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Sola Scriptura Discussion

It appears that the sola scriptura discussion I began has strayed from its original topic.

I wish to begin the discussion again from first principles to ensure that nothing is spoken of out of place and so that tangents will be outruled for the betterment of the discussion, etc.

To begin again:
Where is the doctrine of sola scriptura in the Bible?

I need you to answer with one of the below answers:
a) Nowhere in the Bible is "only Scripture" established as a single authority, or,
b) Give me a single verse or more that say that ONLY Scripture is an authority to be followed.

This is the question, I do not have to prove what else is to be accepted, though I will. However, this is the only question to be addressed at this time.

After you answer my question, out of fairness of turn, you may ask me ONE question related to the topic.

SOLA SCRIPTURA

SOLA SCRIPTURA

My position is that it is self-evident that the 66 books of the Bible are God's Word. RCC papists agree that those 66 books are God's Word (RCC papists are the particular target of this debate).

The only books which the Bible itself quotes as God's Word or as "It is written" to settle a question are books of the 66. Never is the apocrypha referred to as scripture or used in that way. No other writing is endorsed by the Bible itself.

My position is that while I recognize God's voice in the 66 books, I have never found anything else (available to me) which is God's Word.

Now if someone wishes to argue that there is something aside from those 66 books which is God's word, let him come forth & prove that such materials are also God's Word. Until such time, it is solo scriptura for me.

The issue is not whether or not God' speaks His Word to angels in Heaven, whether or not there have been oral prophecies never written down; the issue is what is generally available to me. It is notable that since the NT was finished, nothing written after the NT has ever been added to the Bible successfully.

"Where is the doctrine of sola scriptura in the Bible?"

The Bible teaches in 2 Timothy that all scripture is breathed out by God. Then by induction it may be observed that no document outside the 66 books is ever treated as scripture by the Bible.

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

Though the message below may be fairly long, PLEASE do read ALL of it slowly and carefully.


Thank you for writing out your personal views on the doctrine of sola scriptura though admittedly, it was unneccessary for our discussion; I merely needed a verse in reply.

You offered me the book of 2 Timothy as a whole rather than a single verse so I will have the benefit of being able to choose on assumption what verses you would probably use though I cannot be blamed should I use one you would not have employed in this discussion.

I assume that the crux of your position rests on 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (which I will reproduce here in the NKJV and NIV versions though I don't think there is too much difference here):

NKJV: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
NIV: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

These verses tell us:
a) All Scripture is God-inspired
b) All Scripture is useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc.
c) The man of God is thoroughly complete for good works though Scripture (the Word of God)

Now, from here we can conclude the following points:
a) The Holy Bible in and of itself does not say what its table of contents is and so the Bible does not specify what qualifies as Scripture though what is Scripture we are certain is the very Word of God
b) Scripture is useful for these ends (but IS NOT explicitly or implicitly said to be the ONLY source for such reproof)
c) Man is completed not unto salvation by Scripture alone, but unto good works (well that trashes sola fide! Works are necessary!)

And to respond, I give the following:

2 Timothy 2:2 NKJV: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

St. Paul says that what others heard (as in orally given and not written statements) are to be later committed to other faithful men to teach others (by word or letter, he does not specify which).

Clearly, St. Paul acknowledges that all of his teachings (thus, those of Christ) were not written. Some were spoken and were passed on to men of faith; we can logically take these men of faith to be the Fathers of the Church who thankfully wrote much of what they learned from the Apostles.

Further, at 2 Thessalonians 2:15 we hear St. Paul say:
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."

It truly gets no easier than that. We are commanded by Holy Scripture (and thus by God himself) to keep fast to all we were taught in writing (Scripture) and word (Sacred Tradition).

Let me remind you that the Sacred Tradition referenced here is NOT the tradition of men so often scorned elsewhere. It is self-evident that the two are not the same or else it would not be recommended, nay, ordered here to be followed by God himself and hated elsewhere.

In conclusion, you presented NO verses that say ONLY SCRIPTURE while I was able to produce two (though I could get more!) verses of my own that both point invariably and undeniably toward the conjunction of Scripture and Tradition as well as my use of the one you provided (assumedly) to support the Catholic position.

If you can refute me with ONLY SCRIPTURE, please proceed.

If you cannot find anything that says ONLY SCRIPTURE, then sola scriptura is extra-scriptural, a self-refuting doctrine, and thus in the words of St. Paul at 1 Thessalonians 5:21, sola scriptura being "tested", we can "retain what is good" and avoid the "evil" of non-Christian teachings such as sola scriptura.

I ask you to truly meditate upon this and to recant your heretical statements.

In Christ,
-Adam Villegas, Arch. Maj.

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

Before I read your post, I prayed for the Lord to open my eyes and guide my response:

Adam Arch,

You & I agree that the 66 books are the Word of God. I have no other source of God's Word available to me. If you do, then you need to post the proof that what you claim is the Word of God is in fact His Word. Then you can refute my POV which is that only the scripture of 66 books is the (readily & generally available to man) Word of God.

I hold it to be self-evident that the Bible is God's Word. That The God of the Bible exists and that the Bible is His Word are my two foundational theological axioms. Being self-evident, they need no proof from something else. And if I did use something else to prove them, they would no longer be my basic axioms, but something else would be. You may wish to read my epistemological and faith posts below.

You say:

QUOTE:

I assume that the crux of your position rests on 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (which I will reproduce here in the NKJV and NIV versions though I don't think there is too much difference here):

NKJV: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
NIV: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

These verses tell us:
a) All Scripture is God-inspired
b) All Scripture is useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc.
c) The man of God is thoroughly complete for good works though Scripture (the Word of God)


UNQUOTE

Basically I agree with your interpretation, except that "inspired" is a poor translation for theopneustos. There is nothing IN about theopneustos. The figure is really of breathing-out, as if God had the Bible pop out of His mouth, symbolizing creation.

The list of what the NT quotes or refers to as scripture is extensive, and never includes the apocrypha.

You make a strange statement:

c) Man is completed not unto salvation by Scripture alone, but unto good works (well that trashes sola fide! Works are necessary!)

The passage says nothing about MAN IN GENERAL; it is about the MAN OF GOD, that is, not only a person who is born again, but also a man who is particularly dedicated to God's service, like Elijah. Once you have been born again & proceeded further past Romans 12:1-2 (dedication), and become a MAN OF GOD, then the scripture is a complete furnishing for good works. It has nothing to do with achieving the initial transformation, new birth of salvation, not with earning a ticket to Heaven (impossible, since salvation is for sinners who receive grace, a free gift).

You say "were passed on to men of faith; we can logically take these men of faith to be the Fathers of the Church who thankfully wrote much of what they learned from the Apostles.

What leads you to suppose that some special class of persons is meant? Everyone who is taught can pass on teaching. But that does not make them prophets or free from error.

YOU SAY QUOTE"

"Further, at 2 Thessalonians 2:15 we hear St. Paul say:
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."
"

UNQUOTE:

εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι᾿ ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν = Could be translated "either through our word or epistle."
Obviously the teaching is not that one is to hold fast and pass on anything & everything one is taught regardless of source. It is God's truth that is to be passed on. There is no grounds to use this verse to try to establish that there is some authoritative body of knowledge which is only oral. Of course, whatever people are taught by prophets is to be repeated. But repetitions from fallible human memories is not God's word, neither does 2 Thes say it is.

There is no "Sacred Tradition" phrase in the passage. So far as I know, we have no oral prophets around today spouting God's Word which I could repeat, record, print, and add to the Bible. So far as I know, only heretical cults have dared to add anything to the Bible since the NT was ended. And even they, so far as I know, have never bound any new books into the Bible.

YOU SAY: QUOTE
"If you can refute me with ONLY SCRIPTURE, please proceed."

You mean I can't use Sacred Tradition to refute you? Aw shucks. Your category of Sacred Tradition is just a figment of your imagination. We all agree that there was at one time oral prophecy. We do not agree that any of it was preserved except in the 66 books.

Now if you have some document, tape recording, or digital media now with some WORD OF GOD outside the 66 books, produce it & prove that it is God's Word.

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

The argument here is not so much based on the axiomatic truth you profess as the authority that the Bible derived from.

It is not self-evident that a science textbook is true; it is only true to those who have heard it contains truths from an authority.
It is not self-evident that the Koran is true; it is only true to those who have learned from an authority that it is.
In the same way, we cannot simply pick up the Bible and know it to be true.
Say that you pick up a DC comic book collection and the Bible at the same time and have had no external influence in your entire life.
Which one is true?
They are both just as equally true to you who (having not yet learned about fiction) have read them as fact.
Or, contrarily, if you somehow knew of fiction, you would take them both to be fiction.
The only way to prove that the Bible is any truer than a comic book is if an established authority told this to you. Only the Catholic Church possesses such an authority.

That point aside, if we accept the Bible as true because an authority gave it to us, is the table of contents ever written within its pages?
The answer is no, the table of contents is never written within its own pages. However, the table of contents certainly is inspired.
But wait, does that mean that an authority OUTSIDE the Bible is authoritative? It most certainly does!
And if we have one outside source, who's to say we don't have more?

You cannot argue that the Bible is true simply because it seems like it in your innermost feelings. If someone else reads it, maybe one book (for example, John) doesn't seem to qualify as Sacred Scripture.
We both know this to be absurd (because an authority told us) and would reject his conclusion.
Yet you argue the same thing for the Deuterocanonical books! You call them "apocryphal" based on a "feeling" that they don't "seem" inspired. That is not valid in any way whatsoever.
When figuring out the table of contents of the Bible, we must look to history. From there, it is irrefutably obvious that the Catholic canon is the original.

You challenge me to prove that something else is God's word. I put forth the Deuterocanonical books.

If you do not accept them, then I counterchallenge. Prove that the other 66 books of the Bible are God's word. "Self-evidence" doesn't cut it.

The Bible is not true because it says so, it is true because God built an trustworthy authority to call it true. To ensure that this authority seems valid, God put in the Bible irrefutable evidence of this authority.
I guess God can use circular reasoning!

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

You Say:

"In the same way, we cannot simply pick up the Bible and know it to be true."

My sheep hear my voice. I pick up the Bible & it screams to me THIS IS GOD'S WORD. I immediately detect it just as I detect that I exist. That is my 2nd axiom. There are arguments for the Bible being God's word, but if I gave argument A,
someone could ask, OK, but how do u know A is true?
Then I cud say, BECAUSE OF B .
Then someone cud rejoin, how do u know that B is true?
There is no end to this.

I say read the book, does God speak to you or not?
You decide for yourself.
I testify that I hear God's voice in that book.
It is self-evident that it is God's Word.

After Axiom 1 (The God of the Bible exists), that is my 2nd axiom: The Bible is God's Word.
Let every man read for himself & make up his own mind.

Like the Lord Jesus, who never is recorded as arguing to prove that the Bible was God's word,
I just quote it ,"IT IS WRITTEN" and that settles the argument.

Suppose I have a .45. A thief enters my house to rape my wife. Thief says to me: "That's not a real gun; it won't do you any good." Then he advances on me. Do you think I will stand there & argue with him about it? I would use the .45. Let him draw his own conclusions.

I hope you can tell God's Word from a comic book without integral calculus.

Now what is your proof that the papal system has greater authority than the Bible?
It certainly is NOT self-evident that the papal system speaks for God.
Now don't try to prove it from the Bible, & then reason in a circle.
But if you have proof that the papal system is the Word of God, give your proof.

I don't argue that the Bible is true because . . .
I state that certain propositions are true because the Bible says so.
The Bible is the because for settling theological debates.
For it is God's Word.

Lets see your proof for your Deuteros & explain why the NT never cites them to prove anything.

Ultimate logical proof depends on axioms, self-evident truths (like if A = B , then A + C = B +C). I do not believe these because the pope agrees with them. It is self-evident to me that I exist. I do not believe this because the RCC says so.
Do you?

Circular logic proves nothing. You must have one or more starting points; givens.

You may want to read what I wrote on this below at length. See my posts on


FAITH & BELIEF - by THUNKFUL - May 14, 2011 4:54pm

EPISTEMOLOGY & THEOLOGY - by THUNKFUL - May 14, 2011 4:44pm

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

I was simply trying to say that YOU alone cannot determine what is Scriptural and what is not. A "feeling" that something is divine or not has led to the creation of Islam, Hinduism, and many other false religions. You cannot logically rely on just yourself or even a few people to decide what is and what is not true.

Actually, whenever the NT cites the OT, it always is from the Septuagint (LXX). As you should know, the LXX DID include the deuterocanonical books. To name one example, Mary's Magnificat is based on a prayer of Judith from the book of the same name.


If you accept the Bible simply because you feel like God is speaking to you in it, then a Muslim who feels that God is speaking to him in the Quran is just as correct as you. The obvious falsehood of this is easily avoidable by only using sourceds tyhat come from a good authority.

Not to delve too far into philosophy, but actually it is not an axiomatic truth that you exist. The only universal truth able to be defined is that you perceive. All else derives from this.

Again, this debate is far from its original topic.
I DO NOT need to prove ANY Sacred Traditions to refute sola scriptura (though I can). However, YOU MUST prove sola scriptura from JUST the Bible.

If you cannot prove sola scriptura, then admit it is false and THEN I will give you an example of a Sacred Tradition.

Re: SOLA SCRIPTURA

We must determine what is Scriptural and what is not. Your answer seems to be that you determine what is Scripture based on your theory that what ever the RCC says is scripture is scripture. You are still making a determination, though on faulty grounds, as you cannot prove that what the RCC says is God's Word.

In fact there are millions of persons in the Church. These have said all kinds of conflicting things over 2000 years of time. Thus the statements of the Church cannot be taken to be God's Word.

Neither do you have any proof that ecclesiastical council decrees, papal bulls, or sayings of Church Fathers are God's Word. Your reference to the word "traditions" in the NT refers to things said in the past, oral statements by prophets & written prophecy, like Paul's letters. It has no ref at all to future decrees or statements by future "church fathers." Anyone who heard a prophecy given orally or read a prophetic epistle became responsible to obey the truth received. This has nothing to do with imaginary church father traditions.

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

Christians have an innate ability & the indwelling Holy Spirit anointing which enables then to recognize the voice of God when they hear it. Thus they have little trouble knowing what is scripture & what is bogus. There was no centuries long process of discovering what was God's Word. When it was published immediately the recipients knew what it was.

GOSPEL OF JOHN:

"But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."


1 JOHN

"And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all the things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and because no lie is of the truth. "

1 JOHN 2

"And this is the promise which he promised us, even the life eternal. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that would lead you astray. 27 And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teacheth you; concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in him. "

1 THES 1-2

"how that our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; even as ye know what manner of men we showed ourselves toward you for your sake. 6 And ye became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit;"

" 13 And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe. "

Believers who heard the prophetic message received it at that time; they did not wait hundreds of years for ecclesiastical canons.

1 Cor 15

"15:1 Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, 2 by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. "

It is clear that those who received the Word of God were expected to recognize it as such & obey it very quickly. No ecclesiastic council was required.

Well, I hold it axiomatic that I exist & prior to affirming that I perceive. How could I perceive, if there were no I???

I do not need to prove the 66 books since you accept them. They are common ground.

Also the facts that 1) the God of the Bible exists & that 2) the Bible is the Word of God are axioms. They are self-evident. You have to affirm these for yourself.

MY CLAIM IS THAT THE 66 BOOKS ARE GOD'S WORD. It has never been proven to me that anything else (which is readily available to me) is God's Word. Now if you want to refute my POV, you have to prove to me that something else is God's Word.

Can you do that?

Did you read my postings on faith, epistemology, & axioms below?