more.  I think your comment simply contradicted what the text clearly says.  Notice Paul moves immediately in Chapter 4 and charges Timothy to "Preach the Word!"  False teachers are soon going to invade the church and Timothy's only defense will be "Preach the Word!"  This is clear teaching from Paul to Timothy to tenaciously hold to the God-breathed Scripture.  Paul knew his departure was near.  He didn't tell Timothy to go find the Pope, but to preach Scripture.

I had asked: "How does Scripture equip you to venerate departed saints?"

YOU SAID: There are two parts to this. The first is that I do not concede that Christians are bound by Scripture alone; that is, the Sacred Tradition of the Church, and the formal teaching of the Church, are also authoritative.

Here you have 3 items:  Scripture, Tradition, and Church.  But these 3 cannot be equal authorities.  What if the Church contradicts something taught in Scripture?  I can show you it does.  The Bible undeniably teaches Sola Fide. "whoever believes has eternal life" John 6:47.  Yet Rome teaches that justification is by faith + works.  Both cannot be true.  Someone is wrong.  Is it Scripture or the Church?
I contend that there can only be one ultimate authority in the Church, and that authority must be God speaking in Scripture.  But if you embrace the Church as an equal authority, she will be irreformable.  When false doctrines sneak in, there will be no way to get them out because there is no way to correct them.  In reality, those who believe the Church has equal authority with Scripture, actually end up making the Church the supreme authority.  Because the Church tells you how you must interpret Scripture.  Even though John 3:16 so clearly teaches Sola Fide, Roman Catholics can't see it because the Church won't let them see it because the Church is their ultimate authority, Sola Ecclesia.

YOU SAID: However, in this case, we have a clear Scriptural mandate. 'All generations shall call me blessed.' To refuse to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary is to make a liar of her, in her proclamation that is clearly presented as inspired.
***I do desire to honor Mary as she deserves.  She is blessed.  She is the mother of my Lord.  She is Theotokos.  But I don't see a command in Scripture to pray to her after she had departed.  If she were here with us today, I would run to her and ask her to pray for me.  But we just don't see this practice done by the Apostles.  In fact, every time an Apostle or an angel is venerated in the New Testament, they are quickly commanded "Don't do that! Worship God!"  I can give you the references if you want them.  They are in Acts and Revelation if I remember correctly.

I had said, "So where is His Word? It is now written down in the Supreme Apostolic Tradition, Scripture. Can you give me an example of any other God-breathed revelation that's not in Scripture?"

YOU SAID: This line of argument risks being slightly circular: I only accept what is in Scripture: can you give ma an example of something I accept that is not in Scripture?.... 
You didn't really quote me accurately there Ben.  I asked, "Can you give me an example of any other God-breathed revelation that's not in Scripture?"  Remember, we know Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16).  Jesus said that Scripture was God speaking.  The reason why only 27 books made the NT Canon was because the Church recognized that these were the Books that were breathed out by the Holy Spirit.  Sola Scriptura says that there's nothing else possessed by the Church that was written by the Holy Spirit except Scripture.  Can you give me anything else that is God speaking besides Scripture?  Please just give me one truth that is from the Holy Spirit that's not in the Bible.

YOU SAID: That is where interpretation is key. And that is why, Catholics believe, the Holy Spirit, as promised by Christ, protects the Church from errors of interpretation.
***I agree the Spirit protects the Church from error but how?  Haven't you read the numerous warnings in Scripture about false teachers and wolves coming in to the Church?  Read St. Paul in Acts 20:17-38.  How would the truth that Paul gave his life for be preserved? Paul commended the elders to "God and the word of His grace". He did not send the elders to the teaching magisterium.  He sent them to the word.

So, for example, I could cite the doctrine of the Trinity. It is implicit in Scripture, not least in the command to baptise all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. But nowhere in Scripture is there explicit teaching that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one Godhead. That is an interpretation: guaranteed, I would argue, by the promise of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit - but an interpretation, nonetheless.
***I disagree Ben.  The Trinity is clearly taught in Scripture.  The Creeds help us so much and we should treasure them, but the Creeds were born out of men pouring over Scripture.  The Trinitarian Creeds are some of the most beautiful examples of Sola Scriptura in practice.

 Well Ben, I'm winding down here.  I need some rest.  Thank you so much for this dialogue my friend.  I close this post by directing the eyes of our hearts to the Blessed Gift.  "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life."  The good news Ben is that all we need is Him.  All we need is Jesus.  He is more than enough.  And simple child-like faith in Him brings full salvation.  Trust in Him alone my friend, and you will find rest for your soul.
With all of my heart now I look to Jesus and receive Him as my Bread.  He is my life.  I pray that you too would eat of Him and we could be brothers in Christ. Amen

By grace alone,
through faith alone,
in Christ alone,
to the glory of God alone,


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