Skip to comments.The Supremacy of Scripture
Posted on 12/10/2009 2:08:47 PM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
When a teacher or preacher speaks of the Supremacy of Scripture he is almost always referring to a doctrine that understands Scripture as the supreme source for truth, and in fact the exclusive source for spiritual truth. In the language of the Reformation it is known as Sola Scriptura, which means that the basis for our beliefs is not tradition or experience or ecclesiastical dictate, it is the written Scriptures alone. And it is true that this doctrine has been eroding and that many religious organizations either completely deny it or dilute its essence.
Luther desired nothing but proof from Scripture when it came to doctrinal truth, and forms of that battle have continued into today. There are many books and messages that deal with the Supremacy of Scripture and the reasons for such a foundational doctrine. And this doctrine has provided a forum for what some call the "truth war" which indicates a battle between those who espouse the supremacy of Scripture and those who in one way or another do not. Some project their opinion with academic reasoning within Scripture while retaining some civility, while others speak and write with acrimony and self righteousness.
I am one who espouses the Supremacy of Scripture, for in the end the opinions of men are just that. But I continue to have a problem with some of those who are the leading and most outspoken proponents of that doctrine. Luther himself espoused the supremacy of Scripture at the possible expense of his own life, however after establishing the doctrinal foundation of Sola Scriptura he seemed to dismiss the core of that doctrine when it came to personal obedience. His reckless language, combined with his indulgence of alcohol, and his overt hatred for the Jews was in stark contrast to his doctrinal espousing of the doctrine of Scriptural supremacy. Without dismissing Luthers importance in core doctrinal realignment, I suggest he did not strive to live up to the personal mandates of Scripture which are every bit an indispensible part of Scriptural supremacy.
What Luthers example has shown us is that it is entirely possible to be an outspoken proponent of the doctrine of Scriptural supremacy while denying it wholesale in practice and tone. And such is the case in many quarters of todays evangelical community. To what benefit is it to aggressively contend for the doctrine of Scriptural supremacy while overtly denying it in the methodology you use to defend it? That scenario becomes a paradox in orthodoxy which dismantles the very doctrine you are supposedly defending. The supremacy doctrine is never limited to the overarching eternal truths concerning the Godhead, it must include the admonitions and commands that are consistent with the personal manifestations of the Incarnate narrative, as well as the dictates of the epistles.
It is indeed counterproductive to argue doctrine in the abstract without the personal revelations, or at least the obvious and genuine pursuit, of the uncomfortable aspects of Scripture which are designed to restrict the carnal end justifies the means template of defending the truth. In the end, defending the doctrine of Scriptural supremacy by abrogating the preponderance of Scripture as it applies to love, grace, and personal humility is neither Christian nor Scriptural. It is an overt revelation of disobedience and rejection of the very doctrine you portend to defend. Christ Himself was the antithesis of masculine domination and powerful usurpation, which at its core is why so many were drawn to Him while others rejected Him.
So many today stand on the mountaintop of hubristic judgment of almost everyone who are at varying degrees of doctrinal variance, but are blind to their own Scriptural disobedience. The world knows nothing of our doctrinal squabbles, serious or secondary, but they can see clearly the tone and attitudes that are in direct conflict with the Christ we preach. The cross is the core of our redemption, but it also carries with it the essence of how we are to interact with the world and each other. These Attila the Hun expressions of doctrinal dialogues do despite to the Spirit of Christ, and may in fact win the debate but lose the Spirit.
What is our calling? Are we to win the truth war or are we to live and project Jesus Christ? And those who claim they are in fact one in the same are seriously misguided. Winning the truth war is indeed more about living Christ than it ever was about a round table discussion about doctrinal issues on YouTube that draw amens from the doctrinal Bourgeoisie and elevate the wisdom of men resulting in the applause of other men. The sounds of did you see so and so on Larry King, didnt he really give it to them are only meant to create a greater self righteousness within those who have chosen sides at the expense of deep compassion for those who are blind and deep gratitude for those of us who have been enlightened by His grace.
We have been sold a doctrinal bill of goods that has camouflaged the truth inside a methodology that is in direct violation of the same Scriptural mandates. Would it be Scriptural to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by murder? Of course not, you say. Then how can it be Scriptural to defend Scripture by self righteousness, demeaning personal attacks, and hubristic dismissiveness? We cannot exalt the supremacy of Scripture if we ignore those Scriptures that apply directly to us.
And here lies the challenge. Are we humble enough to defend cardinal doctrines of the faith in such a way that leaves the outcome to God Himself, or are we to speak in such a way that leverages the battle upon the fulcrum of our own words and the core viciousness of our attacks? God looks after His own Word and His instructions to us are never in contrast to that same Word. Speak the truth in love, says the Spirit, not speak the truth in visceral hatred and that is in itself love. The constant stream of unchristian language directed at the same people over and over again reveals an unwillingness to trust God concerning His own Word and its defense. Is there a God, and has He spoken, and is He able to bring about His purposes in spite of those who have strayed doctrinally, or is He in dire need of our constant attacks and redundant reminders of the same Scriptural shortcomings of others? And is our Biblical teaching so fleeting, so shallow, and so temporary that without the continuing stream of identifying the same false teachers people will stray immediately?
The supremacy of Scripture is not some pin the tail on the donkey doctrine that we stick on others, no, it is also high time that we examine our own adherence to the personal aspects of that same doctrine. Doctrinal truth must be lived as well as preached.
Doctrine without works is dead.
"In the end, defending the doctrine of Scriptural supremacy by abrogating the preponderance of Scripture as it applies to love, grace, and personal humility is neither Christian nor Scriptural."
Here is perhaps a better understanding of this rule of Faith, a clip from St. Francis Desales’ book “The Catholic Controversy”:
THE RULE OF FAITH
IF the advice which St. John [I Ep. iv. 1.] gives to Christians, not to believe every spirit, was ever necessary, it is so now more than ever, when so many different and contrary spirits in Christendom demand belief, on the strength of the Word of God in whose name we have seen so many nations run astray in every direction, each one after its humour. As the common sort admire comets and wandering fires, and believe that they are true stars and bright planets, while better-informed people know well that they are only airy flames which float over some vapour as long as there is anything to feed them, which always leave some ill effect behind them, and which have nothing in common with the incorruptible stars save the
coarse light which makes them visible; so the miserable people of our age, seeing in certain foolish men the glitter of human subtlety and a false gleam of the Word of God, have believed that here were heavenly truths, and have given heed to them; although men of worth and judgment testified that they were only earthly inventions, which would in time disappear, nor leave other memorial of them than the sense of the many miseries which follow. O how men ought to have abstained from giving themselves up to these spirits, and before following them to have tried whether they were of God or no! Ah! there is not wanting a touchstone to distinguish the base metal of their counterfeits. For he who caused us to be told that we must prove the spirits, would not have done so unless he knew that we had infallible rules to tell the holy from the false spirit. We have such rules, and nobody denies it. But these deceivers produce rules which they can
falsify and adapt to their pretensions, in order that, having rules in their hands, they may gain the credit of being masters in their craft by a visible sign under pretext of which they can form a faith and a religion such as they have imagined. It is then of the most extreme importance to know what are the true rules of our belief, for thereby we can easily discern heresy from the true religion: and this is what I intend to make clear in this Second Part. My plan is as follows.
The Christian faith is grounded on the Word of God. This is what places it in the sovereign degree of certainty, as having the warrant of that eternal
and infallible Truth. Faith which rests on anything else is not Christian. Therefore, the Word of God is the true rule of right-believing, as ground and rule are in this case one and the same thing.
Since this rule does not regulate our faith save when it is applied, proposed and declared, and since this may be done well or ill,——therefore it is not enough to know that the Word of God is the true and infallible rule of right-believing, unless I know what Word is God’s, where it is, who has to propose, apply, and declare it. It is useless for me to know that the Word of God is infallible, and for all this knowledge I shall not believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God, unless I am certified that this Word is revealed by the heavenly Father: and even when I come to know this I shall not be out of doubt if I do not know how this is to be understood,——whether of an adoptive filiation in the Arian sense, or a natural filiation in the Catholic.
There is need, then, besides this first and fundamental rule the Word of God, of another, a second rule, by which the first may be rightly and duly proposed, applied, and declared. And in order that we may not be subject to hesitation and uncertainty, it is necessary not only that the first rule, namely, the Word of God, but also the second, which proposes and applies this rule, be absolutely infallible; otherwise we shall always remain in suspense and in doubt as to whether we are not being badly directed and supported in our faith and belief, not now by any defect in the first rule, but by error and defect in the proposition and application thereof. Certainly the danger is equal,——either of getting out of rule for want of a right rule, or getting out of rule for want of a regular and right application of the rule itself. But this infallibility which is required as well in the rule as in its proper application, can have its source only in God, the living and original fountain of all truth. Let us proceed.
Now as God revealed His Word, and spoke, or preached, by the mouth of the Fathers and Prophets, and at last by His Own Son, then by the Apostles md Evangelists, whose tongues were but as the pens of scribes writing rapidly, God thus employing men to speak to men; so to propose, apply, and declare this His Word, He employs His visible Spouse as His mouthpiece and the interpreter of His intentions. It is God then Who rules over Christian belief, but with two instruments, in a double way: (1) by His Word as by a formal rule; (2) by His Church as by the hand of the measurer and rule-user. Let us put it thus: God is the painter, our faith the picture, the colours are the Word of God, the brush is the Church. Here then are two ordinary and infallible rules of our belief: the Word of God, which is the fundamental and formal rule; the Church of God, which is the rule of application and explanation.
I consider in this second part both the one and the other, but to make my exposition of them more clear and more easy to handle, I have divided these two rules into several, as follows.
The Word of God, the formal rule of our faith, is either in Scripture or in Tradition. I treat first of Scripture, then of Tradition.
The Church, the rule of application, expresses herself either in her universal body by a general belief of all Christians, or in her principal and nobler parts by a consent of her pastors and doctors; and in this latter way it is either in her pastors assembled in one place and at one time, as in a general council, or in her pastors divided as to place and time, but assembled in union and correspondence of faith; or, in fine, this same Church expresses herself and speaks by her head-minister. * And these are four explaining and applying rules of our faith;——the Church as a whole, the General Council, the consent of the Fathers, the Pope.
Other rules than these we are not to seek; these are enough to steady the most inconstant. But God, Who takes pleasure in the abundance of His favours, wishing to come to the help of the weakness of men, goes so far as to add sometimes to these ordinary rules (I refer to the establishment and founding of the Church) an extraordinary rule, most certain and of great importance,——namely, miracles——an extraordinary testimony of the true application of the Divine Word.
Lastly, natural reason may also be called a rule of right-believing, but negatively and not affirmatively. For if anyone should speak thus: such a proposition is an article of faith, therefore it is according to natural reason:——this affirmative consequence would be badly drawn, since almost all our faith is outside of and above our reason. But if he were to say: this is an article of faith, therefore it cannot be against natural reason:——the consequence is good. For natural reason and faith, being supported on the same principles, and starting from one same author, cannot be contrary to each other.
Here then are eight rules or faith: Scripture, Tradition, the Church, Councils, the Fathers, the Pope, miracles, natural reason. The two first are only a formal rule, the four following are only a rule of application, the seventh is extraordinary, and the eighth negative. Or, he who would reduce all these rules to a single one, would say that the sole and true rule of right-believing is the Word of God preached by the Church of God.
Now I undertake here to show, as clearly as the light of day, that your reformers have violated and forced all these rules (and it would be enough to show that they have violated one of them, since they are so closely connected that he who violates one violates all the others); in order that, as you have seen in the first part, that they have taken you out of the bosom of the true Church by schism, so you may know in this second part, that they have deprived you of the light of the true faith by heresy, to drag you after their illusions. And I keep ever in the same position: for I prove firstly that the rules which I bring forward are most certain and infallible, then I prove, so closely that you can touch it with your hand, that your doctors have violated them. Here now I appeal to you in the name of the Almighty God, and summon you on His part, to judge justly.
HOLY SCRIPTURE FIRST RULE OF FAITH.-THAT THE PRETENDED REFORMERS HAVE VIOLATED HOLY SCRIPTURE, THE FIRST RULE OF OUR FAITH.
THE SCRIPTURE IS A TRUE RULE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH.
I WELL know, thank God, that Tradition was before all Scripture, since a good part of Scripture itself is only Tradition reduced to writing, with an infallible assistance of the Holy Spirit. But, since the authority of Scripture is more easily received by the reformers than that of Tradition, I begin with the former in order to get a better entrance for my argument.
Holy Scripture is in such sort the rule of the Christian faith that we are obliged by every kind of obligation to believe most exactly all that it contains, and not to believe anything which may be ever so little contrary to it: for if Our Lord Himself has sent the Jews to it [John v. 39] to strengthen their faith, it must be a most safe standard. The Sadducees erred because
they did not understand the Scriptures; [Mark xii. 24] they would have done better to attend to them, as to a light shining in a dark place, according to the advice of S. Peter, [Ep. 2, i. 19] who having himself heard the voice of the Father in the Transfiguration of the Son, bases himself more firmly on the testimony of the Prophets than on this experience. When God says to Josue: Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth, [Jos. 1. 8] He shows clearly that He willed him to have it always in his mind, and to let no persuasion enter which should be contrary to it. But I am losing time; this disputation would be needful against free-thinkers (les Libertins); we are agreed on this point, and those who are so mad as to contradict it, can only rest their contradiction on the Scripture itself, contradicting themselves before contradicting the Scripture, using it in the very protestation which they make that they will not use it.
Hi blackpacific. I am a former Catholic. And I disagree.
The above entry wasn’t so much a defense of the “Supremacy of Scripture” as it was a rebuke to people like me who already adhere to the doctrine. The post serves as a reminder for Protestants to defend the doctrine with love and grace. SO often people who hold to “Scripture alone” will vehemently and passionately defend and preach this doctrine without actually LIVING OUT the very truths Scripture teaches: such as loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you—this includes being gracious to those who disagree with us—like Catholics! :)
Anyhow, here are just a few tenets of Catholic tradition, Scripture contradicts:
2) The role of works in salvation.
3) Distinction between venial and mortal sins.
4) The role of the Pope and Magisterium.
5) The mandatory celibacy of pastors
6) The role of works in salvation.
7) The role of Mary: her perpetual virginity after the birth of Christ, her sinlessness, and her bodily Assumption into Heaven.
8) Exclusive sainthood
9) The role of penance and the idea that sacraments are a “means of grace”
10) The re-sacrifice of Christ during the presentation of the Eucharist.
11) The spiritual value of infant baptism.
the list goes on and on.
You must read the heavily abridged and edited version of Scripture.
Well you could give lack a declaration that you are infallible, as well as a criteria that qualifies that your declaration that you are infallible was infallible, and that the criteria itself is infallibly defined,, and that your interpretation of a text of Scripture upon which you based your claim of infallibility is infallible. This would eliminate so much confusion, if of course, you infallibly define most of the Bible, and provide an infallible list of all infallibly defined teaching. As well as an infallible interpretation of infallible pronouncements, so that we they know whether to embrace separated brethren, or damn them.
1) Purgatory is entirely Scriptural, particularly when dealing with the total Analogy of Scripture. But to be specific, the allusion to Purgatory is unmistakable in 2 Maccabees 12, which is certainly Scripture to us Catholics, and - long story short, for now - only became "unScripture" to Protestants because of the very allusion I note here.
3) Have you never read 1 John 5:16-17? A clearer distinction between mortal and venial sin, and their obvious differences in effect, is hard to find.
5) "Mandatory" celibacy for priests and bishops is only a discipline in the Western - or Latin Rite - Catholic Church. Married priests exist in the various Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Only bishops are universally not allowed to be married. And this could change - though there is little likelihood of that - because no one ever said this was doctrine, it is only a discipline based on, among other things, St. Paul's"opinion" found in 1 Corinthians 7:25-39, with reference also to 7:8-9. Notice, particularly, what St. Paul has to say in verse 8! Celibacy is a gift to the Church as a whole in this vein. And these passages alone - and there are others, too - indicate that it is not "mandatory" that a bishop marry. St. Paul himself, as an Apostle, was also a bishop, yet he says plainly in 7:8 of the above text that he is single and has no intention to marry. Yet this does not disqualify him, does it?
8) You really need to define what you mean by "exclusive sainthood," before this question can even be addressed.
Also, a general observation. A few things on your list do not have massive Scriptural support in any direct sense, though there is, in these cases, still some indirect evidence. Just the same, the Catholic Church does not recognize "Sola Scriptura" as a principle, since, among other things, the statement is self-refuting. "Sola Scriptura," or "Scripture alone," can be nowhere found in the Bible, therefore, it cannot be a Biblical principle,and to insist on the point is, as I already said, to engage in a self-refuting argument.
The Catholic Church regards Sacred Tradition to be authoritative like Scripture. So does does every other Church that has a legitimate claim to being "Apostolic" in its roots, that is, the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, along with Catholicism. Protestants need to ask themselves why this is so. Why do all of the ancient Churches which predated Protestantism and still exist today recognize Tradition along with Scripture as "authoritative"? Upon what authority did they unilaterally decide to jettison Tradition? It certainly wasn't Scriptural authority, since, as already noted, Scripture says nothing whatsoever about Scripture being the only source of authority.
Neither does plain logic or an understanding of early Christian history, since the Bible was not codified in any real sense till the end of the 4th Century, and it was well into the 2nd Century before most local churches spread throughout evangelized territory could have possibly hoped to have had a significant portion of what would later be known as the canonical books of the New Testament.
Therefore, since all still-existing Churches that predate Protestantism recognize Scripture and Tradition, it behooves Protestants to explain how, and by what authority, they had the right to fabricate a "Sola Scriptura" principle to justify the removal of Tradition.
More later tomorrow, if I can.
I have a question for you both. If you were on a desert island. All by yourself. No churches, no priests, no other people. And all you had access to was a pocket sized New Testament...And you knew your days on the island were numbered. What would be going through your mind and heart as you prepare to face your death? What would you be spending all your time doing?
It’s mmm mmm good. Judging by the actions of those eat large helpings of YOPIOS, I’d say that there was n good amount of Everclear added to help wash it all down.
After all, if Scripture is read with YOPIOS, then Scripture must be edited with YOPIOS. And the Everclear.
Though it is only a church law, celibacy shows contempt for Scripture. As cults abudantly evidence, one can say a doctrine is “based” upon a text, but that does not mean it is the result of sound exegesis. 1 Cor. 7:8,9,32-38 certainly does support celibacy, but by no means as a mandatory requirement for any class of people, let alone clergy, who were obviously expected to be married in apostolic times and forward. (1Tim. 3:1-5,12) Rather, Paul states that celibacy is a gift, (1 Cor. 7:7), and to require that all Bishop/Elder (same office) have that gift is to add to Scripture, just as the Pharisees did, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mk. 7:7).
As for purgatory, this (as taught by Rome) likewise lacks true Scriptural warrant, including the treasury of merit and indulgences, as it must rely on ambiguous texts which are contradicted by clear ones. The “servants” in Lk. 12:42-48 are evidenced to lost souls, with different degrees of judgment being realized in the afterlife. Yet ordinary saved souls are distinctly told that if the rapture occurred they will be “caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes. 4:17) The penitent criminal who suffered a few hours on the cross himself went that day to paradise, which is later revealed to now be the third heaven.
At the judgment seat of Christ believers are told that carnal works will be burnt up, (1 Cor. 3:11-15) but they themselves will be saved, so as by fire, which does not convey suffering an indeterminate time in purgatory, but of a man who loses everything but himself is saved, the context here being about rewards.
As 2 Maccabees, this book has offers hope for those dying in “mortal sin”, as idolaters, while the apocrypha is not worthy to be classed with Scripture, which is evidenced to be such by its power and purity, resulting in its popularity, while apocrypha remains buried in obscurity. See here for reasons why it is rejected by the revived church.
Of course, when you autocratically declare yourself infallible in a teaching, then lack of Scriptural warrant need not be a problem.
The pillar and ground of the truth is the Church.
Obviously, that pocket sized New Testament will be re-read many times and will be a great assistance in my journey.
One can, in absence of the Sacraments of the Church be sanctified through the reading of the scripture, as well as with the Sacraments. One thing does not exclude the other. Our spiritual work in not complete till we learn to read and love the Holy Scripture.
But the essential part in this scenario that you presented is prayer. The first prayer should be a prayer of contrition for every unconfessed sin. Then one should ask God to not tempt him with more sin. Then, given the extrraordonary circumstance, one will die in a state of grace without the sacraments of the Church.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we never pray alone, even on the desert island. We pray, always, with the entire Church in Heaven: the Communion of Saints known and unknown.
I think our challenges are greater where we are than in a desert island. If one searches for salvation, he will do well to find himself in a desert. Most of the treasure of the Church was build in a desert, sometimes literal and often deliberate desert of monastic life. Happy is he whose circumstances allow him to become a hermit.
“After all, if Scripture is read with YOPIOS...”
Sorry, but everyone will be responsible for the interpretation they choose to follow. If you don’t mind standing before God and saying, “I believed XYZ because the Catholic Church told me it is true”...you can.
I find the glaring contrast between what is taught in scripture & Catholic doctrine about Purgatory, Indulgences, Priests, the Eucharist, Mary, Penance, and the development of doctrine too much to stomach - so I will plead MOPIOS (My Own Personal Interpretation of Scripture, for those who don’t read these sorts of threads often).
But it is still an individual choice to accept the Catholic Catechism over Scripture, Sola Ecclesia over Sola Scriptura.
Given that the Catholic Church openly teaches that its doctrines are, in many cases, not explicitly taught in scripture, but needed centuries for the Magisterium to unfold the meaning, I don’t know why Catholics bother with pretending to draw doctrine or justify it by scripture. What is the point? Wouldn’t it be more intellectually honest to simply say, “XYZ is not explicitly taught in scripture, nor do we believe it needed to be”?
It doesn’t bother me when someone says, “We believe X because it is taught via sacred tradition.” Even the footnotes to the NAB, for example, say that 1 Cor 3 was not an attempt by Paul to describe or define Purgatory. While I wouldn’t convert in response, I can respectfully disagree with someone who openly says it comes from sacred tradition, and they choose to believe sacred tradition is as certain as scripture.
Oh well. The last week has been a long one for me, so perhaps I’m missing something as I stare bleary-eyed at the computer.
It would be interesting some time to work on a thread that tries to figure out what we have in common, versus what we have that divides.
“4. This is the place to address those who, having nothing of Christ but the name and sign, would yet be called Christians. How dare they boast of this sacred name? None have intercourse with Christ but those who have acquired the true knowledge of him from the Gospel. The Apostle denies that any man truly has learned Christ who has not learned to put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and put on Christ, (Eph. iv. 22.) They are convicted, therefore, of falsely and unjustly pretending a knowledge of Christ, whatever be the volubility and eloquence with which they can talk of the Gospel. Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue, but of the life; is not apprehended by the intellect and memory merely, like other branches of learning; but is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds its seat and habitation in the inmost recesses of the heart. Let them, therefore, either cease to insult God, by boasting that they are what they are not, or let them show themselves not unworthy disciples of their divine Master. To doctrine in which our religion is contained we have given the first place, since by it our salvation commences; but it must be transfused into the breast, and pass into the conduct, and so transform us into itself, as not to prove unfruitful.” — John Calvin
“The pillar and ground of the truth is the Church.”
And the truth that the pillar supports is the Word of God, both in the flesh and in writing.
Bible Reading: the highest was 75%, by those going to a Pentecostal/Foursquare church who reported they had read the Bible during the past week (besides at church), while the lowest was among Catholics at 23%.^8
Volunteer church work (during past 7 days): Assemblies of God were highest at 30%, with the lowest going to Catholics at 12%.^8
Donating Money (during the last month): Church of Christ churches were the highest at 29%, with Catholics being the lowest at 12%.^8
American evangelicals gave four times as much, per person, to churches as did all other church donors in 2001. Eighty-eight percent of evangelicals and 73 percent of all Protestants donated to churches. John Ronsvalle and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The State of Church Giving through 2004: Will We Will? 16th ed. (Champaign, Ill.: Empty Tomb, 2006),12. http://www.generousgiving.org/stats#
Among evangelicals, almost 90 cents of every donated dollar goes to their churches. The proportion drops, however, as people's spiritual intensity and commitment to Christ decline. George Barna, quoted in Survey Finds Americans More Generous Last Year, press release by World Vision, July 22, 2002. http://www.generousgiving.org/stats#
By denomination, 61% of the those associated with an Assemblies of God church said they had shared their faith at least once during the past year, followed by 61% of those who attend a Pentecostal/Foursquare church, and ending 14% among Episcopalians and just 10% among Roman Catholics.^8
39 percent of Catholics affirmed not attending church is a sin, versus 23 percent of Protestants. Ellison Research, March 11, 2008 http://ellisonresearch.com/releases/20080311.htm http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080312/study-behaviors-americans-consider-sinful.htm
Weekly Church attendance: Evangelicals showed the highest participation of approx 60 percent (30% more than once a week). Catholics were at 45 percent (9% more than once a week), and Jews 15 percent. Gallup poll. between 2002 and 2005. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20060418/weekly-attendance-highest-among-evangelical-churches.htm
See HERE for church attendance (based on adults who attended a church service in the past week) by Denomination (Assemblies of God: 69%; Catholic: 48.5% Episcopal/Anglican: 30%)
Weekly attendance among Protestants has been fairly steady over the past six decades, averaging 42% in 1955 versus 45% in the middle of the current decade. However, attendance among Roman Catholics dropped from 75% to 45% over the same period. Gallup poll published April 10, 2009, http://www.gallup.com/poll/117382/Church-Going-Among-Catholics-Slides-Tie-Protestants.aspx 56% of Assemblies of God (versus 17% Catholics) Christians strongly DISAGREE that Satan is just a symbol of evil [rather than a real being]. ^7
Catholics and Mainline Protestants tend towards more belief in a more Distant God. Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion - American Piety in the 21 Century September 2006 . http://www.baylor.edu/isreligion/index.php?id=40634
Evangelical Protestants and Black Protestants tend towards belief in a more Authoritarian God. ^Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion
Jews tend towards belief in a Distant God and over 8% of Jews in the sample report being atheists. ^Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion
50 percent of Protestants affirmed gambling was a sin, versus 15 percent of Catholics; that getting drunk was a sin: 63 percent of Protestants, 28 percent of Catholics; gossip: 70 percent to 45 percent: homosexual activity or sex: 72 percent to 42 percent. Ellison Research, March 11, 2008 http://ellisonresearch.com/releases/20080311.htm http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080312/study-behaviors-americans-consider-sinful.htm
39 percent of Roman Catholics and 79 percent of born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Americans affirm that homosexual behavior is sinful. LifeWay Research study, released Wednesday. 2008 LifeWay Research study. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080606/survey-americans-divided-on-homosexuality-as-sin.htm
79 percent of American Jews, 58 percent of Catholics and 56 percent of mainline Protestants favor acceptance of homosexuality, versus 39 percent of members of historically black churches, 27 percent of Muslims and 26 percent of the evangelical Protestants. U.S. 7.5U.S. Religious landscape survey; Copyright © 2008 The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#
83% of those in Mainline Churches, 79% of Catholics, 72% of Orthodox, and 57% in Evangelical Churches affirmed "Many religions can lead to eternal life." ^7.5
Evangelical Churches (79%) had the highest percentage of souls who affirmed religion was very important in One's Life, with Unaffiliated (includes Atheists and Agnostics) being the lowest (16%). ^7.5
Evangelical Churches (17%), had the lowest percentage of souls aged 18-29, versus Unaffiliated (31%), Muslims (29%), Historically Black Churches (24%), Mormons (24%) and Other Faiths (24%). Mainline Churches had the greater percentage (23%) of souls 65 and older. ^7.5
82% of Mainline Churches, 77% of Catholics and 53% of Evangelical Churches affirmed, "There is MORE than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion." ^7.5
Orthodox (29%), Mainline Churches (28%), and Catholics (27%) led Christian Churches in affirming that the Scriptures were written by men and were not the word of God, versus Historically Black Churches (9%%), and Evangelical Churches (7%) who rightly affirm its full inspiration of God. ^7.5
The majority (64%) of Evangelical and Historically Black Churches (46%) affirmed "Homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society", while the majority (58%) of Catholics, and Mainline Churches (56%) favored it's acceptance by society,as did Other Faiths (84%) Buddhists (82%) and Jews (79%). ^7.5
Also, those who demonstrably hold to sola Scriptura, to Scripture as their supreme (but not only) authority, and not a man, do enjoy doctrinal unity among essential doctrines, and which require full assent of faith for salvation. Those who disagree with these clearly Biblically established essentials, which includes what your Nicene creed states (catholic and apostolic being universal and foundationally, respectively) would be called heretics, as such are well substantiated in Scripture which is why we agree with them.
Meanwhile, seeking to live by every word does bring about some disagreements on things, but it limits their scope, and these can typically be considered to correspond to the vast amount of areas of Scriptures that Rome has either not taught definitely on (or at all), and can modify (which includes much of what is espoused about Mary), and which allow for a limited amount of dissent by them (Ordinary Magisterium); Or which may include the possibility of significant error (General Magisterium). And unity in essential salvific truth, which is manifest in its fruits, is better than unity based upon error, which Rome owes its overall dead condition to.
From the Gospel of “Saint” John:
1In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
14 THE WORD BECAME FLESH and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
“In the beginning was the WORD”
CHRIST is “The Word made Flesh.”
CHRIST is the chief cornerstone. He is the rock of our salvation. HE is the “pillar” on which we stand or fall.
Why do we rob Him of His glory and exalt a manmade institution in his place? An insitution that moves Christ, far below even secondary status, yet still claims his name?
The NAB also officially relegates Gn. 2, and Balaam and the donkey, Jonah and the fish, etc., to being fables (and Joshua’s conquests to be folk tales), although the N.T. treats them as historical fact, and relegating such to be simply allegorical is a slippery slope.
In addition, the very use of 2 Pet. 1:20 by Rome to censure knowing truth by private interpretation itself shows they are not worthy of the supreme office which they assume, as it is not speaking about understanding Scripture, but how it was written, while Acts 17:11 commends those laymen who sought to discern truth from error by searching the Scriptures. Those who do so do not claim infallibility for themselves, but for Scripture, which authority is the only written class of revelation which is affirmed to be all inspired.
As appealing as it is to give implicit faith to a man, that is not supported by Scripture, and which it warns about, and as problematic as it can be, the apostles assumed that appealing to the hearts of men by the Scriptures, (Acts 17:2; 2Cor. 4:2) and thru miracles, versus requiring an apriori assent to their infallibility, as Rome effectively does, would enable lovers of truth to believe, even if such allowed heretic to misconstrue it.
As for Peter=Rock, one of the most abundantly substantiated doctrines in the Bible is that Jesus is the Rock, with no such substantiation being given for Peter as such, and the “this” in “this rock” of Mt. 16:18 refers back to the subject of the previous verse, that being Peter’s confession of Christ, and by extension Christ Himself.
The term this stone is only used of Christ. (Mt. 21:44) For in contrast to Peter, that the LORD Jesus is the Rock (petra) or “stone” (lithos) upon which the church is built is one of the most abundantly confirmed doctrines in the Bible (petra: Rm. 8:33; 1Cor. 10:4; 1Pet. 2:8; lithos: Mat. 21:42; Mk.12:10-11; Lk. 20:17-18; Act. 4:11; Rm. 9:33; Eph. 2:20; 1Pet. 2:4-8; cf. Dt. 32:4, Is. 28:16) including by Peter himself. Rome’s current catechism even (ecumenically) affirms this interpretation: On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church’ (pt. 1, sec. 2, cp. 2, para. 424). And so it is that by the essential faith which Peter expressed is that by which the church overcomes. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5; cf (1Jn. 2:13,14,25) And which Peter himself confirms. (1 Pet 5:8-9)
Abraham believed God, and a nation was born, Peter and the apostles believed God, and the church was born (on Pentecost i believe), and as the “household of faith” (Gal. 6:10) and bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25) it exists, as it only consists of those who are born again by faith. (1Cor. 12:13) not by confidence in a perpetuated petrine papacy, which in effect is what Rome fosters, as well as in one’s works.