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‘Explorer: The Secret Lives of Jesus,’ Dec. 17, National Geographic Channel
Catholic Online ^ | December 8, 2006 | David DiCerto

Posted on 12/16/2006 5:18:34 AM PST by NYer

Last April, the National Geographic Society made headlines with a completed translation of the second century gnostic text known as the Gospel of Judas – financed by the society and heavily promoted with tie-in books and a TV documentary – that would challenge Christianity's traditional understanding of the relationship between Jesus and his betrayer.

Its new special, "The Secret Lives of Jesus," makes similar sensational claims, airing as part of the "Explorer" series Sunday, Dec. 17, 9-10 p.m. EST on cable's National Geographic Channel.

Despite its provocative title, however, the program – as with the Judas expose – provides no explosive revelations but merely rehashes the same old theological chestnuts refuted by the church over the centuries.

Examining the so-called "lost gospels" through re-enactments and interviews with scholars, the film asks if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell the "whole" Jesus story, suggesting that these alternative versions – which offer a radically different portrait of Christ -- may help "fill in the blanks." The idea that these ancient texts provide startling new information is a bit misleading. Church fathers such as St. Irenaeus, who wrote against the Gospel of Judas in 180 A.D., knew of many of these and rejected them as false.

Among the manuscripts considered is the apocryphal infancy Gospel of James, a second-century collection of miraculous tales about Jesus' youth that lacks the historical veracity of the canonical Gospels. (The book was regarded as spurious by Origen of Alexandria in the third century.) One episode dramatized involves Jesus bringing clay pigeons to life. Another has a young, rather malicious Jesus striking a boy dead for bumping into him.

Of equally dubious purview is "The Unknown Life of Jesus," a 19th-century translation of an ancient Tibetan scroll which allegedly chronicles Jesus' travels through India during his "hidden years" (between the ages 12 and 30) to learn from Hindu mystics.

Given the popularity of "The Da Vinci Code," it's not unexpected that the survey includes discussion of gnostic texts such as the Gospels of Mary and Philip that allude to Mary Magdalene's special, possibly intimate, relationship with Jesus. But unlike Dan Brown, this program does not attribute any conspiratorial villainy to the church, and even counters many of Brown's bogus assertions: One expert, for instance, stresses that there's no credible evidence to support the Jesus-Mary Magdalene theory.

It is, however, suggested that these alternative versions constituted a pluralism of valid competing forms of Christianity vying for dominance in the first centuries after Christ. While doctrinal questions continued to be refined among the early Christian communities, this image hardly does justice to the capacity of those communities to sort out and affirm the essentials of the faith authoritatively taught from the beginning.

Even more disputable is the contention forwarded that the gnostic texts, though written much later than the canonical gospels, have something of equal value to say about Jesus. While these texts are of certain historical interest, they tell us more about the people who wrote them than about Jesus.


TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; gnostic; gnosticism; gospels; jesus; nationalgeographic; ngc; tv
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DiCerto is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
1 posted on 12/16/2006 5:18:36 AM PST by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Satan is alive and well and living in Hollyweird. Another SPECIAL timed to coincide with Christmas; another opportunity to confuse the sheep.
2 posted on 12/16/2006 5:20:55 AM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: NYer

I don't know who owns National Geographic. But, I'll bet it is owned by those who ain't partial to the Bible :)


3 posted on 12/16/2006 5:29:20 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: NYer
Many people still hold the idea that Gospel is like the story of the Koran: it's given all at one time, and any other version is false (which, in the case of Koran, were all burned).
4 posted on 12/16/2006 5:31:18 AM PST by paudio (WoT is more important than War on Gay Marriage!)
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To: bornacatholic; kstewskis; NYer; Victoria Delsoul; Tax-chick; Raquel
Most theologian scholars laugh at the idea of the gnostic gospels being authentic. I heard one theologian compare the gnostic gospels of that time to today's National Enquirer.

I whole heartedly agree.

5 posted on 12/16/2006 5:43:28 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: bornacatholic
I don't know who owns National Geographic. But, I'll bet it is owned by those who ain't partial to the Bible :)

*************

That's probably a safe assumption. Here's the bio of the President, for what it's worth:

John M. Fahey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John M. Fahey, Jr. became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Geographic Society in 1998, succeeding Reg Murphy, who served as president of the Society as well as the United States Golf Association. Murphy previously served as President of the Sun Newspapers in Baltimore and the San Francisco Examiner. He was Editor of the Editorial Page of the Atlanta Constitution. Fahey also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, as well as Chairman of its executive committee.

Fahey received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Manhattan College and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He was previously president of Time-Life Books.

6 posted on 12/16/2006 5:56:01 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

Are you surprised by this?


7 posted on 12/16/2006 5:58:13 AM PST by Vision ("As a man thinks...so is he." Proverbs 23:7)
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To: Vision
Are you surprised by this?

No ... just angered by the relentless attacks on my Lord and Savior.

8 posted on 12/16/2006 6:04:43 AM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: NYer

I'm sure the National Geographic Society will be putting out a special during Ramadan exposing the life of Mohammed, since those facts are definitely known. After all, these anti-religious hacks would want to debunk ALL religions, not just Christianity, right?


9 posted on 12/16/2006 6:15:16 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: kittymyrib
I'm sure the National Geographic Society will be putting out a special during Ramadan exposing the life of Mohammed, since those facts are definitely known. After all, these anti-religious hacks would want to debunk ALL religions, not just Christianity, right?

**************

LOL! Exactly.

10 posted on 12/16/2006 6:16:47 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham
Not all of them.
Assumptions make you look silly. Kind of a waste of time, and can make you appear like know-nothings.
11 posted on 12/16/2006 6:52:32 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: NYer; Kolokotronis; Agrarian; kawaii; bornacatholic; annalex; jo kus; Petrosius; FormerLib; ...
"While these texts are of certain historical interest, they tell us more about the people who wrote them than about Jesus."

Just as the airing of such "specials" tells us more about the people who are doing them, then about Jesus.

There is a small, but concerted and well organized, well financed, persistent and aggressive cabal of influential organizations and individuals (Soros, Elaine Pagels & al, etc.) which have unceasingly been on the forefront of Christ-bashing through books, and especially several TV channels (Discovery, National Geographic, History, etc.), that can be commonly called the Satanic Network, with Lucifer at its undisputed CEO.

The timing, just as with the "Gospel" of Judas, is not a coincidence. Christ-bashing one week before Christmas is a well planned and organized attack with Antichrist and his angels behind the agenda.

The master deceiver and the father of all lies uses academic and historical "evidence," with few professors who sold their souls to darkness, to make it look all very believable and genuine. But pay attention and see how many of those interviewed are really representative voices of the Church, Easter or West, and whether their statements are in context or represent only a suitable segment. As always, when tuning into these satanic episodes from hell, watch it at your own risk and make sure you wear a crucifix!

12 posted on 12/16/2006 7:07:33 AM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: NYer
angered by the relentless attacks on my Lord and Savior.

The ear of Malchus twitches in the grave while Saint Peter shouts Glory Glory Glory!

Take comfort, you are in good company and we know the final fate of the deceivers.

13 posted on 12/16/2006 7:16:48 AM PST by Enosh
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To: kosta50
There is a small, but concerted and well organized, well financed, persistent and aggressive cabal of influential organizations and individuals (Soros, Elaine Pagels & al, etc.) which have unceasingly been on the forefront of Christ-bashing through books, and especially several TV channels (Discovery, National Geographic, History, etc.)

*************

That's good to know. It's important to watch with a critical eye, although it can be exceedingly annoying.

14 posted on 12/16/2006 7:16:55 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham; bornacatholic
That's probably a safe assumption. Here's the bio of the President, for what it's worth\

The ownership is not in the president of the society, but its shareholders and the policies are determined by the executive steering cmmittee. The president is there to serve the corporation, and make sure the business brings profit.

What amazes me is that it is actually profitable in America to bash Christ! A country where nearly 80% of the population declares to be "Christian!" Yet, common sense tells us that, just as drugs and pornography would not be a money-making business without customers, likewise there are enough people who will watch Christ-bashing to make it a worth-while endeavor.

15 posted on 12/16/2006 7:23:50 AM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
What amazes me is that it is actually profitable in America to bash Christ! A country where nearly 80% of the population declares to be "Christian!"

***********

Yes. I wonder how that poll was taken/information was gathered, because it makes no sense.

16 posted on 12/16/2006 7:30:42 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer; kosta50

Nothing but damnable, soul destroying heresy! What is the motivation of these people who peddle this evil? Power, pure and simple!

"The desire to rule is the mother of heresies." +John Chrysostomos


17 posted on 12/16/2006 7:50:01 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
What is the motivation of these people who peddle this evil?

"All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."

Matthew 4:9
18 posted on 12/16/2006 8:37:05 AM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: kosta50; trisham; Kolokotronis
Christ-bashing one week before Christmas is a well planned and organized attack with Antichrist and his angels behind the agenda.

Absolutely correct! How many lapsed christians, listening to Christmas carols on the radio, have had their hearts stirred and contemplate returning to Church on Christmas day. Programs such as this are intended to lead the weak, astray. They continue down a path of diabolical darkness towards the total loss of their souls. May God have mercy on them!

19 posted on 12/16/2006 8:49:14 AM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: NYer

The source of the problem is modern biblical scholarship, which from its origins in the 18th Century posited that the Four Gospels were written long after the lifetime of Jesus and therefore have no historical value. The fact is that it is likely that all four were written before the destruction of the Temple, that Matthew was written within a decade of the crucixion.


20 posted on 12/16/2006 8:50:00 AM PST by RobbyS ( CHI)
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To: NYer
How many lapsed christians, listening to Christmas carols on the radio, have had their hearts stirred and contemplate returning to Church on Christmas day. Programs such as this are intended to lead the weak, astray. They continue down a path of diabolical darkness towards the total loss of their souls. May God have mercy on them!

**************

That's an excellent point. I would never have thought of it, but it makes sense.

21 posted on 12/16/2006 8:52:10 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: kosta50

--There is a small, but concerted and well organized, well financed, persistent and aggressive cabal of influential organizations and individuals (Soros, Elaine Pagels & al, etc.) which have unceasingly been on the forefront of Christ-bashing through books, and especially several TV channels (Discovery, National Geographic, History, etc.), that can be commonly called the Satanic Network, with Lucifer at its undisputed CEO.

/place tongue in cheek

Someone needs to update the bio of Lucifer on Wikipedia. Absolutely NOTHING there on this...

/remove tongue from cheek

:o)


22 posted on 12/16/2006 9:11:47 AM PST by Ottofire (O great God of highest heaven, Glorify Your Name through me)
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To: Kolokotronis

--"The desire to rule is the mother of heresies." +John Chrysostomos

/replaces tongue in cheek

Now then! I didn't think you would ever quote the great Reformer J. Chrysotomos! Now the RCCers are going to start calling you an Anti-Catholic.

/again removes tongue from cheek

:o)


23 posted on 12/16/2006 9:15:24 AM PST by Ottofire (O great God of highest heaven, Glorify Your Name through me)
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To: kittymyrib
I think you're wrong. I think deep down the militant atheists see Christianity as the biggest threat to their materialistic world view. Look at how everyone and their mother tried to associate themselves with Jesus in order to gain legitimacy for their world-views. Look at the Gnostics (they attached themselves to Jesus so fast, the early Church was taken by surprise by it), look at Mani (the "Prophet" of Babylon), look at muhammed (the miracles ascribed to Jesus in the koran are stupendous, he easily could have left Jesus out of the koran in order to win Jewish converts but he didn't'), I can go on but what's the point? Christianity also has events/icons associated with it that are pretty hard to explain away even with the current advances in science : the Shroud of Turin (Jesus' burial cloth), Jesus' prophecy/curse about the Temple Mount (read ancient records - Pagan, Christian, AND Jewish about the hell that broke loose when the Jews tried to rebuild the Temple under the reign of Julian), and other events that elude me now. It's fear, that's why they "pick" on Christianity. Any other religion would have crumbled under the onslaught.
24 posted on 12/16/2006 9:56:54 AM PST by John Philoponus
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To: kosta50

Yes, I recall this faux Gospel story first appeared like a week before Easter. Withoubt doubt, it's calculated.


25 posted on 12/16/2006 11:48:21 AM PST by right-wingin_It
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To: trisham

There are folks who beleive Jesus was a cool Hippy who profess to be Christian.


26 posted on 12/17/2006 9:14:32 PM PST by kawaii
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To: kosta50; NYer; Kolokotronis; Agrarian; kawaii; bornacatholic; annalex; jo kus; Petrosius; ...
There is a small, but concerted and well organized, well financed, persistent and aggressive cabal of influential organizations and individuals (Soros, Elaine Pagels & al, etc.) which have unceasingly been on the forefront of Christ-bashing through books, and especially several TV channels (Discovery, National Geographic, History, etc.), that can be commonly called the Satanic Network, with Lucifer at its undisputed CEO.

Just last night I saw a Jesus program on the Biography channel. In it was a "scholar" who said that Jesus must have been married because it would have been His duty as a good Jew, and since the Bible didn't specifically say He wasn't married, then He must have been. He said that the wedding at Cana was Christ's own. Just unbelievable.

27 posted on 12/19/2006 7:55:06 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper; kosta50; NYer; Kolokotronis; Agrarian; kawaii; bornacatholic; annalex; jo kus; ...
Why is Jesus marrying an outrageous idea? If He wasn't married, wouldn't that make Him a sinner for Fathering a Daughter out of wedlock?

Scriputre quotes Him as calling a young woman DAUGHTER

Besides a Father, who calls a young woman "Daughter?

Nobody.

OBVIOUSLY, Jesus has a Daughter. He identifed her as such.

And Jesus said: Somebody hath touched me; for I know that virtue is gone out from me. And the woman seeing that she was not hid, came trembling, and fell down before his feet, and declared before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was immediately healed. But he said to her: Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go thy way in peace

* Daughter Scriputre doesn't lie

Sola Scriptura, baby (so to speak)

28 posted on 12/19/2006 1:02:17 PM PST by bornacatholic
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To: bornacatholic
And the fact he said "virtue has gone out of me" is an obvious confession.

Sola Scriptura. The Sole Rule of Faith tells us Jesus fathered a Daughter and that virtue went out of Him...

Any yet how many Christians say "Jesus did not lack virtue" or "Jesus was not married" or "Jesus had no children" when we can see the plain words of Scripture telling us otherwise...

29 posted on 12/19/2006 1:06:16 PM PST by bornacatholic
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To: bornacatholic
Sola Scriptura, baby

************

LOL!

30 posted on 12/19/2006 1:08:58 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: bornacatholic; kosta50; NYer; Kolokotronis; Agrarian; kawaii; annalex; jo kus; Petrosius; ...
Scripture quotes Him as calling a young woman DAUGHTER. Besides a Father, who calls a young woman "Daughter? Nobody. OBVIOUSLY, Jesus has a Daughter. He identified her as such.

I know this is not your argument, nor that of the Church. But neither is it an argument supported by Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura does NOT say to take every single word in the Bible only in its most literal sense. If it did, then the Bible would contradict itself all over the place. Rather, it says to evaluate every teaching in light of the Spirit's leading, other relevant scripture, and the reason God gave us. Those all work together. Having a secret daughter of Jesus pop up in that one verse and then go away forever defies both other relevant scripture and all reason. Therefore, Sola Scriptura rejects that idea.

31 posted on 12/23/2006 4:05:50 PM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper; bornacatholic; adiaireton8
Sola Scriptura does NOT say to take every single word in the Bible only in its most literal sense. If it did, then the Bible would contradict itself all over the place. Rather, it says to evaluate every teaching in light of the Spirit's leading, other relevant scripture, and the reason God gave us.

That sounds reasonable (no pun intended), but Christ stated that the Church, not Scripture should be the final authority:  "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:17 ) Christ did not state to refer to or consult Scripture for disputes and correction.  He said to go to the Church as It is the final authority in Christianity.  In addition, St. Paul states that the Church, not Scripture is "THE pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)  Since the Church alone is mentioned as the pillar of truth, then It alone has the right to discern the truth and interpret Scripture. Scripture is pretty straightforward about the Church's role in salvation, Its authority and Its organization.  It's all a matter of deductive reasoning, correct interpretation and pure logic.

32 posted on 12/23/2006 4:29:03 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: Forest Keeper

ones own spirit is prone to sin in need of saving and incapable of unbiased discernment. that's why StPaul insists folks should not prophesize in a vacum but with others evaluating them.


33 posted on 12/23/2006 4:44:02 PM PST by kawaii
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To: NYer

indeed. christ gave the apostles the ability to bind and loose NOT a handful of letters and books rolled together with personal discernment


34 posted on 12/23/2006 4:51:45 PM PST by kawaii
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To: NYer
We jut finished up decorating the Parish Church for Christmas.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

35 posted on 12/23/2006 4:55:06 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: Forest Keeper

according to your own definition of sola scriptura one person can interpret that as no evidence for a daughter and the other as perfect evidence as each of their personal spirits (which are prone to sin and need Christ to be saved) and each are 100percent valid.


36 posted on 12/23/2006 4:55:07 PM PST by kawaii
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To: NYer

The definition of "church" is in question here as well.


37 posted on 12/23/2006 6:21:28 PM PST by Blogger
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To: NYer

I've read some of this
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancyjames-mrjames.html

I don't see much on Jesus youth at all, let alone him killing boys, or turning toys into creatures.


38 posted on 12/23/2006 7:14:53 PM PST by kawaii
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To: Forest Keeper
sola scriptura has a definition? Please post it

And then, cite where it appears in Scripture

39 posted on 12/24/2006 5:24:47 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: NYer; bornacatholic; adiaireton8; kawaii; Kolokotronis; Blogger; HarleyD; Dr. Eckleburg; ...
FK: "Rather, [Sola Scriptura] says to evaluate every teaching in light of the Spirit's leading, other relevant scripture, and the reason God gave us."

That sounds reasonable (no pun intended), but Christ stated that the Church, not Scripture should be the final authority: "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:17 )

Your quote doesn't say anything about the scripture as authority (or not), it only mentions the Church. "The Church" means different things to different people. :) IMO, 2 Tim. 3:16-17 talks about scripture as final authority. If the Church is following the scripture, then the results should be the same. In the OT, the equivalent of "the Church" frequently did not follow the scripture.

Christ did not state to refer to or consult Scripture for disputes and correction. He said to go to the Church as It is the final authority in Christianity.

What? :) In the same book of Matthew you quote from Jesus says this:

Matt. 5:18 : I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

"The Law" was written down, it was scripture. In addition, Jesus quoted from other scripture as AUTHORITY all the time, even to satan's face. In fact, that's all He said to satan. It sounds to me that Jesus thought scripture was pretty authoritative. Why else would He quote from it instead of using His own words as often as He did?

Also note that in the Matthew passage you cite, it says that THE LAST PLACE YOU SHOULD GO WITH A DISPUTE IS THE CHURCH. If one faithful man could point out a scriptural teaching, oral or written, if he had it, to another faithful man, then that was the preferred way of handling it. That tells me that the appeal was to the wisdom of local clerics. In many cases I'm sure that worked fine, but not in all cases, since there have been unworthy clergy from all time. I can't believe Christ meant for us to follow unfaithful clergy if their views contradicted scripture. That is what would result if Christ meant: "just do whatever your local priest says, under any circumstances".

Since the Church alone is mentioned as the pillar of truth [per 1 Tim. 3:15], then It alone has the right to discern the truth and interpret Scripture.

Again, it depends on who "the Church" is. But even if it was the RCC, then that puts your hierarchs ahead of scripture itself, because they would not allow scripture to interpret itself, as we contend. However, no RC has ever admitted to me to holding this view. I do not understand how a hierarchy of men can say they have 100% power over the meaning of every verse in a book, and then say that their authority is no higher than the book. That seems very contradictory to me.

Scripture is pretty straightforward about the Church's role in salvation, Its authority and Its organization. It's all a matter of deductive reasoning, correct interpretation and pure logic.

I couldn't agree more. :) When we add in the entirety of scripture, this describes Sola Scriptura.

40 posted on 12/30/2006 5:13:36 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: kawaii
One's own spirit is prone to sin in need of saving and incapable of unbiased discernment. that's why St. Paul insists folks should not prophesize in a vacuum but with others evaluating them.

If I am following you correctly, then I agree generally. Sola Scriptura has nothing against learning from and teaching to ... others. The point is just that both are done faithfully and in accordance with scripture.

41 posted on 12/30/2006 5:26:20 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: kawaii
According to your own definition of sola scriptura one person can interpret that as no evidence for a daughter and the other as perfect evidence as each of their personal spirits (which are prone to sin and need Christ to be saved) and each are 100 percent valid.

I would have to ask you to refresh my memory on my discussion of "personal spirits". What I have said elsewhere is that the Holy Spirit does lead all believers, but not necessarily at the same rate. Sanctification is a life-long process, and I am not inclined to think that any one of us gets "all of it" while we are here. I think some people are intended to get more than others, hence one result is that we have our human spiritual leaders, in every Christian faith.

By no means is every believer's current understanding valid on a particular thing. Even while saved, I have changed my views on some things. I think that just makes me like everyone else.

If someone wanted to seriously argue with me that scripture teaches that Christ had children, then I would use Sola Scriptura to pummel him into the ground. It would be simple. If that person still didn't agree, then he could not follow Sola Scriptura. In THIS CASE, the result would be simple and clear. I do not claim it is so in every case. I do disagree on some points with others who faithfully follow Sola Scriptura. That is the Spirit working on us in different ways. I am sure I am wrong on some of those points.

42 posted on 12/30/2006 5:49:07 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: bornacatholic
Sola scriptura has a definition? Please post it And then, cite where it appears in Scripture.

I've seen several definitions of it, some I like better than others. I don't think there is any one that is "official". The elements I always look for are that the scriptures are the one and final authority in Christianity, that if something is not in scripture doesn't make it false, it just makes it non-authoritative in an ultimate sense, and finally, that truths consistent with Sola Scriptura may be logically deduced from scripture when they are not explicitly stated. One definition I kind of like (with scriptural references) is in 1.6 of the Westminster Confession:

6) The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation faith, and life, is either expressly set down in the scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from the scripture: to which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. 2Ti 3:15-17 Ga 1:8,9 2Th 2:2. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word; Joh 6:45 1Co 2:9-12, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed. 1Co 11:13,14 14:26,40.

43 posted on 12/30/2006 6:20:17 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper; NYer; bornacatholic; adiaireton8; kawaii; wmfights; Blogger; HarleyD; ...

"Again, it depends on who "the Church" is."

FK, we have a definition of The Church from the 1st century, from the disciple of +John and successor of Peter as bishop of Antioch:

"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid."

FK: "But even if it was the RCC, then that puts your hierarchs ahead of scripture itself, because they would not allow scripture to interpret itself, as we contend. However, no RC has ever admitted to me to holding this view. I do not understand how a hierarchy of men can say they have 100% power over the meaning of every verse in a book, and then say that their authority is no higher than the book. That seems very contradictory to me."

If the fullness of The Church universal is found in a single diocese made up of a bishop in the Apostolic Succession, his clergy and the People of God centered on the Eucharist (which would clearly leave out Protestant ecclesial assemblies) as +Ignatius would have us believe, then it is clear that the "power" to interpret scripture properly and declare its true meaning infallibly belongs to The Church and not to any individual priest, hierarch or lay person or for that matter anything less than all of these groups together. In this sense, at least so far as Orthodoxy is concerned, the Latin Church gradually got it wrong as its ecclesiology became increasingly monarchial and less synergistic. It is interesting, both historically and theologically, to note that the Church of Rome was the great fount of Orthodoxy for the first 1000 years of The Church. It was only when this monarchial mentality reached the point where Rome presumed, in the person of the pope, to change the Creed with the addition of the filioque, something which it had refused for centuries to do, and then attempted to impose that innovation on The Church, that the rest of The Church said NO! That lead to the Great Schism where the pope's man purported to "excommunicate" the Pat. of Constantinople. Very soon thereafter, unfettered by the influence of the other Patriarchates, the Dictatus Papae appeared which speaks volumes about the mindset which had developed in the Roman Church. It was pretty much downhill from there with the Protestant Reformation being the result. The early reformers, as you know, held on to many of the Holy Traditions of The Church, as the Nativity thread demonstarted, but gradually, in an effort to be "not Roman Catholic", protestantism devolved into a confused babble of contending, very personal, very individual interpretations of what God really intended for us when He created us and how we get there. In the meantime, the Roman Church became increasingly legalistic and, dare I say the word, oppressive, though it certainly is and always has been part of The Church because it is impossible for it to ever have been otherwise. The fact that its popes or local councils may have promulgated error doesn't change that any more than from a Roman point of view, Orthodoxy's refusal to accept as dogmatic Rome's post schism (or for that matter the pre schism local council or sua sponte papal)pronouncements means the Orthodox Churches are not part of The Church.

The point of this whole screed is that, as you said, the proper definition of The Church is the sine qua non of any understanding of how we come to, as best we can, know and understand The Truth. It comes from The Church, FK, and I must say that as the various protestant ecclesial assemblies do not meet the definition of The Church (in fact, most of them very nicely fit the definition of heretical assemblies found in +Ignatius' letters), the whole idea that by a faithful adherence to sola scriptura any individual can properly and definitively interpret scripture is merely a cover for not being in The Church.

As BAC pointed out, I believe on another thread, this is not to say that the faithful average well meaning Protestant is even conscious of this. But the fact of the matter is that sola scriptura, the result of which is an ever changing idea of what God's purpose for us (all of us? some of us?) is and how that happens and when it happens, keeps Protestants from living the fullness of The Faith which is found ONLY in The Church.


44 posted on 12/30/2006 6:33:02 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Forest Keeper

Christ gave the aposltes authority to bind and loose its the only time anything like authority is mentioned by Christ. If hed meant that only those who correctly interpret scripture could come into the church hed have told the apostles that hed given them scripture which had the sbility to bind and loose not that they themselves possed that authority


45 posted on 12/30/2006 7:31:15 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Forest Keeper; NYer; bornacatholic; adiaireton8; kawaii; Kolokotronis; Blogger; HarleyD; ...
When we add in the entirety of scripture, this describes Sola Scriptura.

The answer is always in Scripture.

Col. 2:8 "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ."

Any sect that believes in Sola Scriptura believes in the equality of the believers.

46 posted on 12/30/2006 9:26:55 AM PST by wmfights (LUKE 9:49-50 , MARK 9:38-41)
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To: wmfights

"Any sect that believes in Sola Scriptura believes in the equality of the believers."

So far as I know, all Christians believe in the basic equality of all believers. That doesn't mean that my interpretation of scripture is as good as the next guy's. In fact, my interpretation is worthless except as a part of The Church and in fulfillment of my role as a layperson in The Church. The equality of all believers is manifested in the availability to all of a definitive exposition of what we are to believe as members of The Church.


47 posted on 12/30/2006 9:33:25 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
In fact, my interpretation is worthless except as a part of The Church and in fulfillment of my role as a layperson in The Church.

You have illustrated my point. I think it is less so in the EOC than the RCC, but the power of interpretation is only one example of how the patrone hierarchy of the prevailing culture affected both of your sects.

48 posted on 12/30/2006 9:42:02 AM PST by wmfights (LUKE 9:49-50 , MARK 9:38-41)
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To: wmfights

"You have illustrated my point. I think it is less so in the EOC than the RCC, but the power of interpretation is only one example of how the patrone hierarchy of the prevailing culture affected both of your sects."

WF, why do you believe the canon of the NT is in fact the correct and complete canon? The NT doesn't tell you that.


49 posted on 12/30/2006 9:47:05 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: wmfights

the orthodox are all for personal interpretation: by people who went to school to learn how to read the classical languages, who've proven themselves as priests, who have college level work in interpreting the meaning of the languages scripture is written. I could guess what stock is good too or I could poll the experts combine that with my own interpretations and avoid peril of playing fast and loose


50 posted on 12/30/2006 10:20:19 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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