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Beating Private Judgment’s Dead Horse
Catholic Culture ^ | May 6, 2011 | Dr. Jeff Mirus

Posted on 05/06/2011 1:28:46 PM PDT by NYer

OK, I admit it. I’m into this topic right now (see, in the past week, this and that). I had another exchange with a Protestant who believes that the meaning of Scripture is fairly plain, and—since Christ promised he would send the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (Jn 16:13)—then with a little application and study, we can decide rightly what the Word of God means all by ourselves.

This is a common theory, and I haven’t been able to make any headway with my correspondent in raising the question of how we handle disagreements among those who are equally empowered by the Holy Spirit. Among other comments, he offers this clearly sincere paragraph:

If I cannot assert what scripture means then why study it and find its meaning? I have good warrant to prefer my understandings of Scripture because mine are based on my study of the Word and I took the time to learn the meanings. I did not get them from some institution that has bias built into its structures of teaching. God forbid that the RCC change a teaching since they can never be wrong by definition.

Well, I won’t keep you. But today I’m simply wondering which of the following is easier to believe:

  1. The Holy Spirit guarantees that each of us will properly understand the truths of Revelation on our own, though this idea didn’t develop until the 16th century and we all disagree with each other constantly about these truths, even after significant study.
     
  2. The Holy Spirit guarantees that Peter and his successors will not defect in Faith and further guarantees them the power to confirm the Faith in others (see, for example, Lk 22:32), given that this is what the early Church demonstrably believed and that Peter and his successors have never contradicted each other over a 2,000 year period.

I know, I know, it’s a tough one.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: bible; protestant; scripture

1 posted on 05/06/2011 1:28:50 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 05/06/2011 1:29:33 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer
I know, I know, it’s a tough one.

No, it's not tough at all - everyone practices private judgement.

It's just that some people go the buffet route, while others go Prix Fixe.

Catholics, or any other Prix Fixe religious group, each have privately judged their Church as the scriptural interpretation they choose to believe and follow.

Why go Prix Fixe, rather than buffet? Convenience, obviously.

But I think also there is the belief (which is naturally included in the Prix Fixe menu offered by Prix Fixe religions), that one is then forgiven from any responsibility for any aspect of the Prix Fixe teachings that might be wrong.

Of course, declaring being wrong as impossible is the fundamental claim of a Prix Fixe religion. But it's an openly shallow claim, as bitter schisms between religious authorities exist in every religion - so which interpretation does a person's Prix Fixe gain them?

Again, easy answer - whichever one turns out right. After all, once you pay your mind over, you're no longer personally responsible for the details.

What a relief.

3 posted on 05/06/2011 1:41:27 PM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on its own.)
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To: NYer

Oh, I don’t know. . .who’s up for a 100 million interpretations? That way the ones who do not study can pick the flavor they like best! /s


4 posted on 05/06/2011 1:43:27 PM PDT by famousdayandyear (On the 18th of April 75 hardly a man is now alive who remembers)
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To: NYer

>This is a common theory, and I haven’t been able to make any headway with my correspondent in raising the question of how we handle disagreements among those who are equally empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Just because two [Spirit-filled/led] believers disagree does not mean that that they are both wrong: Consider John Mark and Paul in Acts.

There was a rift when John Mark left Paul in one of his journeys, this rift carried over to Barnibus [IIRC] when the early church was sending Paul out on his next journey... so great was the rift/disagreement that they split into two different groups going two different ways.

And in that way God saw to it that two gospel-spreading mission trips were commissioned then instead of one.

Then, as Paul was in Rome near the end of his life he asked for the church to send John Mark “because he is useful to me” [IIRC].

And, also interesting, John Mark was the author of the Gospel of Mark... which was likely written in that intervening time.


5 posted on 05/06/2011 1:54:07 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Talisker
Catholics, or any other Prix Fixe religious group, each have privately judged their Church as the scriptural interpretation they choose to believe and follow.

Perhaps you have missed the point of the discussion. The author rightfully asserts that there can be only one interpretation, not many, and has baan this way until the 16th century.

Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible? No. The word "truth" is used several times in the New Testament. However, the plural version of the word "truth" never appears in Scripture. Therefore, there can only be one Truth. If one were to put two persons of the "same" non-Catholic Christian denomination (i.e., two Presybterians, two Lutherans, two Baptists, etc.) in separate rooms with a Bible and a notepad and ask them to write down their "interpretation" of the Bible, passage for passage, shouldn't they then produce the exact same interpretation? If guided by the Holy Spirit as Scripture states, the answer should be "Yes." But would that really happen? History has shown that the answer is "No." Now, in the case of Catholics, the Church which Christ founded and is with forever (Matthew 28:20) interprets the Bible, as guided by the Holy Spirit, (Mark 13:11) for the "sheep" (the faithful). The Church (not individuals) interpret Scripture. In Catholicism, Scripture is there for meditation, prayer and inspiration, not for individual interpretation to formulate doctrine or dogma.

6 posted on 05/06/2011 1:55:15 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: famousdayandyear

>Oh, I don’t know. . .who’s up for a 100 million interpretations? That way the ones who do not study can pick the flavor they like best! /s

You say that with sarcasm, like it is a bad thing; yet I don’t think that it is such a terrible thing. While we — being sinful humans — will assuredly make errors, when eternity rolls around and we are in Heaven we will be God’s people and He our God; what we know in part (our “private judgement” that we ‘get’) will be revealed in full.


7 posted on 05/06/2011 1:57:09 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark
There was a rift when John Mark left Paul in one of his journeys, this rift carried over to Barnibus [IIRC] when the early church was sending Paul out on his next journey... so great was the rift/disagreement that they split into two different groups going two different ways.

It would be helpful if you would give scriptural references for all of this.

8 posted on 05/06/2011 1:57:32 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Most of it is Acts 11 through... I think 13.
I don’t remember where it is Paul asks for them to send John Mark, though it’s one of the Epistles and not Acts.


9 posted on 05/06/2011 2:00:40 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: OneWingedShark

That’s pretty non specific and a good example of personal interpretation of scripture. See my post #6.


10 posted on 05/06/2011 2:07:20 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: famousdayandyear
"Oh, I don’t know. . .who’s up for a 100 million interpretations? That way the ones who do not study can pick the flavor they like best! /s"

Oh, yeah, free market Christianity with whoever markets the best and expects the least attracting the most people. It's no accident that Mega-Churches followed closely on the heels of Big Box stores, that's the name of the game in the Protestant world, marketing. Now it's "Name it and claim it" and "The end is near, don't risk your rear", in another decade it'll be, "higher highs and better buys" if that's what it takes to keep the salaries flowing and pay off the bonds.

11 posted on 05/06/2011 2:12:37 PM PDT by Rashputin (Obama is insane but kept medicated and on golf courses to hide it)
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To: NYer
The author rightfully asserts that there can be only one interpretation, not many, and has baan this way until the 16th century.

You're seriously going to try to claim that? Have you ever read the various debates between various Catholic bishops? It's never been the case that the RCC has had only one interpretation--it's just the case that due to its political power, it could suppress dissedent opinions to give the outward appearance of unity.

Besides, if we're going to play that game, why should I follow the Catholic Church at all? Why not follow the rabbis, whose tradition is anywhere between 500 to 1500 years older than Roman Catholicism?

Moreover, you exaggerate the schism between Protestant denominations with a conservative view of the inspiration of Scripture. Among those who actually take the Bible seriously, there's broad agreement on most subjects. The debate, however heated, is mostly on esoteric issues like prophecy and the finer points of election. The "million interpretations" come up among denominations that openly reject the authority of the full Bible, picking and choosing what to believe.

Frankly, that's the problem with RCC tradition too. It's not that it simply creates a standard on certain points; it actively tells us to ignore what the Bible says on numerous issues in favor of the RCC tradition. Or, to quote that greatest of rabbis: "All too well you annull the Word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Shalom

12 posted on 05/06/2011 2:16:06 PM PDT by Buggman (returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Talisker
"Why go Prix Fixe, rather than buffet? Convenience, obviously."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The reliance on a Magisterium in matters of doctrine and faith is no different than the selection upon the best physicians over the choice of faith healers or utilizing a very good lawyer versus representing oneself in court.

A Magisterium definitely does not make things easier. It actually forces a deeper understanding when one finds themself confused by or unreconciled with the actual teachings of the Church. It forces a humbleness not found within the YOPIS crowd.

13 posted on 05/06/2011 2:51:23 PM PDT by Natural Law
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To: NYer

What? Acts 11 is the area just before the Paul/John Mark falling out begins; and it I remember the 13th chapter is where that second “mission trip” is commissioned.

I’ve not answered you “non-specifically” but given you the areas wherein the main point of my post was made.

And yes, I don’t exactly remember where it is Paul said “send me John Mark”. I could find the exact portions, chapter and verse, but even if I did would they profit you any? Would they have *ANY* impact in your life?


14 posted on 05/06/2011 3:43:16 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Buggman
It's never been the case that the RCC has had only one interpretation

Opinions may vary but, on issues of morals or faith, there is only ONE interpretation, not many. Please demonstrate otherwise.

15 posted on 05/06/2011 4:46:19 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

**Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible?**

Your answer is correct — NO — in capital letters.

We are so blessed as Catholics not to have to sit on a one-legged stool our entire lives — the one-legged stool that Protestants claim (and can have, in my judgment) — that of Scripture.

As Catholics we are blessed to have a three-legged stool on which to sit. Much better balance, eh?

First leg — Holy Scripture
Second leg — that handed down person to person orally and written down by the Early Church Fathers — Holy Traidtion
Third leg — the Magiterium that carries on this work


16 posted on 05/06/2011 10:02:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

God enjoys a much more personal relationship with His family.

He provides faith directly to each believer in fellowship with Him, through the human spirit, as we think His Word.

He communicates directly with believers, not only through a Church hierarchy, but with His royal priesthood, every believer, via the High Priest, our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, as we remain in fellowship with Him, through faith in Christ.


17 posted on 05/07/2011 12:24:13 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: NYer
Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible? No. The word "truth" is used several times in the New Testament. However, the plural version of the word "truth" never appears in Scripture. Therefore, there can only be one Truth. .

You have presented this bogus argument many times before...And, it always falls flat on it's face...

Jesus is the Truth and He is one (or 3)...But Jesus has and teaches many truths...

We are to call on the name of the Lord to be saved...That is one truth...
When we are absent from the body, we are with the Lord...That's another truth...

There are tons of truths in the scripture...To claim otherwise is nonsense...

If one were to put two persons of the "same" non-Catholic Christian denomination (i.e., two Presybterians, two Lutherans, two Baptists, etc.) in separate rooms with a Bible and a notepad and ask them to write down their "interpretation" of the Bible, passage for passage, shouldn't they then produce the exact same interpretation? If guided by the Holy Spirit as Scripture states, the answer should be "Yes." But would that really happen? History has shown that the answer is "No.

Too simplistic...Some people don't study as much as the next group...Some don't believe what they read...Just look at the number of Catholics who disagree on what your Catholic religion teaches...

There are over 200 versions of the bible in the English language...People don't like or believe what God says so they keep changing it...Again, look at your religion...

The claim was that Jerome's version of the scriptures was the accepted bible of your church...It was then turned into the Douay-Rheims which became the then modern bible which was your religion's official bible...

NOW, after more changes, your official bible is the NASB(?)...And THAT one is a far cry from where Jerome started...

Now, in the case of Catholics, the Church which Christ founded and is with forever (Matthew 28:20) interprets the Bible, as guided by the Holy Spirit, (Mark 13:11) for the "sheep" (the faithful).

So says your religion...But after studying the scriptures, the bible believer knows that not to be true...

The Church (not individuals) interpret Scripture. In Catholicism, Scripture is there for meditation, prayer and inspiration, not for individual interpretation to formulate doctrine or dogma.Your religion IS individuals...

That may be so in Catholicism...But in Christianity, Scripture is there for:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

18 posted on 05/07/2011 2:12:19 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: NYer
That’s pretty non specific and a good example of personal interpretation of scripture. See my post #6.

How then should that story be interpreted??? I mean heaven forbid we should just believe what it says...So how do you interpret the story???

19 posted on 05/07/2011 2:15:51 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Natural Law
Nothing could be further from the truth. The reliance on a Magisterium in matters of doctrine and faith is no different than the selection upon the best physicians over the choice of faith healers or utilizing a very good lawyer versus representing oneself in court.

Chosing your Magisterium is no different that Mormons chosing their magisterium, their council of Elders or whatever they call it...

To claim your magisterium is equal to the best doctors is a scary thought...Unless you are referring to witch doctors...

20 posted on 05/07/2011 2:23:04 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Salvation
Second leg — that handed down person to person orally and written down by the Early Church Fathers — Holy Traidtion

You guys have failed miserably when it comes to showing or telling us what that oral tradition is that was passed on down from the Apostles to your religion...

Not a single excerpt...Therefore, it doesn't exist...You have a two legged stool...And it keeps falling over...

21 posted on 05/07/2011 2:27:32 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Iscool
Yes, Very sad. The 3 legged stool is not found in scripture.

It seems Roman epologists always talk in theories and hypotheticals. Self-declaring infalibilty, certainty, tradition, while ignoring any details. Offcourse, these grandiose claims are meant to impress, but "the devils in the details".

Romanists cannot deliver ANY apostolic tradition/doctrine, NOT found in scripture.

Infalibility, a self proclaimed attribute, mostly used to elevate Marian doctrine and a handful of biblical verses, the rest of scripture being open to interpretation by all (as long as it does not conflict with existing doctrine). All grand self-crowned titles, giving comfort to those who decide to trust Rome, instead of the Scriptures.

22 posted on 05/07/2011 7:57:02 AM PDT by bkaycee
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To: Iscool
"To claim your magisterium is equal to the best doctors is a scary thought...Unless you are referring to witch doctors...

I wouldn't expect anyone with such obviously limited capabilities to understand.

23 posted on 05/07/2011 8:24:09 AM PDT by Natural Law
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To: bkaycee

So where is sola scriptura found in scripture?

When one does not have all the facts and/or resources can one really make a sound judgment?

Probably not.


24 posted on 05/07/2011 8:35:12 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Iscool
Only one of several references.

You belive in Scripture, correct?
 
Then why don't you believe this?
 

John 21: (We'll be using the KJV today to keep things on even footing): "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

 

The Bible Itself declares that it doesn't contain everything.


25 posted on 05/07/2011 8:38:45 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: bkaycee; Iscool
Did the Council of Jerusalem get removed from your Bible?

Protestatnts tend to look at this as just a confrontation, but it was actually the first Council (magisterium included--although is was not named as such) in the Bible.

It is the Decision of the Holy Spirit and Us….On the Council of Jerusalem...(Catholic Caucus)
A Timeline of Catholic Church history, 1-500 A.D. (includes Councils, Canon of the Bible)
MAJOR COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH - 1st Council of Nicaea - 325 A.D. (1st in a series)
MAJOR COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH - 1st Council of Constantinople - 381 A.D. (2nd in a series)
MAJOR CHURCH COUNCILS - The Council Of Chalcedon - 451 A.D.

26 posted on 05/07/2011 8:44:08 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
The Bible Itself declares that it doesn't contain everything.

But the Bible says it contains everything pertinent to our Salvation...It was written so that we can know we have eternal life, right now...

There apparently is a reason Jesus felt we had enough information with what He gave us...No where did Jesus suggest that some group later on would be able to add to what Jesus did and certainly not to any thing that He taught...

And the fact that you guys don't have any thing at all in the way of 'handed down tradition' pretty much proves nothing was left that Jesus intended we should know...

27 posted on 05/07/2011 9:19:51 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Salvation
Protestatnts tend to look at this as just a confrontation, but it was actually the first Council (magisterium included--although is was not named as such) in the Bible.

And it ended when the words of God were committed to writing...Those things were hashed out and we have the written record...

There is no room nor authority for more councils...A prayerful study of the scriptures on this side of the veil of the Catholic religion can reveal that to you...

28 posted on 05/07/2011 9:24:56 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Natural Law
I wouldn't expect anyone with such obviously limited capabilities to understand.

That's all you got, eh???

29 posted on 05/07/2011 9:26:11 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: Salvation

So where does Jesus mention anything extra scriptural to determine doctrine binding upon the church?


30 posted on 05/07/2011 10:37:51 AM PDT by bkaycee
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To: Salvation

Do you mean Act 15, council in JERUSALEM, presided over by JAMES?


31 posted on 05/07/2011 10:48:27 AM PDT by bkaycee
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LOL! And where does Saint Paul go repeatedly to report on his missions?
 
________________________________________________________________________
 

This table is adapted from White, From Jesus to Christianity.[43] Note that the matching of Paul's travels in the Acts and the travels in his Epistles is done for the reader's convenience and is not approved of by all scholars.

Acts Epistles
  • First visit to Jerusalem[Acts 9:26-27]
    • "after many days" of Damascus conversion
    • preaches openly in Jerusalem with Barnabas
    • meets apostles
  • There is debate over whether Paul's visit in Galatians 2 refers to the visit for famine relief (Acts 11:30, 12:25) or the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). If it refers to the former, then this was the trip made "after an interval of fourteen years" (Gal. 2:1).
  • Another[48] visit to Jerusalem[Gal. 2:1-10]
    • 14 years later (after Damascus conversion?)
    • with Barnabas and Titus
    • possibly the "Council of Jerusalem"
    • Paul agrees to "remember the poor"
    • followed by confrontation with Peter and Barnabas in Antioch[Gal. 2:11-14]
  • Apparently unmentioned.
  • Fifth visit to Jerusalem[Acts 21:17ff]
    • after an absence of several years[Acts 24:17]
    • to bring gifts for the poor and to present offerings
    • Paul arrested
  • Another[49] visit to Jerusalem[50]
    • to deliver the collection for the poor

32 posted on 05/07/2011 2:11:47 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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