Skip to comments.“He who grounds his faith on Scripture only has no faith”
Posted on 02/08/2006 1:14:31 PM PST by jecIIny
He who grounds his faith on Scripture only has no faith
The faith existing in the Church, from the beginning throughout all ages, is the infallible standard to determine the true sense of Scripture: and accordingly, it is certain, beyond the shadow of doubt, that the Redeemer is God, and hath filled us even with divine power. In fact, he who grounds his faith on Scripture only, that is, on the result of his exegetical studies, has no faith, can have none, and understands not its very nature. Must he not be always ready to receive better information; must he not admit the possibility, that by nature study of Scripture another result may be obtained, than that which has already been arrived at? The thought of this possibility precludes the establishment of any decided, perfectly undoubting, and unshaken faith, which, after all, is alone deserving of the name. He who says, this is my faith, hath no faith. Faith, unity of faith, universality of faith, are one and the same; they are but different expressions of the same notion. He who, if even he should not believe the truth, yet believes truly, believes at the same time that he holds fast the doctrine of Christ, that he shares the faith with the Apostles, and with the Church founded by the Redeemer, that there is but one faith in all ages, and one only true one. This faith is alone rational, and alone worthy of man: every other should be called a mere opinion, and, in a practical point of view, is an utter impotency.
Ages passed by, and with them the ancient sects: new times arose, bringing along with them new schisms in the Church. The formal principles of all these productions of egotism were the same; all asserted that Holy Writ, abstracted from Tradition and from the Church, is at once the sole source of religious truth, and the sole standard of its knowledge for the individual. This formal principle, common to all parties separated from the Church;to the Gnostic of the second century, and the Albigensian and Vaudois of the twelfth, to the Sabellian of the third, the Arian of the fourth, and the Nestorian of the fifth centurythis principle, we say, led to the most contradictory belief. What indeed can be more opposite to each other, than Gnosticism and Pelagianism, than Sabellianism and Arianism? The very circumstance, indeed, that one and the same formal principle can be applied to every possible mode of belief; and rather that this belief, however contradictory it may be in itself, can sill make use of that formal principle, should alone convince everyone, that grievous errors must here lie concealed, and that between the individual and the Bible a mediating principle is wanting.
What is indeed more striking than the fact, that every later religious sect doth not deny that the Catholic Church, in respect to the parties that had previously seceded from her, has in substance right on her side, and even recognizes in these cases her dogmatic decisions; while on the other hand, it disputes her formal principles? Would this ecclesiastical doctrine, so formed and so approved of, have been possible, without the peculiar view of the Church entertained of herself? Doth not the one determine the other? With joy the Arian recognises what has decided by the Church against the Gnostics; but he does not keep in view the manner in which she proceeded against them; and he will not consider that those dogmas on which he agrees with the Church, she would not have saved and handed down to his time, had she acted according to those formal principles which he requires of her, and on which he stands. The Pelagian and the Nestorian embrace also, with the most undoubted faith, the decisions of the Church against the Arians. But as soon as the turn comes to either, he becomes as it were stupified, and is inconsiderate enough to desire the matter of Christian doctrine without the appropriate ecclesiastical formwithout that form, consequently, by the very neglect whereof those parties, to which he is most heartily opposed, have fallen on the adoption of their articles of belief. It was the same with Luther and Calvin. The pure Christian dogmas, in opposition to the errors of the Gnostics, Paulicians, Arians, Pelagians, Nestorians, Monophysites and others, they received with the most praiseworthy firmness and fervency of faith. But, when they took a fancy to deliver their theses on the relations between faith and works, between free-will and grace, or however else they may be called, they trod (as to form) quite in the footsteps of those whom they execrated .
This accordingly is the doctrine of Catholics. Thou wilt obtain the knowledge full and entire of the Christian religion only in connection with its essential form, which is the Church. Look at the Scripture in an ecclesiastical spirit, and it will present thee an image perfectly resembling the Church. Contemplate Christ in, and with his creationthe Churchthe only adequate authoritythe only authority representing him, and thou wilt then stamp his image on thy soul .
[The Catholic] is freely convinced, that the Church is a divine institution, upheld by supernal aid, which leads her into all truth; that, consequently, no doctrine rejected by her is contained in Scripture; that with the latter, on the contrary, her dogmas perfectly coincide, though many particulars may not be verbally set forth in Holy Writ. Accordingly he has the conviction, that the Scripture, for example doth not teach that Christ is a mere man; nay, he is certain that it represents him also as God. Inasmuch as he professes this belief, he is not free to profess the contrary, for he would contradict himself; in the same way as a man, who has resolved to remain chaste, cannot be unchaste, without violating his resolution. To this restriction, which everyone most probably will consider rational, the Catholic Church subjects her members, and consequently, also, the learned exegetists of Scripture. A Church which would authorize anyone to find what he pleased in Scripture, and without any foundation to declare it as unecclesiastical, such a Church would thereby declare, that it believed in nothing, and was devoid of all doctrines; for the mere possession of the Bible no more constitutes a Church, than the possession of the faculty of reason renders anyone really rational. Such a Church would in fact, as a moral entity, exhibit the contradiction just adverted to, which a physical being could not be guilty of. The individual cannot at one and the same time believe, and not believe, a particular point of doctrine. But if a Church, which consists of a union of many individuals, permitted every member, as such, to receive or to reject at his pleasure, any article of faith, it would fall into this very contradiction, and would be a monster of unbelief, indifferent to the most opposite doctrines, which we might indeed, on our behalf, honour with the finest epithets, but certainly not denominate a Church. The Church must train up souls for the kingdom of God, which is founded on definite facts and truths, that are eternally unchangeable; and so a Church, that knows no such immutable dogmas, is like to a teacher, that knows not what he should teach. The Church has to stamp the image of Christ on humanity; but Christ is not sometimes this, and sometimes that, but eternally the same. She has to breathe into the hearts of men the word of God, that came down from heaven: but this word is no vague, empty sound, wherof we can make what we will.
Johann Adam Möhler
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Just had to continue the flame war again, didn't you! :)
And ALL to the ROMANS from the book of Romans written by Paul, isn't that something.
The irony is not lost on me. It was after all Paul that catechized the Romans
ping for later. I grew up RC but became born again while on deployment. I work in NYC and would appreciate if anyone knew of some Bible studies or fellowship in Manhattan during the week, I would appreciate it.
Very true, what do you see was the cause to deviate? And was it all at once, or a gradual slippage over time? Or was it ever right to begin with. Did the Apostles sense something wrong already at work in Rome?
I forgot to ask...Where was Peter when this Epistle to the Romans was written?
I believe they were a mission church without headship, as were many of the new churches. So as in all the epistles Paul used them to teach doctrine to the babes in Christ in Rome and then that letter circulated through all the churches and to us today. Yes it is still teaching sound doctrine to babes in Christ today :)
He was the apostle" to the circumcision", scripture indicates he was in Babylon, which at that time was a hub of Jewish intellectuals and had a large Jewish population.
One thing we know for sure is he was not in Rome as he is not addressed in the letter .
Then Paul did not recognize a church in Rome in that letter
That would explain why Paul does not address "To the Church at Rome" like say: To the Church at Corinth, or the Church at Thessalonica, or the Church at Ephesus
Some other verses sola scriptura folk might want to keep in mind:
1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.
1Cr 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Cr 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1Cr 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
1Cr 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover [his] head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
1Cr 14:27 If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret.
1Cr 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
1Cr 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Cr 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1Cr 14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
1Cr 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
There are some who take Peter's reference to "Babylon" in his letter as a reference to Jerusalem itself. Part of the reason is the view that Jerusalem/Judaism had slipped into apostasy, was persecuting the early church, and, by denying the Messiah was committing spiritual harlotry. Thus the words in Revelation:
"And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'" (Rev. 14:8)
Earlier in Revelation we read: "And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." (Rev. 11:8)
Jesus was crucified by Jerusalem. But it apparently had come to be known spiritually by the name of a number pagan cites.
Also, later in Revlation we read by way of comparison:
"And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," (Rev. 21:10)
Much of Revelation seems to be about the old Jerusalem vs. the new Jerusalem, the harlot vs. the chaste bride.
I'm not sure there is any evidence to place Peter in literal Babylon.
* Don't discount the motivation of filthy lucre. We Catholics have made scads of dough selling Denzinger texts.
I base my faith upon the Word of God. Does this man know the heart of man that he can make these claims? The word of God is all sufficient for sustaining one's faith. For any person to say it's not enough is borderline blasphemy, IMO.
"Don't discount the motivation of filthy lucre.."
That one brought a belly laugh.
As I said before, we have no basis of agreement between those of us who rely on the Bible as our authority and those who rely on 1)Pope, 2)Catholic Church, and 3)Bible in that order.
Comparing the operation of the Catholic Church with the Bible is of no profit unless the Catholic would agree to abide by the Bible teaching. Ain't likely.
What are some of the things which a Bible-believing Christian must keep in mind, in the presence of an unchanging yet constantly changing, Roman Catholic Church?
First, we must remember that the sole basis of truth for the Roman Catholic church is not, has never been, and can never be, SOLA SCRIPTURA (only scripture), the inspired, infallible Word of God written. Truth is what the Church declares truth to be. St Augustine said, "I would not believe in the Gospel if I were not brought to do so by the authority of the Catholic church."
Second, we must remember that according to Rome, not only truth, but also salvation is mediated through the church. Only the Pope has authority to remit or retain sin, which he transmits to bishops and these to priest, and dispenses by means of the sacraments. The Roman Catholic church has not ever taught, does not now teach, and can never teach, that man is saved by SOLA GRATIA (grace alone) apart from his own works or merits.
Third, we must remember that the Roman Catholic church has never taught, does not now teach, and can never teach, that the only response on the part of sinful man which God has decreed to be the method of man's entrance into grace, is SOLA FIDE (faith alone).
William C. Standridge
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