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Why Evangelicals are Returning to Rome
CIC ^ | April 2008 | Bob DeWaay

Posted on 05/02/2008 2:09:51 PM PDT by Augustinian monk

Why Evangelicals are Returning to Rome

The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle

By Bob DeWaay

The February 2008 edition of Christianity Today ran a cover story about evangelicals looking to the ancient Roman Catholic Church in order to find beliefs and practices.1 What was shocking about the article was that both the author of the article and the senior managing editor of CT claim that this trip back to Rome is a good thing. Says Mark Galli the editor, “While the ancient church has captivated the evangelical imagination for some time, it hasn’t been until recently that it’s become an accepted fixture of the evangelical landscape. And this is for the good.”2 Chris Armstrong, the author of the article who promotes the trip back to the ancient church, claims that because the movement is led by such persons as “Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and living and practicing monks and nuns,” that therefore, “they are receiving good guidance on this road from wise teachers.” This he claims shows that, “Christ is guiding the process.”3

Apparently, contemporary evangelicals have forgotten that sola scriptura (scripture alone) was the formal principle of the Reformation. Teachings and practices that could not be justified from Scripture were rejected on that principle. To endorse a trip back to these practices of ancient Roman Catholicism is to reject the principle of sola scriptura being the normative authority for the beliefs and practices of the church. In this article I will explore how modern evangelicalism has compromised the principle of sola scriptura and thus paved smoothly the road back to Rome.

New “Reformations” Compromise Sola Scriptura

Today at least three large movements within Protestantism claim to be new “reformations.” If we examine them closely we will find evidence that sola scriptura has been abandoned as a governing principle—if not formally, at least in practice. To have a new reformation requires the repudiation of the old Reformation. That in turn requires the repudiation of the formal principle of the Reformation. That’s where we’ll begin.

Robert Schuller and Rick Warren In 1982, Robert Schuller issued a call for a new Reformation with the publication of his book, Self Esteem: The New Reformation.4 Schuller issued this fervent call: “Without a new theological reformation, the Christian church as the authentic body of Christ may not survive.”5 He was apparently aware that his reformation was of a different type than the original: “Where the sixteenth-century Reformation returned our focus to sacred Scriptures as the only infallible rule for faith and practice, the new reformation will return our focus to the sacred right of every person to self-esteem! The fact is, the church will never succeed until it satisfies the human being’s hunger for self-value.”6 The problem is that Schuller based much of his self-esteem teaching on psychological theory and did not provide a rigorous Biblical defense of the idea. Thus his reformation was a de facto denial of the Reformation principle of Scripture alone.

For example, Schuller criticized the Reformation for a faulty doctrine of sin: “Reformation theology failed to make clear that the core of sin is a lack of self-esteem.”7 But Schuller does not discuss the many verses in the Bible that define sin. For example: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1John 3:4). It is not hard to see that Schuller’s reformation constituted the abandonment of sola scriptura as a formal principle.8

In one sense, since Schuller’s call for a reformation based on self-esteem was made 26 years ago, one could argue that it never happened. Of course the idea of self-esteem is still around and taught by many evangelicals, but it never became the one key idea of the church. In another sense, however, Schuller’s reformation was broadened and transferred to others. In 2005 Schuller claimed the following as noted alumni of his institute: Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, Bishop Charles Blake, Rick Warren, Walt Kallestad, and Kirbyjon Caldwell. Bill Hybels himself credited Robert Schuller as a key person who influenced his ideas.9 Though Rick Warren disputes Schuller’s influence on his theology, he has carried forward Schuller’s idea of creating a church that meets people’s felt needs and thus attracts them.

But what interests us here is that Warren is now proposing yet another reformation:

And we've actually created what we call clinic-in-a-box, business-in-a-box, church-in-a-box, and we are using normal people, volunteers. When Jesus sent the disciples – this will be my last point – when Jesus sent the disciples into a village he said, “Find the man of peace.” And he said, “When you find the man of peace you start working with that person, and if they respond to you, you work with them. If they don't, you dust the dust off your shoes; you go to the next village.” Who's the man of peace in any village – or it might be a woman of peace – who has the most respect, they're open and they're influential? They don't have to be a Christian. In fact, they could be a Muslim, but they're open and they're influential and you work with them to attack the five giants. And that's going to bring the second Reformation.10

The problem is that solving the world’s five greatest problems as Warren defines them11 using anyone willing to help regardless of religion, cannot be justified on Biblical grounds. If sola scriptura were the formal principle in Warren’s theology, then he would provide vigorous, Biblical analysis using sound exegesis to ground his reformation on the authority of Scripture. But his teachings and public statements are not characterized by sound Biblical exegesis.

As I documented in my book on the Purpose Driven Movement, Warren’s reformation compromises sola scriptura in many significant ways.12These include the use of loose paraphrases that go so far as to change the meaning of various passages, the integration of unbiblical, human wisdom, serious misinterpretation of Scripture, and an unbiblical philosophy of ministry. Warren has an orthodox statement about the authority of Scripture on his church Web site. In fact, most evangelicals other than those who convert to Roman Catholicism do not overtly reject Scripture alone. But is it practiced?13

There is reason to believe that Warren’s reformation is the continuation of Schuller’s in a modified form. Warren has made finding one’s purpose the lynchpin of his teachings and practices. Finding purpose may not be identical to finding self esteem, but the idea is at least a first cousin. Also, both concepts derive their power from outside Scripture.

C. Peter Wagner

Another proposed reformation of the church is C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation. As I argued in a recent CIC article,14 Wagner sees the presence of apostles who speak authoritatively for God as the key to the church fulfilling her role in the world. He even speaks approvingly of the “apostles” of the Roman Catholic Church. Wagner and the thousands of apostles and prophets in his movement have shown as little regard for sola scriptura as any non Roman Catholic Christian group apart from the Quakers. So their reformation is a de facto repudiation of the Reformation. Their writings and messages show little or no concern for sound, systematic Biblical exegesis. If they were to adopt sola scriptura as a formal principle and rigorously use it to judge their own teachings and practices, their movement would immediately come to an end.

The Emergent Church

The third (if we count Warren’s reformation as a current replacement for Schuller’s) proposed reformation is that of the Emergent Church. In their case sola scriptura dies a thousand deaths. As we saw in the previous issue of CIC, Rob Bell denies it using the same arguments that Roman Catholics have used. The Emergent Church and its postmodern theology is noteworthy for being a non-Catholic version of Christianity that forthrightly assaults the type of use of the Bible that characterizes those who hold sola scriptura as the formal principle of their theology. The Emergent Church adherents reject systematic theology, and thus make using the principle impossible. For example, defending the doctrine of the Trinity using Scripture requires being systematic. I have read many Emergent/postmodern books as I write a new book, and each of them attacks systematic theology in some way.

The Emergent Reformation rests on the denial of the validity of foundationalism. Gone are the days when Christians debated the relative merits of evidential and presuppositional apologetics—debates based on the need for a foundation for one’s theology. Either one started with evidence for the authority of Scripture and then used the Bible as the foundation of one’s theology; or one presupposed the Bible as the inerrant foundation. But today both approaches are mocked for their supposed naïveté. To think that one can know what the Bible means in a non-relativistic way is considered a throwback to now dead “modernity.” The Emergent mantra concerning the Bible is “we cannot know, we cannot know, we cannot know.” Furthermore, in their thinking, it is a sign of arrogance to claim to know. For the postmodern theologian, sola scriptura is as dead and buried as a fossilized relic of bygone days.

So the Protestant (if the term even means anything today) world is characterized by reformations that have either rejected or compromised sola scriptura as the formal principle for their theology. No wonder few voices of concern are raised at Christianity Today’s proposed trip back to Rome to find beliefs and practices. Once sola scriptura has been rejected, there remain few reasons not to go back to Rome. If religious traditions can be considered normative, then why not embrace those with the longest history?

Dallas Willard Leads Us Back to Rome

The cover of the CT article reads, “Lost Secrets of the Ancient Church.” It shows a person with a shovel digging up a Catholic icon. What are these secrets? Besides icons, lectio divina and monasticism are mentioned. Dallas Willard, who is mentioned as a reliable guide for this process, has long directed Christians to monastic practices that he himself admits are not taught in the Bible.15 Willard pioneered the rejection of sola scriptura in practice on the grounds that churches following it are failures. He writes, “All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result. But whose fault was this failure?”16 The “failure,” according to Willard is that, “. . . the gospel preached and the instruction and example given these faithful ones simply do not do justice to the nature of human personality, as embodied, incarnate.”17 So what does this mean? It means that we have failed because our gospel had too little to do with our bodies.

The remedy for “failure” says Willard is to find practices in church history that are proven to work. But are these practices taught in the Bible? Willard admits that they are not by using an argument from silence, based on the phrase “exercise unto godliness” in 1Timothy 4:7. Here is Willard’s interpretation:

“Or [the possibility the phrase was imprecise] does it indicate a precise course of action he [Paul] understood in definite terms, carefully followed himself, and called others to share? Of course it was the latter. So obviously so, for him and the readers of his own day, that he would feel no need to write a book on the disciplines of the spiritual life that explained systematically what he had in mind.”18

But what does this do to sola scriptura? It negates it. In Willard’s theology, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Biblical writers, forgot to inspire them to write about spiritual disciplines that all Christians need. If this is the case, then we need spiritual practices that were never prescribed in the Bible to obtain godliness.

Having determined the insufficiency of Scripture, Willard looks to human potential through tapping into spiritual powers: “It is the amazing extent of our ability to utilize power outside ourselves that we must consider when we ask what the human being is. The limits of our power to transcend ourselves utilizing powers not located in us—including of course, the spiritual—are yet to be fully known.”19 So evidently our spirituality is to be discovered by various means that are not revealed by God in the Bible.

If the Bible is insufficient in regard to the spiritual practices that we need in order to become sanctified, where do we find them? Here is Willard’s solution: “Practicing a range of activities that have proven track records across the centuries will keep us from erring.”20 This, of course leads us back to Rome. Catholic mystics spent centuries experimenting with spiritual practices without regard to the Biblical justification for such practices. If evangelicals are going to join them in rejecting Scripture alone, AGAIN they might as well not reinvent the wheel—go to the masters of mystical asceticism.

Willard admires the monastics and suggests that solitude is one of the most important disciplines. He says, “This factual priority of solitude is, I believe, a sound element in monastic asceticism. Locked into interaction with the human beings that make up our fallen world, it is all but impossible to grow in grace as one should.”21 If it is impossible to grow in grace without solitude, why are we not informed of this fact by the Biblical writers? In Willard’s mind sola scriptura is a false idea, so therefore God failed to reveal to us the most important way to grow in grace! Willard says that solitude is most important even while admitting that it is dangerous:

But solitude, like all the disciplines of the spirit, carries its risks. In solitude, we confront our own soul with its obscure forces and conflicts that escape our attention when we are interacting with others. Thus, [quoting Louis Bouyer] “Solitude is a terrible trial, for it serves to crack open and bust apart the shell of our superficial securities. It opens out to us the unknown abyss that we all carry within us . . . and discloses the fact that these abysses are haunted.”22

This danger was shown by the early desert fathers, some of whom came under demonic torment in their solitude. Before following people whose practices are dangerous and not prescribed in the Bible, wouldn’t we be better off sticking to the safe ground of revealed truth?

Spirituality for the Unconverted

The fact is that the various ancient practices of the Roman Catholic Church were and are not unique to Christianity. The meditative techniques that make people feel closer to God work for those who do not even know God. Thomas Merton (who is recommended by Dallas Willard) went to the East to find spiritual practices. They work just as well for those who do not know Christ, probably better. Many ancient Roman Catholic practices were invented at times when many illiterate pagans were ushered into the church, sometimes at the point of a sword. Those pagans were not exactly the type to search the Scriptures daily in order to find the things of God.

But why are literate American Christians running away from sola scriptura at a time when searching the Scriptures (especially using computer technology) has never been easier? On this point I am offering my opinion, but there is good evidence for it. I believe that the lack of gospel preaching has allowed churches to fill up with the unregenerate. The unregenerate are not like “newborn babes who long for the pure milk of the word” (1Peter 2:2). Those who have never received saving grace cannot grow by the means of grace. Those who are unconverted have not drawn near to God through the blood of Christ. But with mysticism, it is possible to feel near to God when one is far from Him. Furthermore, the unconverted have no means of sanctification because they do not have the imputed righteousness of Christ as their starting point and eternal standing. So they end up looking for man-made processes to engineer change through human works because they have nothing else.

Those who feel empty because of the “pragmatic promises of the church-growth movement” as the CT article calls them, may need something far more fundamental than ancient, Catholic, ascetic practices. They may very well need to repent and believe the gospel. Those who are born of the Spirit will find that this passage is true: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2Peter 1:3).

Conclusion

Perhaps the best antidote to rejecting sola scriptura and going back to Rome would be a careful study of the Book of Hebrews. It describes a situation that is analogous to that which evangelicals face today. The Hebrew Christians were considering going back to temple Judaism. Their reasons can be discerned by the admonitions and warnings in Hebrews. The key problem for them was the tangibility of the temple system, and the invisibility of the Christian faith. Just about everything that was offered to them by Christianity was invisible: the High Priest in heaven, the tabernacle in heaven, the once for all shed blood, and the throne of grace. At the end of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews points out that they have come to something better than mount Sinai: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24). All of these things are invisible.

But the life of faith does not require tangible visibility: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Roman Catholic Church has tangibility that is unmatched by the evangelical faith, just as temple Judaism had. Why have faith in the once-for-all shed blood of Christ that is unseen when you can have real blood (that of the animals for temple Judaism and the Eucharistic Christ of Catholicism)? Why have the scriptures of the Biblical apostles and prophets who are now in heaven when you can have a real, live apostle and his teaching Magisterium who can continue to speak for God? The similarities to the situation described in Hebrews are striking. Why have only the Scriptures and the other means of grace when the Roman Church has everything from icons to relics to cathedrals to holy water and so many other tangible religious articles and experiences?

I urge my fellow evangelicals to seriously consider the consequences of rejecting sola scriptura as the formal principle of our theology. If my Hebrews analogy is correct, such a rejection is tantamount to apostasy.

Issue 105 - March / April 2008

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

End Notes

Chris Armstong, “The Future lies in the Past” in Christianity Today, February 2008. I wrote a critique of Armstrong’s article here: http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/3174/Bob_DeWaay Mark Galli, “Ancient-Future People” in Christianity Today February 2008, 7. Armstrong, 24. Robert H. Schuller, Self Esteem The New Reformation, (Waco: Word, 1982). Ibid. 25. Ibid. 38. Ibid. 98. I wrote an article some years ago about Schuller’s self-esteem reformation: Robert Schuller, Your Church as a Fantastic Future, (Ventura: Regal Books, 1986) On pages 227, 228 Hybels testifies of Schuller’s influence. http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80 page 16. [Accessed 8/27/2005] The five are spiritual darkness, lack of servant leaders, poverty, disease, and ignorance. Bob DeWaay, Redefining Christianity—Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement, (21st Century Press: Springfield, MO, 2006). My claim is that sola scriptura no longer serves as the formal principle of their theology in practice. This is seen whenever important religious claims (such as the need for a reformation) are not accompanied by rigorous, systematic, Biblical exegesis on the topic at hand. I say that because by implication, Scripture alone means that beliefs and practices are normative if—and only if—they can be shown to be Biblical. Binding and loosing have to be in accordance with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Warren’s practice belies his statement of faith.

http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue103.htm I critique Dallas Willard’s theology as taught in his popular book The Spirit of the Disciplines in CIC Issue 91: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue91.htm Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Understanding How God Changes Lives, (HarperCollins: New York, 1991). 18. Ibid. emphasis his. Ibid. 95. Ibid. 62. Ibid. 158. Ibid. 162. Ibid. 161.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; evangelicals; rome
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1 posted on 05/02/2008 2:09:52 PM PDT by Augustinian monk
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Sola Scriptura Ping!


2 posted on 05/02/2008 2:10:55 PM PDT by Augustinian monk (You going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?- Jose Wales)
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To: Augustinian monk
I urge my fellow evangelicals to seriously consider the consequences of rejecting sola scriptura as the formal principle of our theology. If my Hebrews analogy is correct, such a rejection is tantamount to apostasy.

Apostasy to whom?

Luther?

Zwingli?

Cauvin?

3 posted on 05/02/2008 2:11:43 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: ArrogantBustard; Mad Dawg; NYer; Campion; Titanites; pgyanke; stfassisi
But why are literate American Christians running away from sola scriptura at a time when searching the Scriptures (especially using computer technology) has never been easier?

The question answers itself.

Literate American Christians are running away from sola scriptura because searching the Scriptures (especially using computer technology) has never been easier.


4 posted on 05/02/2008 2:19:00 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: Augustinian monk; drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; ...
AMEN!

Perhaps the best antidote to rejecting sola scriptura and going back to Rome would be a careful study of the Book of Hebrews. It describes a situation that is analogous to that which evangelicals face today. The Hebrew Christians were considering going back to temple Judaism. Their reasons can be discerned by the admonitions and warnings in Hebrews. The key problem for them was the tangibility of the temple system, and the invisibility of the Christian faith. Just about everything that was offered to them by Christianity was invisible: the High Priest in heaven, the tabernacle in heaven, the once for all shed blood, and the throne of grace. At the end of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews points out that they have come to something better than mount Sinai: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24). All of these things are invisible.

But the life of faith does not require tangible visibility: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Roman Catholic Church has tangibility that is unmatched by the evangelical faith, just as temple Judaism had. Why have faith in the once-for-all shed blood of Christ that is unseen when you can have real blood (that of the animals for temple Judaism and the Eucharistic Christ of Catholicism)? Why have the scriptures of the Biblical apostles and prophets who are now in heaven when you can have a real, live apostle and his teaching Magisterium who can continue to speak for God? The similarities to the situation described in Hebrews are striking. Why have only the Scriptures and the other means of grace when the Roman Church has everything from icons to relics to cathedrals to holy water and so many other tangible religious articles and experiences?

I urge my fellow evangelicals to seriously consider the consequences of rejecting sola scriptura as the formal principle of our theology. If my Hebrews analogy is correct, such a rejection is tantamount to apostasy.

5 posted on 05/02/2008 2:19:22 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: ears_to_hear

ping


6 posted on 05/02/2008 2:20:00 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Augustinian monk

Briefer answer:

Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly
(Proverbs 26:11)


7 posted on 05/02/2008 2:21:49 PM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Augustinian monk
Some Protestants convert to Catholicism and some Catholics convert to Protestantism. :::shrug:::

It should be all about the Lord either way.

8 posted on 05/02/2008 2:22:57 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall cause you to vote against the Democrats.)
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To: Augustinian monk

Speaking as a Presbyterian (more of a free-agent Protestant), I find the idea of sola scriptura a bit lacking.

First, it was the Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church that closed the scriptures in the first place. To uphold the idea of sola scriptura is at once a rebuke of and validation of the Catholic Church.

Second, the idea of sola scriptura essentially amounts to the belief that no revelation God could ever make short of the Second Coming is worthy of being recorded as anything more than history or theology. That seems a little suspect to me.

There are certain things that would lead me to stop short of becoming a Catholic, but there is a lot I admire in the Church and its approach. I also tend to refer to anyone not Catholic or Orthodox as a Protestant by default.


9 posted on 05/02/2008 2:25:51 PM PDT by CaspersGh0sts
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To: Petronski; Augustinian monk; Dr. Eckleburg

***Apostasy to whom?***

That would be apostasy from the truth and from Christ to a sad masquerade of the grace and glory salvation by grace.


10 posted on 05/02/2008 2:29:37 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: MarkBsnr; annalex

I know you’ll enjoy reading this.


11 posted on 05/02/2008 2:31:46 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: CaspersGh0sts

Next time Benny Hinn or Pat Robertson have a “revelation”, I’ll remind you to take notes.


12 posted on 05/02/2008 2:33:43 PM PDT by Augustinian monk (You going to pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?- Jose Wales)
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To: Lord_Calvinus
AMEN!

No king but Christ!

13 posted on 05/02/2008 2:35:17 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Augustinian monk

“Next time Benny Hinn or Pat Robertson have a “revelation”, I’ll remind you to take notes.”

Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson aren’t Catholics, are they? And that’s just the thing: without an organized body such as the Catholic Church, there is no scripture .

Indeed, the Gospels were a loosely assembled mish-mash of this or that. It was only after the Church decided upon which were historically correct and holy that the canonization took place.

Modern day Protestants are so eclectic and disorganized that they couldn’t decide on scripture, anyway.

But by revelation, I was thinking more in terms of sainthood, for instance.


14 posted on 05/02/2008 2:38:18 PM PDT by CaspersGh0sts
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To: Augustinian monk
If sola scriptura were the formal principle in Warren’s theology, then he would provide vigorous, Biblical analysis using sound exegesis to ground his reformation on the authority of Scripture. But his teachings and public statements are not characterized by sound Biblical exegesis.

The issue the author has with Warren, et al, is not that they don't practice sola scriptura, but rather, they don't practice it the way the author believes it should be practiced. Indeed, the author seems to adhere to the relatively recent invention of solo scriptura (a term, while arguably grammatically incorrect, coined by Protestants themselves, to describe the quandary they find themselves in today, to whit: the practice of using only the Bible to form doctrine, and no outside sources such as history, or traditional practices, OR accepting traditions and church leadership as long as they don't "violate Scripture"). This can be shown by a simple rewording of the author's statement above

If sola scriptura were the formal principle in Warren’s theology tradition of celebrating Christmas, then he would provide vigorous, Biblical analysis using sound exegesis to ground his reformation practice of celebrating Christmas on the authority of Scripture. But his teachings and public statements are not characterized by sound Biblical exegesis.

As we can see here, the author's statement can be used to "justify" rejecting all sorts of "extra Biblical practices", thus, falls under the category of solo scriptura. Again, the author is basically complaining that Warren et. al. don't have the same extra Biblical practices as he does. A complaint that ultimately falls flat on its face if its applied equally, fairly, to reject all extra Biblical practices and or traditions. The only counter argument to that is "Christmas is an old tradition, but Warren's practices aren't old, therefore shouldn't be equivocated to "traditions" like Christmas". A ludicrous rebuttal for what should be obvious reasons.

This is why, ultimately, I've rejected Protestantism in general. There seems to be no consensus about what the fundamental dogma of Protestantism (sola scriptura) means. Some believe as this author (apparently) believes, that "Anything not soundly shown in a positive state in Scripture should be rejected" (which is really solo scriptura), while others believe that there's a place for tradition and church leadership, but they are both subject to, what is eventually, personal interpretation of Scripture. (which is historic sola scriptura)

Why mess with a version of Christianity that can't even agree on their central dogma? I've been told that there's just as much dispute among Catholics/Orthodox as there is among Protestants, but I've found no evidence that there are disputes on dogma, like there are in the tens (if not 100's or 1000's) of Protestant denominations.

15 posted on 05/02/2008 2:40:27 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Lord_Calvinus

“That would be apostasy from the truth and from Christ to a sad masquerade of the grace and glory salvation by grace.”

So you are basicaly saying we Catholics aren’t Christians.
Whatever floats your boat big guy, but the last I checked we are just as much Christians as Baptists or what ever other Protestant denomination you want to name.


16 posted on 05/02/2008 2:41:29 PM PDT by sean327 (God created all men equal, then some become Marines!)
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To: Petronski

You say, “# Search the bible for sola scriptura
# Discover it’s NOT there”

The Lord says:

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.


17 posted on 05/02/2008 2:42:20 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: All

That’s strange, I don’t know why some of my post above appears in red font. It wasn’t intentional, for the record.


18 posted on 05/02/2008 2:43:00 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: CaspersGh0sts

***First, it was the Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church that closed the scriptures in the first place.***

Incorrect. It was the Holy Spirit that closed the canon of Scripture. The Church only acknowledge what God had already done. To declare the Church to have CLOSED the canon is to declare that MEN told God to shut up.

Yeah, right!!!

***To uphold the idea of sola scriptura is at once a rebuke of and validation of the Catholic Church.***

If you think that Sola Scriptura is a validation of the Catholic Church, then you have absolutely NO idea what Sola Scripture is. Sola Scriptura is a repudiation of the claim of the Catholic Church’s supremacy and infallibility.

***Second, the idea of sola scriptura essentially amounts to the belief that no revelation God could ever make short of the Second Coming is worthy of being recorded as anything more than history or theology. That seems a little suspect to me.***

Yeah, the canon of Scripture is closed. The Lord has ceased speaking in Special Revelation. If you deny that, then you deny the Westminster Confession of faith, the confession of we Presbyterians.

But, really, Sola Scriptura has nothing to do with whether or not God still speaks to men. If you wish to complain that no scripture is being written, then complain to the Catholics. You are the one who stated they closed them.

The Lord still speaks to me. I get “revelations” every day.

Perhaps, “free-agent” is a better description for you than Presbyterian.


19 posted on 05/02/2008 2:44:06 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

“AMEN!
No king but Christ!”

Amen and Amen! Viva Christo Rey!

As Pope Benedict16 teaches on Palm Sunday:

“Acclaiming Christ as King

Thus, the procession of the Palms is also a procession of Christ the King: we profess the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we recognize Jesus as the Son of David, the true Solomon, the King of peace and justice.

Recognizing him as King means accepting him as the One who shows us the way, in whom we trust and whom we follow. It means accepting his Word day after day as a valid criterion for our life. It means seeing in him the authority to which we submit. We submit to him because his authority is the authority of the truth.”

No King but Christ!


20 posted on 05/02/2008 2:44:20 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Augustinian monk

To come to the fullness of the Christian faith will bring incredible joy to so many sincere believers.

The Sacramental life along with the love of Scripture is a wonderful thing.

One can never plumb the depths of the Catholic faith for there is much mystery. Also 2000 years of church history.
So many wonderful writings and tradtions.

The journey home can be rough but the joy to be found is worth it all.


21 posted on 05/02/2008 2:44:49 PM PDT by magdalen
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg

So if you find someone trying to add to the Bible, warn them.


22 posted on 05/02/2008 2:45:42 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: Augustinian monk

23 posted on 05/02/2008 2:47:32 PM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made." Groucho Marx)
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To: Augustinian monk

I’m tired of holding the Host and Cup myself...should I return to Rome?


24 posted on 05/02/2008 2:48:12 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald ("We're going to drag that ship over the mountain.")
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Gawd, that’s great!


25 posted on 05/02/2008 2:48:36 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: sean327

***So you are basicaly saying we Catholics aren’t Christians.***

Actually, it would be more fair to say that the Catholic Chruch isn’t Christian: it is a masquerade of the truth. I have no doubt that heaven will be full of EX-Catholics, who renouced their Catholic beliefs the moment they beheld the true glory that is Christ.


26 posted on 05/02/2008 2:48:55 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Lord_Calvinus

” have no doubt that heaven will be full of EX-Catholics, who renouced their Catholic beliefs the moment they beheld the true glory that is Christ.”

So IOW you believe Catholics will go to hell?


27 posted on 05/02/2008 2:50:07 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Petronski

Which is what I do whenever someone touts the extra and un-Biblical RC doctrines and dogmas about the Eucharist, Mary, priests, salvation by works, world domination by the church, claiming to speak for God, etc. etc.


28 posted on 05/02/2008 2:50:37 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: Petronski

It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?


29 posted on 05/02/2008 2:52:40 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg

The Catholic Church is not adding those things to the Bible. You’re bearing false witness.


30 posted on 05/02/2008 2:54:55 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: OpusatFR

***So IOW you believe Catholics will go to hell?***

I’m sure hell will be full of Catholics, too. But, that is not what I said. I said that there will be people who renounced their Catholicism the moment they behold the glory of Christ. “IOW” there will be a lot of Catholics who went into the ground that woke up in heaven EX-Catholics.


31 posted on 05/02/2008 2:55:37 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: OpusatFR

It does. From the crisis, though, comes true change for the better.


32 posted on 05/02/2008 2:55:55 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: CaspersGh0sts
“.... the Gospels were a loosely assembled mish-mash of this or that...”

The Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania (name unrecalled) publicly stated, “the Bible was written by humans, it can be rewritten by humans.” - or words to that effect. There is a lot of theological garbage being thrown around these days.

33 posted on 05/02/2008 2:56:17 PM PDT by elpadre
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To: Augustinian monk
Perhaps the best antidote to rejecting sola scriptura and going back to Rome would be a careful study of the Book of Hebrews.

In this portion of the text, the author is arguing for the concept of an "invisible church" that is present today, apparently with no visible structure or hierarchy. All very well and good if the Bible only consisted of the Book of Hebrews, but it of course, does not.

Matt 5:14-16, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

The "church" (the body of believers) are to be a visible manifestation of Christ's work in them, for the world.

Eph 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"

We are exhorted to strive for UNITY, and not settle for division. (cf. Matt 12:25, 1 Cor 1:13) At no point are we told that it's "ok" to have division, and let that division stand, for the good of anyone. If there exists only an "invisible church", who exists IN this "invisible church" to settle matters of dogma? We certainly can't rely on the nebulous claim "The Holy Spirit guides me" to settle dogma, because it's too easy to claim that. Every Christian that has rejected church authority claims to "have the Holy Spirit". Indeed, not everyone who says "Lord Lord" finds favor with Christ.

34 posted on 05/02/2008 2:57:26 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Petronski; Manfred the Wonder Dawg

Hey, Manfred, Petronski doesn’t know the definition of “extra” Biblical.


35 posted on 05/02/2008 2:59:43 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Lord_Calvinus

Thank you for your personal interpretation.

I have 2000 years of Scripture and Tradition, the church fathers, the Apostles, saints and laity, not to mention the saints for mine, along with my own prayers.


36 posted on 05/02/2008 3:03:34 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Lord_Calvinus

Perhaps I don’t know YOUR definition of it. I do know THE definition of it.


37 posted on 05/02/2008 3:04:37 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: MEGoody

As long as it isn’t the new cult of Oprah.


38 posted on 05/02/2008 3:09:56 PM PDT by tbw2 ("Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" by Tamara Wilhite - on amazon.com)
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To: Petronski

“Reject the error and seek truth in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ”

No error and Christ founded the CHURCH, men founded the Catholic Church. Big difference.


39 posted on 05/02/2008 3:12:48 PM PDT by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: OpusatFR

***I have 2000 years of Scripture and Tradition, the church fathers, the Apostles, saints and laity, not to mention the saints for mine, along with my own prayers.***

Funny that you didn’t mention Christ when you put together your list for getting into heaven. I would think that would be the sole thing on a “list.” But, then I haven’t been taught that 2000 years of Scripture & Tradition are worthy of payment for getting into heaven.

BTW, I’ll see your 2000 years of Scripture and add a few thousand years more in my Bible. ;^)


40 posted on 05/02/2008 3:15:48 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: swmobuffalo
Christ founded the Catholic Church. Sola scriptura and sola fide, however, were made up by a rebellious, egotistical German monk.
41 posted on 05/02/2008 3:15:48 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: Augustinian monk

sola Scriptura Dittos!


42 posted on 05/02/2008 3:21:17 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Petronski

“Christ founded the Catholic Church.”

No scriptural basis for “Catholic Church”. However there is plenty for catholic church as in “pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.”

First one founded by man, second one founded by Christ.


43 posted on 05/02/2008 3:27:39 PM PDT by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

That “through Mary” phrase really torques me.

Full disclosure, I was born and raised RCC.


44 posted on 05/02/2008 3:31:48 PM PDT by fishtank (Fenced BORDERS, English LANGUAGE, Patriotic CULTURE: A good plan.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

One small reason for this is evangelical orgs like the Navigators hiring people like Brennan Manning to be their chief (false) teacher.


45 posted on 05/02/2008 3:34:50 PM PDT by fishtank (Fenced BORDERS, English LANGUAGE, Patriotic CULTURE: A good plan.)
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To: Petronski

Hmmm.

Do you know what convinced me to leave the RCC?

- Reading what the apostle Peter had to say about the Word, Christ, and being born again.


46 posted on 05/02/2008 3:36:10 PM PDT by fishtank (Fenced BORDERS, English LANGUAGE, Patriotic CULTURE: A good plan.)
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To: swmobuffalo

Catholic Church founded by Christ, many people left it thinking they had a better idea, His Catholic Church remains.


47 posted on 05/02/2008 3:36:32 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: fishtank

You are free to believe whatever error you want.


48 posted on 05/02/2008 3:37:45 PM PDT by Petronski (When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth, voting for Hillary.)
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To: Augustinian monk
What I find amusing is how the obvious issue is being missed entirely.

Shouldn't the larger issue for the author be that when Protestants research the first thousand years of Christianity, they do not find any trace of their core beliefs?

Wouldn't those closest to Christ, His death, and Resurrection be in a better position to interpret what Christ meant than a man sixteen hundred years after the fact? Or even a contemporary "bible-believing" church two thousand years after the fact?

Why, when Evangelicals search the "ancient" Church, do they find beliefs that contradict their own? If an evangelical "church" is the "true church" of Christ, shouldn't they find validation of their beliefs in the first thousand years of Christianity?


49 posted on 05/02/2008 3:38:48 PM PDT by mike182d ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?")
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To: fishtank
Hmmm.
Do you know what convinced me to leave the RCC?
- Reading what the apostle Peter had to say about the Word, Christ, and being born again.


Your leaving out a part of the story:

When you realized that it was by the authority of the Catholic Church that the very letter of Peter you refer to was included into Sacred Scripture, because neither God, nor Jesus Christ, gave any directive to do so.
50 posted on 05/02/2008 3:40:53 PM PDT by mike182d ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?")
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