Please email me with your questions, objections or comments.
Return to Homepage "A Biblical Case for the Catholic Faith: 3 Fundamental ways the non-Catholic churches depart from the Church of the Holy Bible"
See also: "50 Unbiblical ideas and doctrines thought to be Biblical" at: http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/unbiblical.html
Sola Scriptura teaches that the Bible and
only the Bible is the SOLE infallible rule of Faith and that everything
necessary for salvation is contained within its pages. While the salvational
message is contained in the Holy Bible, it does not contain the whole of the
Christian Faith and it says so explicitly in many places.
Here are but two examples:
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book" (John 20:30)"But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
Although the Gospel of Christ is contained in the Bible, or it is at least materially sufficient, many times it is not formally present or formally sufficient. This is best explained through short exchange I had with a fellow Christian.
Daniel, my friend..I guess there is no need to discuss any specifics in our beliefs if you claim that the New Testament is not the complete Truth and all that we need.
=Dear "Bob", God Bless you. Please let me be
clear. The Holy Bible is materially sufficient in that it holds all
the materials for the complete faith of Christ's Gospel, but it is not
formally sufficient, in that everything required for the Christian Faith
is present in the proper form to "take off the shelf" if you
will. A perfect example is the Holy Trinity. It is "materially" present in
the Holy Bible but it is not "formally" present, for nowhere does the Holy
Bible define the Trinity as: One God in three persons, all existing from
eternity, that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son as the Nicene Creed states. Where does it state that the Holy Spirit is Divine as well as a separate person in the Trinity or define the Trinity as we know it today, or even mention the word "Trinity?"
Another example is the Christian understanding of Christ, that he was fully divine and fully human, one person not two, but with two natures, one divine and one human. Was he born human and then became divine?? Or vise versa? Or did he possess both qualities since the incarnation? These principles and doctrines are not "Formally" presented in the Holy Bible so for one to claim it is "the complete Truth and all that we need" ignores the fact that not everything is in the Bible in a formal manner. I hope this clears this up.=
In addition to this, the Holy Bible never teaches the "SOLA" in Sola Scriptura or the "ONLY" in Bible Only. So the claim that it is "Biblical" is self-refuting for this claim is absent from the Holy Bible. Many will quote 2 Tim 3:16 for support, without reading 2 Tim 3:15, thus missing the implications of this verse below.
Sola Scriptura is the crux of
Protestantism. It is the trunk of the Protestant doctrinal tree from which
literally 1000's of modern Christian doctrines/ideas have originated, and from which
every objection to Catholicism starts. If the trunk is false, so must be its
branches. If Sola Scriptura is found to be Unbiblical and Unhistorical and hence
not Apostolic, i.e., what the Apostles taught Christ's early Church: then
modern Christian theology must be rejected. For all modern Christian theology is based on
this single Renaissance era doctrine. One must admit, if the doctrine or the
premise is false, then so must be the theology derived from it. This is only
(Note: this essay will address the modern Christian assertion that the "Bible Only" theory is Biblical. modern Christians have already conceded that there is absolutely no historical record of anyone teaching or believing Sola Scriptura before the Renaissance era. And this begs the question: how can this idea be "Biblical" if the Apostles didn't teach it and write it into the NT Bible?). See: The Origins and Authors of modern Christian Theologies
*SOLE* infallible rule of Faith,
and the Word of God as orally taught to the Apostles and the early Church must take a back-seat to one's personal modern "interpretation" of the Bible. Contrast this "Bible Only" doctrine, with the Apostolic and Biblical belief that the Holy Scriptures *and* the oral teachings of the Apostles to Christ's early Church, form the Rule of Faith for Christ's Gospel.
Catholics might accept the doctrine of Sola Scriptura if it was what the Apostles taught Christ's early Church. I.e., if it is Apostolic. If Catholics wanted to be true to our Lord Jesus Christ they would have no choice but to embrace this idea. I am sure they would even convert to Protestantism if this doctrine was found to be Biblical. Again, they would have no choice. I just want to believe as the Apostles taught Christ's early Church, no matter where it leads me and no matter what it costs me. I would assume all Christians do, no matter where it leads them or what it costs them.
With that in mind, is there any Biblical basis for Sola Scriptura? Do the
Holy Scriptures teach or even imply anywhere that: SCRIPTURE IS THE *SOLE*
INFALLIBLE RULE OF FAITH?
Not according to the Bible. The only Scriptural argument for Sola Scriptura might be the passage: 2 Tim 3:16. Here is the passage "in context:"
"15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto
all good works." (2 Tim 3:15-17 KJV)
Many modern Christians think that verse 16 validates Sola Scriptura, that "Scripture is the SOLE infallible rule of faith." But read it carefully:
1. It never even implies or even alludes to (much less says) that Scripture is the *SOLE* infallible rule of faith. It merely states the obvious, that scripture is given by God, and is profitable for doctrine and instruction. No where do we read the ONLY or the SOLA many claim the text teaches.
2. And secondly have you ever looked at verse 15? The verse preceding the
claim to validate Sola Scriptura?
Verse 15 says: "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings" The text says ..."from childhood."
What scriptures were those? What Scriptures did the Apostle Paul know from childhood? The "OLD Testament." Not only is the SOLA or the ONLY absent from Holy Writ, but the Apostle Paul was speaking of the Old Testament, not the soon to be written New Testament. If the Old Testament is all we need for God's Word to be complete, we should just shelf the New Testament and TOTALLY ignore what ELSE the Apostle Paul says about Gods revelation.
Sola Scriptura is UNbiblical. Not just because there is no Biblical support, but also because it *contradicts* the Bible,,, blatantly and explicitly. Why would a Christian believe the Bible is the *SOLE* infallible rule of faith when the Bible never says or even implies this, and it even tells us explicitly the opposite? It tells us that Holy Writ AND Apostolic Tradition are the vehicles of God's Word?
"I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the Traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2), &
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the Traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). &
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the Tradition that you received from us" (2 Thess. 3:6).
(John 20:30): "And many other signs truly did Jesus
in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book".
"But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
Not everything is in the Bible in a "formal manner", the Bible is not "formally sufficient." This message is Biblical and Scripture is explicit about it. The Bible is "materially sufficient" but it is not "formally sufficient.". The Christian Church believes this because it has been the teachings of the Apostles and the Early Church on Scripture for the last 2000+ years. That is why Christ gave us His Church. As the Holy Scriptures tell us the function of the Church is "to teach" just as Our Lord commanded in Matt 28:20: "Teach them to observe all I have taught you and behold I am with you always until the end of the world"
Acts 8: 30-31 " Philip ran up and heard him [an Ethiopian eunuch] reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31 And he said, 'Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?' And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him." The Ancient Jews had the Holy Scriptures explained to them in the same way. This is one reason God created the Priesthood, of Jesus is the High Priest.
The job of the clergy of the ancient Jews was to explain the Holy Scriptures and teach as well. It is of note, that if the ancient Jews embraced the modern Christian idea of Scripture interpretation, (Sola Scriptura or personal interpretation) we would have 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of competing and conflicting Jewish sects all claiming to be the One Truth of Almighty God. Fortunately the Jews being God's chosen people were protected from this doctrinal chaos.
Nehemiah 8: 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
7 …[Ezra and other priests], caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8: 2,5, 7-8)
Do not many Protestants claim that SS was taught by the early Church Fathers such as St. Augustine (5th century) or other Catholic Saints? This line of reasoning is logically impossible for the modern Christian as illustrated below.
So which is it?
Either the Church Fathers (such as St Augustine) embraced SS,
or they didn't.
1. Is Catholic Theology, which St Augustine embraced without exception, a product of Sola Scriptura? If so why do Protestants reject it?
2. Or, can we presume that Augustine embraced SS, but his product of SS was apostate (i.e., Catholic theology). This in turn renders SS an invalid tool for Bible study for its product is apostasy, and a corruption of the Gospel of Christ. Therefore SS must be rejected because it is flawed, subjective and inaccurate. It doesn't work every time, if anytime.
3. Or, can we conclude that St Augustine did not embrace SS, even though many modern Protestants illogically claim he did?
So which is the case? 1,2, or 3? How do you answer this for one cannot have it both ways. Either (name your early Church Father here) embraced SS or he didn't. If he did, answer question 1 or 2. If he didn't answer question 3..
But this is all predicated on one wanting to believe as the Apostles taught Christ's early Church, no matter where it leads him and no matter what it costs him. If this is not your desire, all bets are off and you are free to believe anything and everything whether the Apostles taught it or not. But if this is not the case, then test premise A and find just one Christian in the first millennium who taught outside of the Faith of the Catholic/Universal Church. If you find not a single Christian soul, then accept premise A and conclusion C.
C. Therefore logic and historical timelines tell us, that no distinctive Protestant belief existed in the first millennium or was taught by the Apostles.
(And subsequently written into the NT Bible).
The Holy Bible is materially sufficient in that it holds all the materials for the complete faith of Christ's Gospel, but it is not formally sufficient, in that everything required for the Christian Faith is present in the proper form to "take off the shelf" if you will. A perfect example is the Holy Trinity. It is "materially" present in the Holy Bible but it is not "formally" present, for nowhere does the Holy Bible define the Trinity as: One God in three persons, all existing from eternity, that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son as the Nicene Creed states. Where does it state that the Holy Spirit is Divine as well as a separate person in the Trinity or define the Trinity as we know it today, or even mention the word "Trinity?"
Another example is the Christian understanding of Christ, that he was fully divine and fully human, one person not two, but with two natures, one divine and one human. Was he born human and then became divine?? Or vise versa or was He half and half? Or did he possess both qualities since the incarnation or did He acquire them sometime later? These principles and doctrines are not "Formally" presented in the Holy Bible so for one to claim it is "the complete Truth and all that we need" ignores the fact that not everything is in the Bible in a formal manner. "Something else" gave us these formal definitions of GOD. And that something else is the: "The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of Truth" 1 Tim 3:15.
But for the Protestant belief system to work, Protestants HAVE to follow Sola Scriptura, (if they want to be Protestant), for every single modern Christian doctrine is derived VIA Sola Scriptura (or more appropriately SOLO Scriptura). It is the root of all Protestant doctrines,,, personal interpretation of Scripture. Even though the Holy Scriptures explicitly teach against private interpretation of the Bible:
What Biblical evidence do the modern Christian theologies have for this
Renaissance era doctrine? None.
Does 2 Tim 3:16 teach or even imply anything about a Sola or an Only? No.
Is there any historical evidence that it was taught by anyone before Renaissance era? No.
Is it Biblical? No.
Does it contradict the Holy Scriptures? Yes. (2 Thess 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thess. 3:6, 2 Tim. 2:2)
Remember, if a doctrine does not even predate the Renaissance era,,, how on earth could have it been taught by the Apostles to the early Church? And if the Apostles didn't teach it and write it into the NT Bible, it is not NT Biblical.
always ask: "What else is there then? What else has Christ's Authority besides
the Bible?"... The answer is in the Bible, the answer is in what Christians have
always believed. Click Here.
here: Who practiced Sola Scriptura? The Bereans or the Thessalonians? You might
"But there are also many other things
which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world
itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
Not everything need be in the Bible for it to be good. I.e. Christians bowing their heads and praying with their eyes closed,,, alter calls,,,the sinners prayer,,,even praying to Jesus himself-Jesus instructs us to pray to his Father, acknowledging the Divinity of the Holy Spirit...etc. All of these are UNbiblical or Extra-bible. But at the same time, all good. This is another example of the failure of Sola Scriptura. Read the verses above again about Scripture and Apostolic Tradition.
Not everything need be in the Bible my friend, for that is what the Bible tells us: (John 20:30), (John 21:25).
See 45 Unbiblical ideas and doctrines thought to be Biblical at: http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/unbiblical.html
Please don't try and make the Bible say something it doesn't, like the Bible is the *Sole* infallible rule of faith, i.e. the "Bible Only" theory. It doesn't claim to be the SOLE infallible rule of Faith, and it never says or implies "Bible Only." Just because you have believed something for years on end, doesn't mean it's true.
Luther finally realized his error. And he is the one who coined the doctrine.
"This one, will not hear of Baptism, that one denies the Sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day; some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that there are about as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet." (De Wette III, 61)
Intro to the Catholic Faith for Evangelicals http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/index2.htm
Catholic Answers: "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" A compendium of basic Catholic beliefs and the Biblicism behind these beliefs. http://www.catholic.com/library/pillar.asp
FAQ about the Catholic Faith from Columbia University
1. "BIBLE ONLY" CHRISTIAN or "BIBLE BELIEVING" CHRISTIAN?
50 Practices and Doctrines not found in the Holy Bible. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/unbiblical.html
2. JUST THE TRUTH: 2 Dozen Logic and Historical Facts Refuting the Apostolicity and Biblicism of the Modern Christian Belief Systems "Test Everything." 1 Thess 5:21 http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/justfacts.html
3. An Exercise in Logic, Two Logic Proofs from History 101 demonstrating how the modern Christian theologies did not even exist in the first millennium, making it impossible for Christ and His Apostles to have taught to His early Church.
4. The Promises of Jesus Christ to His Holy Church (as recorded in Holy Writ) http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/promises.html
5. Three uneasy questions for your pastor concerning his personal theology. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/formypastor.html
6. Seven Reasons Christians Go To Church, Which One Is Yours? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
7. "The 7 Stages of Christian Spiritual Development" What stage are you? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
8. The Historical Origins & Authors of the Modern Christian Theologies. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/dates.html
9. Is Sola Scriptura or the "Bible Only" idea even Biblical? Where does the Bible teach the "SOLA" or the "ONLY" in Sola Scriptura? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/ss.html
10. Modern Christians often ask: "WHAT ELSE IS THERE? What else has Christ's infallible authority besides the Holy Bible?" Featuring the verses not underlined in most Bibles nor taught in modern Christian seminaries or churches. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/whatelse.html
11. FAITH ALONE (SOLA FIDE): It is a Catholic Position. Have you been taught that Catholics "work their way to Heaven?" http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/faithalone.html
12. "Who is the Bride of Christ?" What does the Holy Bible say? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bride.html
13. Did the BEREANS "Search the Scriptures" and therefore follow the BIBLE ONLY idea?
Or did the THESSALONIANS, who also "Searched the Scriptures? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bereans.html
14. The 3rd Unanswered Challenge for the Non-Catholic Theologies:
Is the Catholic Faith Apostolic? Name just one Catholic doctrine that isn't. Name one doctrine the early Church believed,,,, that the Catholic Faith today *no longer does*. Why can't the modern Christian theologies make the same bold claim? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/3challenge.html
15. Biblically, did the "Official Teachings or Doctrines of the Catholic Faith" become corrupt or Apostate as your Pastor might teach? Are there verses in the Holy Scriptures that forbid the "Gates of Hell" from overcoming His Church? What does the Holy Bible really say about: "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" 1 Tim :15? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/gatesofhell.html
16. Is Praying to Saints Biblical? Is the "HAIL MARY" Prayer Biblical? Read the verses not underlined in your pastors Bible nor taught in his church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/saints.html
17. How Modern Christian are compelled to use and embrace an unbiblical and anti-biblical definition and concept of a Christian Church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/onchurch.html
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