Skip to comments.Beating Private Judgment’s Dead Horse
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:
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.
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
>This is a common theory, and I havent 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.
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.
>Oh, I dont know. . .whos 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.
It would be helpful if you would give scriptural references for all of this.
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.
That’s pretty non specific and a good example of personal interpretation of scripture. See my post #6.
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.
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."
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.
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?
Opinions may vary but, on issues of morals or faith, there is only ONE interpretation, not many. Please demonstrate otherwise.
**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
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.
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.
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???
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...