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Brief Reflections on the Trinity, the Canon of Scripture, and the Protestant idea of Sola Scriptura
Vivificat! - A Personal Catholic Blog of News, Commentary, Opinion, and Reflections ^ | 16 August 2006 | Teˇfilo

Posted on 08/16/2006 7:47:20 PM PDT by Teˇfilo

Folks, I want to add some further, yet brief reflections that I think are connected to those I did about the Holy Trinity last week (here and here). I belief there are a few connections between the process which resulted in the Trinitarian settlement in the 5th century AD, the settlement of the Canon of Scripture, and the Protestant idea of sola scriptura. First, let's define a few key terms:

Once again, I don't delude myself into thinking that the few words of this essay will solve 500 years of Protestant controversy or over 1,000 years of anti-Trinitarian objections. All I can do is to witness to the soundness of Catholic teaching and to hope that someone, somewhere, would be moved by grace to accept this teaching and be thus empowered to attain eternal life.

Protestant apologists go to great lengths to defend Sola Scriptura, which is, after all, central to their conception of Christianity. Posts such as this one found in the Free Republic Religion board (Can traditions contradict God's completed Word? - Is the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura Really Biblical?) offer a case in point.

In fact, what struck me about this post is the circular reasoning of its author. The author assumes the validity of sola scriptura and then proceeds to "prove" it through Scripture, while seeking to "debunk" Tradition—rather, the author's own understanding of what Tradition is, which is another fallacy, a straw man argument. Implied the author own argumentation is the assumption that Scripture is a text book containing propositional arguments which can be lifted out of its literary context, stringed to other such "propositions" to build, or support, the Protestant conclusions in matters of faith and discipline.

The author falls in what I refer to as the problem of the interpreter. For Protestants, or at least to traditional Protestants who hold to the magisterial consensus of the classical Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, Melanchthon, etc.), the individual believer is to approach the Bible alone, alone. If the interpreter is docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit—they reason—the believer will attain a working knowledge of the Truth that will lead him or her to Salvation, quite apart from the teachings of the Roman Church—in this they all agreed. This is what is referred to in Protestantism as free examen.

In this scheme, the interpreter, prompted by the Holy Spirit and rightly guided by the Protestant foundational axioms, becomes an "honest broker" of salvific information to other believers and to the unbelieving masses, with no other agenda than self-perfection and the salvation of other fellow souls. In this purported state of grace and election, the Protestant believer becomes a true interpreter and prophet of God's Word. That's what Protestant apologists argue in principle. The reality has been quite another.

History shows that Protestantism has been unable to produce an interpreter free from bias, prejudice, and completely aloof from the historical process that could serve as a transparent prism for the Holy Spirit's communications. Most defenses I've seen of the classical Protestant tenets fail to examine the scope, focus, and limitations of the interpreter as he or she approaches alone Scripture Alone.

The ability and authority of the individual Protestant interpreter to bind his conscience and that of others to his interpretation of Scripture remains largely unexamined by Protestant apologists. It seems that in their rush to define themselves against the historical Church, the Reformers—and their apologists—exacerbated the problem of interpretation by unwittingly multiplying authorities, believing their stance would facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit to explain and the individual interpreter's ability to receive from the Spirit binding interpretations of Scripture in matters of faith, morals, and discipline. Protestantism, in its revolt, compounded the problem without solving it. The immediate consequence could be seen in Protestantism' rich tendency to fracture and divide into sects that compete with each other for the souls of men.

In the end, the appeal that a Protestant interpreter of Scripture makes is not to Scripture alone, but to his ability to interpret Scripture rightly based upon questionable suppositions, strawmen, and circular reasoning.

The Canon of Scripture

Another matter contradicting the Protestant notion of Sola Scriptura is the origin of the Canon of the Bible. How do we know that the Bible is, well, the Bible? How do we know that the books we see in the Bible belong to it? How do we know that …all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NASB)?

The Canon of Scripture is not in the Bible. We don't know from the Bible which books belong to it and which do not. That information comes from outside the Bible, hence, the Bible cannot be the sole rule of faith, morals, and discipline for the Church. There is a preceding, discerning, and selective authority of the canon of Scripture: the Holy Spirit acting through a visible, historical, very human instrument—the Church.

We know which books are inspired because of the Church. Lovingly, carefully, exactingly, the Church examined, listed, debated, and listed again the list of books through which God spoke to men. Hence, the Church's discernment and teaching power—her magisterium—form a more proximate rule of faith, so to speak, than Scripture.

So there is more than one rule of faith, one depending on the other to be certain, but both impossible to separate without ruining the other. The relationship between the Church and Scripture is symbiotic; though is true that Scripture judges the Church it is also true that the Church rightly interprets Scripture. Scripture can't stand separate from the Church.

How often are we confronted by Protestant apologists who are keen to separate us from the Catholic Church with the claim that Scripture judges the Church? Because they do not consider, as we have seen, the role of the interpreter, what they really mean in practice is that they, the interpreters, judge the Church.

Has Public Revelation Ended?

Similarly, Holy Scripture never unequivocally states that public Revelation from God, binding on the consciences of all His children, has ever ended. How do we know that Revelation, that is, God's self-disclosure in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, came to an end with the death of the last Apostle? We know because the Church tells us, because our ancestors in the faith believe it and the successors to the Apostles so declared it.

Based on Sola Scriptura, Protestants cannot close the canon! Oh, they can accept convention or the words of the Reformers to that effect, but the Reformers were sticking to the classical Catholic canon with little explanation as to the exact end of public revelation.

The fact that Sola Scriptura allows for open-ended revelation has not been ignored by myriads of sects, from Montanism way back in Tertullian's time to the ecstatic sects of the Middle Ages to Seventh-day Adventism and Mormonism—this last one even has three more books of "sacred scriptures" besides the Bible! But the contradiction has been passed in silence by Protestant apologists.

A Protestant, if he or she is consistent, can't criticize others who add their revelations to the Bible simply because the Bible is silent on the subject. The answer to this dilemma comes from outside the Bible, from the all-encompassing Tradition maintained, treasured, and explained in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Stay tuned for the conclusion!


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: canon; protestantism; ruleoffaith; scripture; solascriptura
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To: irishtenor
Was the practice taught? Was it encouraged?

As far as I can tell from the historical record, the practice did not appear until 1517, when Pope Leo X offered indulgences for those who helped the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica. It wasn't a teaching, but as I said, a practice. His practice was officially rebuked by the Council of Trent, later in the same century.

What is the reason for indulgences? Forgiving of sins?

An indulgence is for the remission of temporal punishments for sins already forgiven.

Only Jesus can forgive a sin, not a Pope, not Mary, not a Saint, nobody but Jesus, and he don't need your money to do it.

The Church has never taught that Mary or any of the saints can forgive sins. The power of priests to grant absolution of sins is Scriptural. "When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20: 22-23).

51 posted on 08/16/2006 10:31:05 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: irishtenor
A curiousity about your name... you aren't by any way a fireworks dude, are you? As in Pyrotechnician?

Close. ;-) The 7-4-80 is my birthdate, July 4, 1980, which is Independence Day, and as you know, there are always fireworks on that day. It's one of the favorite things about my birthday.

52 posted on 08/16/2006 10:32:26 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: FJ290
I'm not trying to wound you. It's the truth.

Maybe that was implied, i.e. Ouch, I'm wounded by the truth.

53 posted on 08/16/2006 10:34:17 PM PDT by Titanites
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To: Pyro7480

***An indulgence is for the remission of temporal punishments for sins already forgiven. ***

That is funny, how can you be punished for a sin that is forgiven? I thought that Jesus took all our sins upon him and died so we are not punished.


54 posted on 08/16/2006 10:42:33 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: Pyro7480

I am a pyro. Been doing fireworks shows for about 15 years now. I love the 4th!!!!!!!!


55 posted on 08/16/2006 10:43:40 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: irishtenor
That is funny, how can you be punished for a sin that is forgiven? I thought that Jesus took all our sins upon him and died so we are not punished.

From Indulgences

"Indulgences are only granted by the Church after the individual earning the indulgence receives the sacrament of reconciliation (penance) or experiences perfect contrition. Because the sacrament of reconciliation removes the guilt of sin, the penitent is restored by reconciliation to the state of grace. However, while the individual’s guilt is removed by reconciliation, the sin is not completely erased; the individual still must be punished for the sin. God has mercy upon sinners who repent of their sins, but like a good parent, His justice still requires that the sinner be punished for the wrongdoing. This punishment is called temporal punishment, both because it is a punishment of time, as opposed to eternal punishment, and because it relates to the temporary world (Earth or Purgatory), rather than to the “final destination” (Heaven or hell)."

56 posted on 08/16/2006 10:49:59 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: FJ290
If your Sola Scriptura is so darn great and perfect, why do so many of you disagree? Which one of you is right? Is it the Methodists, the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, the Pentecostals, etc?

First off, the main stream Protestants are basically still Catholic...

Don't forget, there are almost as branches of the Catholic church as there are Protestants...

But the answer to your question is simple...It's a matter of disbelief...

Pentecostals: For an example, they hang in there with the spiritual gifts...They don't believe the bible when it says the gifts are for a sign to the Jews...They don't believe the bible when it says that tongues are a foreign language and they don't believe you always need an interpreter when speaking in tongues even when the bible says differently...

Mormons: They don't believe in the Trinity even tho the bible is clear on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit...They have another book besides the bible...

7th Day Adventists: These folks are living under the law and worship on the Sabbath...Unbiblical...

Methodists: Historically, Methodists were bible believers...I know a couple that attended a Methodist church for 6 years...They claim they never heard the plan of Salvation til they left the church...

Presbyterians, Anglicans: For example: Luk 20:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
Luk 20:47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

Catholic: Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

The divisions come from disbelief...They either don't compare scripture with scripture for a correct interpretation, or they chose not to believe what the bible says and add to or take away from it...

57 posted on 08/16/2006 10:56:01 PM PDT by Iscool
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To: irishtenor

And he never even got baptized...


58 posted on 08/16/2006 10:58:53 PM PDT by Iscool
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To: Iscool
And he never even got baptized...

How do you know?

59 posted on 08/16/2006 11:01:40 PM PDT by Titanites
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To: Pyro7480

***Because the sacrament of reconciliation removes the guilt of sin, the penitent is restored by reconciliation to the state of grace. However, while the individual’s guilt is removed by reconciliation, the sin is not completely erased; the individual still must be punished for the sin.***

You see, this is where we differ. Paul said there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation, at all. Jesus paid all the penalty for my sins, all of it, otherwise he died in vain. He didn't pay part of it, or most of it, or almost all of it, he paid it all. If you were to die tonight, right after you committed a sin, and you didn't have time to see a priest, are your sins forgiven? They are if you believe is Jesus for the remission of your sins, and Jeus only.


60 posted on 08/16/2006 11:03:08 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: Titanites

Because it wasn't raining??? It only takes a sprinkle :>)


61 posted on 08/16/2006 11:04:16 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: Iscool
Catholic: Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

If taken literally, that saying was broken by the early Christians VERY early on.

"And being let go, they came to their own company, and related all that the chief priests and ancients had said to them. Who having heard it, with one accord lifted up their voice to God, and said: Lord, thou art he that didst make heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them. Who, by the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, hast said: Why did the Gentiles rage, and the people meditate vain things?" (Acts 4: 23-25)

62 posted on 08/16/2006 11:05:23 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: irishtenor
If you were to die tonight, right after you committed a sin, and you didn't have time to see a priest, are your sins forgiven?

The last recourse in such a case is to make an Act of Contrition, which is often put in these words. "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all of my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because they offended Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen."

63 posted on 08/16/2006 11:08:08 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: Pyro7480

But, what if, while in your sin, a bullet came out of nowhere, smacked you in the head, and you died instantly? You had no chance to do anything, what then? Heaven? Or Purgatory? Or Hell?


64 posted on 08/16/2006 11:10:32 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: irishtenor
But, what if, while in your sin, a bullet came out of nowhere, smacked you in the head, and you died instantly? You had no chance to do anything, what then? Heaven? Or Purgatory? Or Hell?

If I am in grave sin, I will go to Hell.

65 posted on 08/16/2006 11:11:48 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: Pyro7480

Then you are not counting on Jesus to save you, you are counting on your action (the prayer) to save you. Jesus paid for all your sins. I truely believe that you believe in Jesus. Jesus has paid for your sins that you did, that you are doing, and that you will do. It is Jesus, and Jesus alone, that saves. He did it by being that perfect sacrifice on the cross. If you say that it is Jesus plus whatever you do, then it wasn't a PERFECT sacrifice, it was an almost perfect, or nearly perfect, or close but no cigar sacrifice.


66 posted on 08/16/2006 11:16:20 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: irishtenor
Then you are not counting on Jesus to save you, you are counting on your action (the prayer) to save you.

One cannot say that prayer truthfully unless they are given the grace of contrition. The Sacrifice of the Cross IS a perfect sacrifice. But as Our Lord Himself said, only those who persevere to the end shall be saved. Only God can give us that perseverance, but we can certainly as for it.

67 posted on 08/16/2006 11:18:51 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: Pyro7480

Jerome used the Siniaticus and Vaticanus manuscripts to write the Latin Vulgate...Those two sets of manuscripts came out of Egypt and disagree with each other in over 3000 places...

The bible I believe came out of Antioch, Syria thru what's known as the Majority Texts...Their numbers are far greater than Jerome's manuscripts and they agree with each other over 95% of the time...These manuscripts do not have the word 'father' in Acts 4: 23-25...

That's a Catholic addition...


68 posted on 08/16/2006 11:20:53 PM PDT by Iscool
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To: Pyro7480

Do me a favor, I have to go, but think on what I have written to you. Think about all that Jesus' sacrifice means, and pray to God the Father for insight. Let the Holy Spirit dwell with you.

Good discussion, without namecalling...(it can get so nasty here) Thank you.


69 posted on 08/16/2006 11:22:36 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: Iscool
That's a Catholic addition...

LOL!

70 posted on 08/16/2006 11:24:24 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: irishtenor

You've actually been a help, but in a way you wouldn't think of. God bless.


71 posted on 08/16/2006 11:25:19 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: Pyro7480
only those who persevere to the end shall be saved. Only God can give us that perseverance, but we can certainly as for it.

I realize what your church tells you but look at that verse very carefully...It is not speaking about the end of your life, or anyone's life for that matter...It is dealing with a period of time...And that period of time has nothing to do with you...

72 posted on 08/16/2006 11:25:48 PM PDT by Iscool
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To: Iscool
If you don't believe that, how about these??

Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesian 6:2).

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? (James 2:21)

73 posted on 08/16/2006 11:29:42 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("Love is the fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection." -S. Terese Andes)
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To: irishtenor
Are you saying that those who do not accept this Catholic teaching are not saved?

No. I can't tell who is not saved. I am not God. All I can affirm is that those accept Catholic teaching and live it, are.

-Theo

74 posted on 08/17/2006 3:51:53 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: nmh; old-ager; ConservativeMind; irishtenor
Of course this silly post isn't Bible bashing ... nah that's a one sided word to only be used when a Catholic is confronted with Biblical truth and contrasted to what has been taught by their church.

The basic point in my post is that, in the Protestant scheme, "biblical truth" is whatever the interpreter says it is. I know it is not a pallatable idea and I can see why you would find it shocking, uncomfortable, and challenging. The existence of thousands of Protestant sects prove my point.

It will remain so as long as you can't produce the chapter and verse where we can find a list of the closed biblical canon.

Scripture is holy because God says so, yes, but this only becomes meaningful when the Church proclaims it so. Without the Church's discernment and proclamation, there wouldn't be any "Scripture."

The Catholic Church as a human institution is not above criticism. But neither are her critics.

-Theo

75 posted on 08/17/2006 4:05:49 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Iscool
Sola Scripture...Catholics are told they can't understand the bible on their own...You guys need your church to interpret it for you.

That would be somewhat bad if "the Church" were a reality completely external to me, but it isn't. I am in the Church, I believe with her; it is not "I and the Church believe" but "we in the Church believe."

The Protestant retort is that I need *you*, "Iscool," to interpret it for me. Because the Protestant claim is not a general claim made about a teaching church, but one made about the single, teaching individual.

I suppose you are "cool," but I don't need your help to interpret the Bible and see the Bible "your way." Thank you anyway, though!

-Theo

76 posted on 08/17/2006 4:11:48 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...


77 posted on 08/17/2006 7:21:51 AM PDT by NYer
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To: old-ager

You would have each man be a pope; nye, a prophet like Mohammed or Joseph Smith?


78 posted on 08/17/2006 7:44:54 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: nmh

Fallible men like Martin Luther? Fact is that each Protestant church has a magister, and when a member decides to reject the infallibility of this magisterium , he seeks out another or becomes one himself. The only Reformer who really sought to reconstitute the catholic church on a proper footing was Calvin. But after the anti-pope of Geneva died, even his movement lost its center.


79 posted on 08/17/2006 7:58:17 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: Teˇfilo
As a Cathoic convert, I find this an interesting discussion. Many Protestants find fault with Catholics in that the Magisterium does the interpreting. I have yet to find any prohibition on reading Scripture, and there are several Bible studies going on in my parish, and each Sunday more Scripture is read in Mass than I have heard in most Protestant services.

Protestants find no difficulty, however, in attending "Bible-believing" services where the pastor INTERPRETS passages of scripture as part of his sermon, and in fact tells the congregation that his interpretation is the correct one.

I would suggest that those who are concerned about the role of Mary and other aspects of the church enroll in an RCIA class at a large parish. Many of the questions would be answered, and there is no obligation to join the Church. We encourage this in my parish, so that people, even if they do not share our belief, can at least have the correct answer on what we do believe.

80 posted on 08/17/2006 8:01:19 AM PDT by Miss Marple (Lord, please look after Mozart Lover's and Jemian's sons and keep them strong.)
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To: Pyro7480
If you don't believe that, how about these??

Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise (Ephesian 6:2).

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? (James 2:21)

You are missing the context...That's why you have to compare scripture with scripture...Of course your male parent is your father...Abraham was the first of the seed to be rewarded the 'inheritance'...Henry Ford was the father of mass production...

The context is has to do with spiritual matters...

Joh 8:41 You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God.
Joh 8:42 Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded and came. For I came not of myself: but he sent me.

The commandment is to "call no man your father in spiritual matters because you have only 1 spiritual Father...And that is God...In other words, do not call priests, Father...

81 posted on 08/17/2006 8:01:29 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: Teˇfilo
The Protestant retort is that I need *you*, "Iscool," to interpret it for me. Because the Protestant claim is not a general claim made about a teaching church, but one made about the single, teaching individual.

Where do you get this stuff from??? All Protestant churches have bible classes just as your church does...And a lot of them are just as wrong as your church is...

82 posted on 08/17/2006 8:04:49 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: Iscool
Where do you get this stuff from??? All Protestant churches have bible classes just as your church does...And a lot of them are just as wrong as your church is...

It's a conclusion based upon observation, study, and painful experience.

For I once left the Catholic Church, beguiled by the "reasonable" Protestant explanations, only to find them empty, circular, and dead.

You may choose to disregard my "authority" if you wish, but the fact remains that I made a good argument, based upon Scripture itself and lots of common sense.

If "only Scripture" is "sufficient," then the canon of the Scripture and the notion that revelation still continues remains an open option, for Scripture does not contain a list of the inspired books nor does it say anywhere that revelation has been completed. IOW, the logical consequence of sola Scriptura is an open canon and continuing revelation.

Deal with that.

-Theo

83 posted on 08/17/2006 8:16:25 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Teˇfilo
Deal with that.

I don't have to deal with that...My bible came out of Antioch, Syria...The last book of my bible warns not to add anything to the book...

I realize I didn't ask anyone to interpret that for me but I'll take my chanches that I understood it correctly...

"Do not add to this book, or you will die"...I know that can mean something different to someone else but I'm going to interpret that as meaning the book is finished...The Canon is finished...Works for me...

84 posted on 08/17/2006 8:29:12 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: ConservativeMind
Mary is barely mentioned in the Bible

Depends on what one means by "barely." Luke devotes two whole chapters to Mary, and in what connection? With the incarnation. Look at the histoic creeds: THE GOD is incarnate by the Virgin Mary. Note it does not say "born of A virgin." . The cult of Mary is not a concoction of the Middle Ages but can be traced to the early Church Fathers, such as Ignatious who proves the divinity of Jesus by reference to the Virgin. The claim--a claim not made by the way by Luther or Calvin--that Mary was a virgin at the time of the conception but not thereafter, tends to diminish not only Mary but Jesus. Contrarily, the exaltation of Mary elevates Jesus. The term Theotokos arises out of the Arian and Nestorian controversies and are part of the definition of the Trinity. Muslims have an inkling of this, assumed, one gathers from heretical sects in Syria which DID make Mary one of the Trinity. The worst that some Marianists in the Catholic Church have done is to raise Mary to demi-god status. But the modern day Protestants go so far in the opposite direction as to put here on the same level as Elizabeth or a Old Testament prototype like Hannah or Sarah. Her originally virginity reduced to a sign and Mary's role in the event a purely passive one. This, IMO. disregards the intent of St. Luke.

85 posted on 08/17/2006 8:34:43 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: FJ290

No one is their own Pope in any Christian environment. However, all are solely responsible for their own salvation.

This requires personal understanding, starting with the simplest faith BUT NOT ENDING THERE. From there, we must grow in our walk, our faith, and our understanding. We can't rely on another for any of that and we shouldn't when we have the letters of the New Testament available to us.

With the Pope being as infallible as the rest of us simply because he is human, then we are as damned to Hell if we follow Him as if we follow Satan.

We are not to follow ANY MAN BUT CHRIST in His example. That said, wise men and women can help us along on our way.


86 posted on 08/17/2006 9:59:56 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: Pyro7480

One can only grant absolution (forgiveness and restoration) of sins in which they were directly a part.

In that way, we all are called to forgive our brothers and sisters when they repent. For those who are not our brothers and sisters, well, they are going to Hell anyway.

The reference you give is otherwise specific to the Apostles on behalf of Jesus and God.


87 posted on 08/17/2006 10:07:10 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: Iscool
Generally well-stated; however, I beg to differ on the "still Catholic" thing...we are to be Christians or better yet, "disciples".
88 posted on 08/17/2006 10:09:59 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: ConservativeMind
No one is their own Pope in any Christian environment. However, all are solely responsible for their own salvation.

I beg to differ. You all seem to think that you read the Bible infallibly, but I don't see that you do. If you did, there wouldn't be so many sects of non-Catholics all disagreeing with what the Bible says.

With the Pope being as infallible as the rest of us simply because he is human, then we are as damned to Hell if we follow Him as if we follow Satan.

Oh please! Come on now, get serious. How many of you follow what your preachers say and do? Going to hell over that are you? Are you following Satan when you sit in the pews on Sunday morning nodding your head in agreement with your pastor? Man, what an analogy!

We are not to follow ANY MAN BUT CHRIST in His example. That said, wise men and women can help us along on our way.

Well, you just contradicted yourself there didn't you? If wise men and women can help you along the way, but you aren't to follow anyone but Christ, you better not listen to them either.

Disagree with the Papacy all you want. At least it has kept the Catholic Church going for 2,000+ years now while the non-Catholic churches continue to splinter and fall apart theologically.

89 posted on 08/17/2006 10:42:05 AM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290
Roman Catholicism is structurally united under the Pope and the bishops who recognize the authority of the Papacy. However, it is far from theologically unified. Checking intra-Catholic fights here on FR and elsewhere provides more than ample evidence of that disunity. Issues such as the validity of the Tridentine Mass vs. the so-called Novus Ordo Mass, the doctrine of "outside the church there is no salvation," the degree to which church leaders should be involved in political matters, especially when those leaders hold leftist positions, the use of Latin vs. vernacular languages, the continued celibacy of the priesthood, the role of women and lay persons in liturgical worship, and the dispensation of Communion to persons who are not Roman Catholics are but a few of the issues that divide people who recognize the Pope as the visible head of the church.

OTOH, the absence of structural unity among Protestants does not necessarily imply significant theological differences. For example, the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, both conservative Reformed denominations, are in agreement as to a strict adherence to the Westminster Standards. Smaller conservative Reformed denominations, such as the United Reformed Church are in substantial doctrinal agreement with the conservative Presbyterian bodies, even if their doctrinal statements draw from Continental, rather than British, confessions of faith. Reformed and Calvinistic Baptists may disagree with their Presbyterian brethren on the administration of baptism and church governance, but would agree on issues of Biblical interpretation in most other areas. The theological differences between the Calvinistic Baptist Albert Mohler and the conservative Presbyterian R.C. Sproul are smaller than those between the the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X and the Pope Benedict XVI, both of whom are considered part of Roman Catholicism's conservative wing.

Roman Catholicism does have structural unity, but in terms of theological disputation, it is as fractured as are the churches that are in the tradition of the Reformation.

90 posted on 08/17/2006 11:05:39 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: Wallace T.
Roman Catholicism does have structural unity, but in terms of theological disputation, it is as fractured as are the churches that are in the tradition of the Reformation.

I shouldn't laugh, but I can't help it. These intra-Catholic fights on FR seldom rise to the same level as the intra-non-Catholic fights. In fact, I think I see a lot more unity among the Catholic posters.

You say we are just as fractured as those in the Reformation? Hardly.

Mainline Protestant churches no longer dominate NCC Yearbook’s list of top 25 U.S. religious bodies

Three of the largest 25 churches in the U.S. are Pentecostal and six are African American, the yearbook reports.

The list includes the rapidly growing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and – largest of all – the Roman Catholic Church.

Take a look a that list and that doesn't even mention every splinter group that is out there among non-Catholics.

91 posted on 08/17/2006 11:18:04 AM PDT by FJ290
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To: FJ290
I think you are misunderstanding the meaning of the word "follow".

We are to follow the advice of those more wise than us only to the extent their words are compatible with Scripture. We cannot follow them nor their examples, as these are both highly fallible.

I do not follow what my minister says or does beyond what is consistent with the Bible, as that is what I am to be judged by on Judgment Day.

I agree that many have differing views of what the Bible says. Of course I believe my views are correct, otherwise I would not be following them nor espousing them! However, I also realize there are many things I have yet to learn. Additionally, there are many things we can agree to disagree on in "good faith".

For instance, I can believe capital punishment is valid, as there appears to be Scripture supporting such. But others can point to Scripture saying we are to forgive our enemies and take that as meaning no punishments should be handed out that might include death. I disagree with them, but I can see where they could have such understanding. I don't see this difference being one that compromises one's Salvation, so one can agree to disagree. Others, such as ordination of openly gay leaders in the Church, is effectively prohibited as an "abomination" before God.

The Catholic church has had its own splintering, including Luther's breakaway, the Anglican church, the Orthodox church, etc. To top it off, Pope over the years have issued conflicting and sometimes perverse edicts.

People are fallible, but the true Truth is not. For whoever speaks that, the rest should listen and get encouragement in their own walk.
92 posted on 08/17/2006 11:24:50 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: FJ290
You should check Web sites such as www.traditio.com or www.catholictradition.com with respect to the discomfort of the traditionalist wing of Roman Catholicism with the mainstream of their church. They routinely denounce the current Mass as "Protestant, Masonic, and Satanic," and regard the sacraments and the priesthood of those ordained since the late 1960s as invalid. Those Catholic conservatives who accept the present Mass and the Vatican II changes to liturgy and doctrine denounce the more radical traditionalists as schismatics and Magisterium literalists akin in spirit to Protestant fundamentalists. These debates are as fierce as any Calvinist-Arminian or KJV Only vs. Critical Text debates among conservative Protestants. Keep in mind that what I have discussed only deals with the right wing of Roman Catholicism. When you consider the left wing, you have an enormous theological gap. I dare say the chasm between Archbishop Lefevre and Hans Kung is at least as wide as that between Jerry Falwell and Bishop Spong.

As for church growth, you fail to mention that the annual growth rate for the Southern Baptist Convention, a predominantly conservative evangelical denomination, is only slightly smaller than that of the Roman Catholic Church. Keep in mind too that the large majority of Latin American immigrants, who are at the core of the illegal alien problem, are at least nominal Catholics. Of course, both the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God (another conservative evangelical denomination) have aggressive outreach programs among Hispanics, and their growth could also be partially due to immigrants. OTOH, there is a drift of liberal Roman Catholics to Episcopalianism, which may explain the growth of that denomination in contrast with the losses experienced by other mainline bodies, and a movement of conservative Episcopalians to Roman Catholicism. The growth of the Orthodox Churches and Mormonism are probably the result of conversions of native born Americans rather than ethnic mission work.

93 posted on 08/17/2006 11:55:40 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: ConservativeMind
The Catholic church has had its own splintering, including Luther's breakaway, the Anglican church, the Orthodox church, etc. To top it off, Pope over the years have issued conflicting and sometimes perverse edicts.

Gotta get back to work, but wanted to say that what should be stated here is not Luther's breakaway, but Luther's rebellion and Henry XII's lusts being satisified.

The Popes have been very consistent in doctrine, so I disagree with you on that one. Perverse? Well, I can show you some perverse ones in non-Catholics sects.

For your viewing enjoyment.

Rodney Howard Browne

Robert Tilton's Performing Poodles

Pastor Theo Faith Healing Exposed

Benny Hinn Examined

It's getting a old hearing that we're "perverse." Look in the mirror.

94 posted on 08/17/2006 12:02:06 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: Wallace T.
You should check Web sites such as www.traditio.com or www.catholictradition.com with respect to the discomfort of the traditionalist wing of Roman Catholicism with the mainstream of their church. They routinely denounce the current Mass as "Protestant, Masonic, and Satanic," and regard the sacraments and the priesthood of those ordained since the late 1960s as invalid.

They aren't the Pope so that they don't speak for the Church. What they have to say is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. There will always be some that disagree and think they know better than the Pope. I will say this, some of the concerns by the Traditional Catholics are valid. IMO, ecumenism has gone way overboard with some of the Catholic clerics.

As for church growth, you fail to mention that the annual growth rate for the Southern Baptist Convention, a predominantly conservative evangelical denomination, is only slightly smaller than that of the Roman Catholic Church.

Slightly smaller? Hmm...the Roman Catholic Church has now slightly over 67 million and the Southern Baptist Convention has 16,439,603? What math are you using to come up with that?

OTOH, there is a drift of liberal Roman Catholics to Episcopalianism, which may explain the growth of that denomination in contrast with the losses experienced by other mainline bodies, and a movement of conservative Episcopalians to Roman Catholicism.

I know nothing of this "drift" of liberal Roman Catholics to the Episcopal church. Can you show documentation supporting that claim? If true, then I'm glad they left and went to where they belong. We don't need naysaying liberals in the Church trying to corrupt it with liberalism. I will, of course, pray for conversion of their hearts back to the Church.

95 posted on 08/17/2006 12:13:21 PM PDT by FJ290
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To: Iscool

Can you please tell me why Paul would give 2 chapters on speaking in toungues when they would be gone?

Can you tell me where in scripture the perfect has been defined from 1 Cor 13:10?

If speaking in tongues was a known language, why did Paul do it more than anyone he knew?

What does it mean in Eph 6 when we are commanded to pray in the Holy Spirit?

I used to teach Baptists baptist theology. Then I actually read what the bible says and stopped listening to the Baptist theology. Perhaps you will aslo.


96 posted on 08/17/2006 12:32:28 PM PDT by Rhadaghast (Yeshua haMashiach hu Adonai Tsidkenu)
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To: Rhadaghast

Acts 2:11 shows that the tongues used by the early Church were words in legitimate human languages--ones that those people otherwise were never taught. It was not babbling nonsense.


97 posted on 08/17/2006 12:50:47 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: Teˇfilo

Can someone who rejects the Catholic church and yet believes in Jesus be saved?


98 posted on 08/17/2006 12:56:38 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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To: FJ290
With respect as to who speaks for Roman Catholicism, it is my understanding that the Pope speaks infallibly on matters of faith and morals when he speaks ex cathedra, from the Chair of Peter. A Pope or his spokesmen can and are considered to err, at least by traditionalists, when they deviate from the Magisterium. Several patristic and medieval church leaders who have been canonized, such as St. Bridget and St. Athanasius, were forthright in denouncing the Pope and other church leaders. Only when the Pope states that he is speaking ex cathedra are his statements regarded as infallible, as I understand Catholic teaching.

With regard to growth of different church bodies, please note that I was speaking about annual growth percentages, not raw numbers. The article you previously cited dealt with annual growth rate among the 25 largest Christian bodies. With a base of 67 million vs. 17 million, the raw numbers of Catholic increase will be about fourfold that of the Southern Baptists, though the growth rate is similar. Additionally, over half of the megachurches listed in a recent survey of the most influential congregations in America were either non-denominational, such as The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, or associated with a small denomination, such as Coral Ridge Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, affiliated with the conservative Presbyterian Church in America, with denominational membership at about 350K. A lot of church growth exists beyond the range of the larger Christian bodies.

As for the drift of liberal Catholics to Episcopalianism, this observation is based on statements of current liberal Episcopalians as to their faith background and why they left Roman Catholicism, often because of Catholic opposition to homosexuality, abortion, etc. The reverse flow of conservative Episcopalians is based on personal observation, including old family friends who "swam the Tiber" 20 years ago when the liberalism in that denomination was too flagrant, as well as the existence of an Anglican usages group within the Roman Rite.

99 posted on 08/17/2006 12:57:53 PM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: Teˇfilo

***Scripture is holy because God says so, yes, but this only becomes meaningful when the Church proclaims it so.***

The scripture of the God of the universe is only meaningful when a lowly church says so? I think you had better rethink that. It is meaningful because GOD says so. It is meaningful when the Holy Spirit makes it so in your heart. The church is only a minor player in things.


100 posted on 08/17/2006 1:00:06 PM PDT by irishtenor (We survived Clinton in the 80s... we can survive her even when her husband is gone.)
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