Skip to comments.Radio Replies Second Volume - Reformers Mistaken
Posted on 05/07/2010 8:53:55 PM PDT by GonzoII
Encoding copyright 2009 by Frederick Manligas Nacino. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
If one recalls the time frame from which Radio Replies emerged, it can explain some of the frankness and lack of tact in the nature of the responses provided.
It was during this timeframe that a considerable amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric came to the forefront, particularly in this country. Much of this developed during the Presidential campaign of Al Smith in 1928, but had its roots in the publication of Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, originally published in book form in 1919 and also published in pamphlet form in 1853.
While in Britain (and consequently Australia), the other fellow would surely have experienced the effects of the Popery Act, the Act of Settlement, the Disenfranchising Act, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and many others since the reformation (that basically boiled down to saying, "We won't kill you if you just be good, quiet little Catholics"). Even the so-called Catholic Relief Acts (1778, 1791, 1829, 1851, 1871) still had huge barriers placed in the way.
And of course, they'd both remember the American Protective Association, "Guy Fawkes Days" (which included burning the Pontiff in effigy), the positions of the Whigs and Ultra-Torries, and so on.
A strong degree of "in your face" from people in the position of authoritativeness was required back in the 1930s, as there was a large contingent of the populations of both the US and the British Empire who were not at all shy about being "in your face" toward Catholics in the first place (in other words, a particularly contentious day on Free Republic would be considered a mild day in some circles back then). Sure, in polite, educated circles, contention was avoided (thus the little ditty about it not being polite to discuss religion in public, along with sex and politics), but it would be naive to assume that we all got along, or anything resembling that, back in the day.
Having said all of the above, reading the articles from the modern mindset and without the historical context that I tried to briefly summarize above, they make challenging reading, due to their bluntness.
The reader should also keep in mind that the official teaching of the Church takes a completely different tone, best summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271
818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276
838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324
269 UR 3 § 1.
270 Cf. CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9,1:PG 13,732.
272 UR 3 § 1.
273 LG 8 § 2.
274 UR 3 § 2; cf. LG 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.
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Radio Replies Volume Two: Destiny of Man/Death
Radio Replies Volume Two: Immortality of Man's Soul & Pre-existence Denied
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Human Free Will
Radio Replies Volume Two: Determinism Absurd
Radio Replies Volume Two: Necessity of Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Salvation of the Soul
Radio Replies Volume Two: Voice of Science
Radio Replies Volume Two: Religious Racketeers
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divine Revelation
Radio Replies Volume Two: Gospels Historical
Radio Replies Volume Two: Missing Books of the Bible
Radio Replies Volume Two: The Bible Inspired
Radio Replies Volume Two: Biblical Account of Creation
Radio Replies Volume Two: New Testament Problems
Radio Replies Volume Two: Source of Christian Teaching
Radio Replies Volume Two: Jewish Rejecton of Christ
Radio Replies Volume Two: Christianity a New Religion
Radio Replies Volume Two: Rational Foundation for Belief
Radio Replies Volume Two: Causes of Unbelief
Radio Replies Volume Two: Divisions Amongst Christians
Radio Replies Volume Two: Schisms Unjustified
Radio Replies Volume Two: Facing the Problem
Radio Replies Volume Two: Wrong Approach
Radio Replies Volume Two: Is One Religion as Good as Another?
I’m weary of revisionists of history. Democrats do that a lot.
The Catholic Church isn’t the true church by its doctrine, and by its actions.
And the true church didn’t all of a sudden reappear in 1517: they were the ones being hunted by the Catholic Church, and SLAUGHTERED because they wanted to read the Bible in their venacular.
The seeds of the Reformation was planted by Bible-believing Christians (Wycliff, Hus, Lollards, Catheri, Waldenses, Paulicians, Donatists, Pricilianists, etc) long before Luther came onto the scene. Luther was in a great position to point out the obvious, what was already known by the Christians.
So the Catholics can take credit for their inquisitions, crusades, indulgences (way to go Johann Tetzel) and the robbery and oppression that made the Dark Ages so dark, but contiued nonetheless during the Age of Exploration of the New World.
If you are looking for the real church.....follow the blood trails of the martyrs. The Catholic Church left plenty of them.
Posted on 11/22/2009 9:10:52 PM PST by GonzoII
of Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
A picture is worth a thousand words. One of the things that brought the attention of the world to the anti-Catholic persecutions in Mexico was the distribution of the photographs of some of the executions.
Una imagen vale más que mil palabras. Una de las cosas que atrajo la atención del mundo a la persecución anticatólica en México fue la distribución de fotografías de algunas de las ejecuciones.
In Father Pro's case, Plutarco Calles wanted the execution to be a "big show" and had instructed his underlings to invite representatives from all the government secretariats, the press, and photographers. His intention was to show the Catholics as groveling cowards. Instead, the photos spoke eloquently of their heroism. After the execution, an attempt was made to recall the photographs, and possession of them became a crime. But the damage had been done -- the world had seen. Today these photos bear mute testimony to the bravery of this martyr for Christ the King.
En el caso del Padre Pro, Plutarco Calles quería que la ejecución fuera un "gran show" y dio instrucciones a sus subordinados para que invitaran a representantes de todos los secretariados del gobierno, a la prensa y a los fotógrafos. Su intención era mostrar a los católicos como viles cobardes. Todo lo contrario: las fotos hablan elocuentemente de su heroísmo. Después de la ejecución, hizo un intento de reunir las fotografías, y el poseerlas se convirtió en delito. Pero la cosa ya estaba hecha, y el mundo las vio. Hoy esas fotos son mudos testimonios de la valentía de este mártir de Cristo Rey.
**They had no divine authority to commence their new forms of religion,**
Not apostolic — Hmmmm.
Nice try. Sleight of hand is a trademark of Catholics.
You show one person was killed by an ungodly government. The Catholic legacy (I say legacy because they earned it), is one of systematic murder by papal policy.
Read Chapter 4 of John Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and then come back to the table.
You don’t read the Bible nor history much do you?
It wasn’t another form of religion. It is called biblical Christianity. Not a 4th century power-grab by Constantine and the rest of the apostate bishops that ran from the Roman persecutions.
2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
That’s all the authority you need.
Foxe’s Book of Martyr is not accepted by any Real Scholar but anyway this might help for the Head of Bishops! But anti-Catholics use it for the half truths anyway.
50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy
[written in 1994 and published on pp. 233-238 of my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism]
See the related paper, Reply to a Critique of my 50 New Testament Proofs for Petrine Primacy and the Papacy, for a fuller explanation of exactly what I think these biblical evidences prove, and how I view them in terms of logical force (i.e., what I would claim for them), especially when considered individually.
The Catholic doctrine of the papacy is biblically-based, and is derived from the evident primacy of St. Peter among the apostles. Like all Christian doctrines, it has undergone development through the centuries, but it hasn’t departed from the essential components already existing in the leadership and prerogatives of St. Peter. These were given to him by our Lord Jesus Christ, acknowledged by his contemporaries, and accepted by the early Church. The biblical Petrine data is quite strong and convincing, by virtue of its cumulative weight, especially for those who are not hostile to the notion of the papacy from the outset. This is especially made clear with the assistance of biblical commentaries. The evidence of Holy Scripture (RSV) follows:
1. Matthew 16:18: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”
The rock (Greek, petra) referred to here is St. Peter himself, not his faith or Jesus Christ. Christ appears here not as the foundation, but as the architect who “builds.” The Church is built, not on confessions, but on confessors - living men (see, e.g., 1 Pet 2:5). Today, the overwhelming consensus of the great majority of all biblical scholars and commentators is in favor of the traditional Catholic understanding. Here St. Peter is spoken of as the foundation-stone of the Church, making him head and superior of the family of God (i.e., the seed of the doctrine of the papacy). Moreover, Rock embodies a metaphor applied to him by Christ in a sense analogous to the suffering and despised Messiah (1 Pet 2:4-8; cf. Mt 21:42). Without a solid foundation a house falls. St. Peter is the foundation, but not founder of the Church, administrator, but not Lord of the Church. The Good Shepherd (John 10:11) gives us other shepherds as well (Eph 4:11).
2. Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . .”
The “power of the keys” has to do with ecclesiastical discipline and administrative authority with regard to the requirements of the faith, as in Isaiah 22:22 (cf. Is 9:6; Job 12:14; Rev 3:7). From this power flows the use of censures, excommunication, absolution, baptismal discipline, the imposition of penances, and legislative powers. In the Old Testament a steward, or prime minister is a man who is “over a house” (Gen 41:40; 43:19; 44:4; 1 Ki 4:6; 16:9; 18:3; 2 Ki 10:5; 15:5; 18:18; Is 22:15,20-21).
3. Matthew 16:19 “. . . whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
“Binding” and “loosing” were technical rabbinical terms, which meant to “forbid” and “permit” with reference to the interpretation of the law, and secondarily to “condemn” or “place under the ban” or “acquit.” Thus, St. Peter and the popes are given the authority to determine the rules for doctrine and life, by virtue of revelation and the Spirit’s leading (Jn 16:13), and to demand obedience from the
Church. “Binding and loosing” represent the legislative and judicial powers of the papacy and the bishops (Mt 18:17-18; Jn 20:23). St. Peter, however, is the only apostle who receives these powers by name and in the singular, making him preeminent.
4. Peter’s name occurs first in all lists of apostles (Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him the “first” (10:2). Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.
5. Peter is almost without exception named first whenever he appears with anyone else. In one (only?) example to the contrary, Galatians 2:9, where he (”Cephas”) is listed after James and before John, he is clearly preeminent in the entire context (e.g., 1:18-19; 2:7-8).
6. Peter alone among the apostles receives a new name, Rock, solemnly conferred (Jn 1:42; Mt 16:18).
7. Likewise, Peter is regarded by Jesus as the Chief Shepherd after Himself (Jn 21:15-17), singularly by name, and over the universal Church, even though others have a similar but subordinate role (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2).
8. Peter alone among the apostles is mentioned by name as having been prayed for by Jesus Christ in order that his “faith may not fail” (Lk 22:32).
9. Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to “strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32).
10. Peter first confesses Christ’s divinity (Mt 16:16).
11. Peter alone is told that he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation (Mt 16:17).
12. Peter is regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity.
13. Peter is regarded by the common people in the same way (Acts 2:37-41; 5:15).
14. Jesus Christ uniquely associates Himself and Peter in the miracle of the tribute-money (Mt 17:24-27).
15. Christ teaches from Peter’s boat, and the miraculous catch of fish follows (Lk 5:1-11): perhaps a metaphor for the pope as a “fisher of men” (cf. Mt 4:19).
16. Peter was the first apostle to set out for, and enter the empty tomb (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:6).
17. Peter is specified by an angel as the leader and representative of the apostles (Mk 16:7).
18. Peter leads the apostles in fishing (Jn 21:2-3,11). The “bark” (boat) of Peter has been regarded by Catholics as a figure of the Church, with Peter at the helm.
19. Peter alone casts himself into the sea to come to Jesus (Jn 21:7).
20. Peter’s words are the first recorded and most important in the upper room before Pentecost (Acts 1:15-22).
21. Peter takes the lead in calling for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22).
22. Peter is the first person to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to “preach the gospel” in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36).
23. Peter works the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a lame man (Acts 3:6-12).
24. Peter utters the first anathema (Ananias and Sapphira) emphatically affirmed by God (Acts 5:2-11)!
25. Peter’s shadow works miracles (Acts 5:15).
26. Peter is the first person after Christ to raise the dead (Acts 9:40).
27. Cornelius is told by an angel to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1-6).
28. Peter is the first to receive the Gentiles, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48).
29. Peter instructs the other apostles on the catholicity (universality) of the Church (Acts 11:5-17).
30. Peter is the object of the first divine interposition on behalf of an individual in the Church Age (an angel delivers him from prison - Acts 12:1-17).
31. The whole Church (strongly implied) offers “earnest prayer” for Peter when he is imprisoned (Acts 12:5).
32. Peter presides over and opens the first Council of Christianity, and lays down principles afterwards accepted by it (Acts 15:7-11).
33. Paul distinguishes the Lord’s post-Resurrection appearances to Peter from those to other apostles (1 Cor 15:4-8). The two disciples on the road to Emmaus make the same distinction (Lk 24:34), in this instance mentioning only Peter (”Simon”), even though they themselves had just seen the risen Jesus within the previous hour (Lk 24:33).
34. Peter is often spoken of as distinct among apostles (Mk 1:36; Lk 9:28,32; Acts 2:37; 5:29; 1 Cor 9:5).
35. Peter is often spokesman for the other apostles, especially at climactic moments (Mk 8:29; Mt 18:21; Lk 9:5; 12:41; Jn 6:67 ff.).
36. Peter’s name is always the first listed of the “inner circle” of the disciples (Peter, James and John - Mt 17:1; 26:37,40; Mk 5:37; 14:37).
37. Peter is often the central figure relating to Jesus in dramatic gospel scenes such as walking on the water (Mt 14:28-32; Lk 5:1 ff., Mk 10:28; Mt 17:24 ff.).
38. Peter is the first to recognize and refute heresy, in Simon Magus (Acts 8:14-24).
39. Peter’s name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together: 191 times (162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon, and 6 as Cephas). John is next in frequency with only 48 appearances, and Peter is present 50% of the time we find John in the Bible! Archbishop Fulton Sheen reckoned that all the other disciples combined were mentioned 130 times. If this is correct, Peter is named a remarkable 60% of the time any disciple is referred to!
40. Peter’s proclamation at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) contains a fully authoritative interpretation of Scripture, a doctrinal decision and a disciplinary decree concerning members of the “House of Israel” (2:36) - an example of “binding and loosing.”
41. Peter was the first “charismatic”, having judged authoritatively the first instance of the gift of tongues as genuine (Acts 2:14-21).
42. Peter is the first to preach Christian repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38).
43. Peter (presumably) takes the lead in the first recorded mass baptism (Acts 2:41).
44. Peter commanded the first Gentile Christians to be baptized (Acts 10:44-48).
45. Peter was the first traveling missionary, and first exercised what would now be called “visitation of the churches” (Acts 9:32-38,43). Paul preached at Damascus immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:20), but hadn’t traveled there for that purpose (God changed his plans!). His missionary journeys begin in Acts 13:2.
46. Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for fifteen days in the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18), and was commissioned by Peter, James and John (Gal 2:9) to preach to the Gentiles.
47. Peter acts, by strong implication, as the chief bishop/shepherd of the Church (1 Pet 5:1), since he exhorts all the other bishops, or “elders.”
48. Peter interprets prophecy (2 Pet 1:16-21).
49. Peter corrects those who misuse Paul’s writings (2 Pet 3:15-16).
50. Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, according to most scholars, as its bishop, and as the universal bishop (or, pope) of the early Church. “Babylon” (1 Pet 5:13) is regarded as code for Rome.
In conclusion, it strains credulity to think that God would present St. Peter with such prominence in the Bible, without some meaning and import for later Christian history; in particular, Church government. The papacy is the most plausible (we believe actual) fulfillment of this.
by Dave Armstrong
Foxe based his accounts of martyrs before the early modern period on previous writers, including Eusebius, Bede, Matthew Paris, and many others; and his accounts of these early events were no more accurate than his sources.
Foxe’s great contribution, however, was his compilation of the English martyrs from the period of the Lollards through the persecution of Mary I. Here Foxe had primary sources of all kinds to draw on: episcopal registers, reports of trials, and the testimony of eyewitnesses, a remarkable range of sources for English historical writing of the period.
Nevertheless, Foxe often treated this material casually, and any reader “must be prepared to meet plenty of small errors and inconsistencies.” Furthermore, Foxe did not hold to later notions of neutrality or objectivity. He made unambiguous side glosses on his text, such as “Mark the apish pageants of these popelings” and “This answer smelleth of forging and crafty packing.”
The material contained in the work is generally accurate, although selectively presented. Sometimes he copied documents verbatim; sometimes he adapted them to his own use. Although both he and his contemporary readers were more credulous than most moderns, Foxe presented “lifelike and vivid pictures of the manners and feelings of the day, full of details that could never have been invented by a forger.” Foxe’s method of using his sources “proclaims the honest man, the sincere seeker after truth.”
Evaluation and perspectives
For the English Church, Foxe’s book remains a fundamental witness to the sufferings of faithful Christians at the hands of the anti-Protestant Roman Catholic authorities and to the miracle of their endurance unto death, sustained and comforted by the faith to which they bore living witness as martyrs. Foxe emphasizes the right of English people to hear or read the Holy Scripture in their own language and receive its message directly rather than as mediated through a priesthood. The valour of the martyrs in the face of persecution became a component of English identity.
Foxe is more accurate when dealing with events during his own time, and his book is in no sense an impartial account of the period. Yet, although the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica accused Foxe of “wilful falsification of evidence,” J. F. Mozley maintains that Foxe preserves a high standard of honesty; and the 2009 Encyclopædia Britannica notes that Foxe’s work is “factually detailed and preserves much firsthand material on the English Reformation unobtainable elsewhere.”
Roman Catholics consider Foxe a significant source of English anti-Catholicism, charging among other objections to the work, that the treatment of martyrdoms under Mary ignores contemporary mingling of political and religious motivesfor instance, ignoring the possibility that some victims may have intrigued to remove Mary from the throne. In fact, as David Loades has noted, Foxe’s history of the political situation is “remarkably objective. He makes no attempt to make martyrs out of Wyatt and his followers, or anyone else who was executed for treason, except George Eagles, who he describes as falsely accused.”
Dual martyrdom by burning, 1558; from a 1641 edition of Foxe.
After Foxe’s death, the Acts and Monuments continued to be published and appreciatively read. John Burrow refers to it as, after the Bible, “the greatest single influence on English Protestant thinking of the late Tudor and early Stuart period.” 
By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the work tended to be abbreviated to include only “the most sensational episodes of torture and death” thus giving to Foxe’s work “a lurid quality which was certainly far from the author’s intention.” Because Foxe was used to attack Catholicism and a rising tide of high-church Anglicanism, the book’s credibility was challenged in the early nineteenth century by a number of authors, most importantly, Samuel R. Maitland. In the words of one Catholic Victorian, after Maitland’s critique, “no one with any literary pretensions...ventured to quote Foxe as an authority.”
The publication of J. F. Mozley’s biography of Foxe in 1940 reflected a change in perspective that reevaluated Foxe’s work and “initiated a rehabilitation of Foxe as a historian which has continued to this day.” Recently, renewed interest in Foxe as a seminal figure in early modern studies created a demand for a new critical edition of the Actes and Monuments, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs Variorum Edition.
In the words of Thomas S. Freeman, one of the most important living Foxe scholars, “current scholarship has formed a more complex and nuanced estimate of the accuracy of Acts and Monuments....Perhaps [Foxe] may be most profitably seen in the same light as a barrister pleading a case for a client he knows to be innocent and whom he is determined to save. Like the hypothetical barrister, Foxe had to deal with the evidence of what actually happened, evidence that he was rarely in a position to forge. But he would not present facts damaging to his client, and he had the skills that enabled him to arrange the evidence so as to make it conform to what he wanted it to say. Like the barrister, Foxe presents crucial evidence and tells one side of a story which must be heard. But he should never be read uncritically, and his partisan objectives should always be kept in mind.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxe’s_Book_of_Martyrs
The Catholic Church Has Always Been the Enemy of the Bible (???)
This is one of those chapters originally intended for my upcoming book, The One-Minute Apologist. It didn’t make the final cut.
The Book of Kells (Ireland): famous Bible manuscript produced during
the supposed Catholic “biblical dark ages”
* * * * *
BIBLE AND TRADITION
The Catholic Church has always been the enemy of the Bible
Thats why it had chained Bibles and forbade Bible translations in the vernacular
This is one of the most cherished anti-Catholic myths, yet it is an outrageous falsehood: easily disproven by fair-minded historical investigation. The facts which run counter to this viewpoint will be summarized below.
Perhaps the best and most decisive response to this myth is to cite the preface of the King James 1611 English translation of the Bible, which describes the long history of vernacular translations in England long before Protestantism ever arose:
Much about that time , even our King Richard the Second’s days, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen that divers translated, as it is very probable, in that age . . . So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, . . . but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, . . .
The history of English Bible translation (preceded earlier by editions in the earlier common language of Anglo-Saxon) is very long, starting with Caedmon in the 7th century, Aldhelm (c. 700), the Venerable Bede (d. 735), followed by Eadhelm, Guthlac, and Egbert (all in Saxon, the vernacular language of that time in England). King Alfred the Great (849-99) translated the Bible, as did Aelfric (d.c. 1020). Middle English translations included those of Orm (late 12th c.) and Richard Rolle (d. 1349).
Vernacular Bibles in many languages appeared throughout the early and late Middle Ages (after Latin ceased being a common, widespread language). Between 1466 and 1517 fourteen translations of the Bible were published in High German, and five in Low German. Raban Maur had translated the entire Bible into Teutonic, or old German, in the late 8th century. Between 1450 to 1520 there were ten French translations, and also Bibles rendered in Belgian, Bohemian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Russian. 25 Italian versions (with express Church sanction) appeared before 1500, starting at Venice in 1471.
The accusation that the Catholic Church chained Bibles in order to keep them from the common people, is equally wrongheaded and historically misinformed. The exact opposite is true: Bibles were chained in libraries so that they would not be stolen, precisely because they were so valued and treasured (especially before the invention of the movable-type printing press in the mid-15th century), in order to be more accessible to all. Protestants did the same thing themselves for some 300 years. For example, Eton and Merton Colleges (Oxford) did not remove their chained Bibles until the 18th century.
But it is undeniable that the Catholic Church has (at least sometimes) forbidden reading the Bible in the vernacular: for example, the Synod of Toulouse in 1229. How can that be explained, except as a result of hostility to the Bible? If the Bible were allowed to be read in the language of the people, it would stop false doctrine, not promote it. Therefore, the Catholic Church is scared to let people read it.
Reply to Objection
The Catholic Church, as the guardian of Holy Scripture, opposed only unauthorized translations, which is no different from many Protestants today who protest against various translations as liberal or inaccurate, due to a perceived bias based on the religious beliefs of the translator(s). This flows from a praiseworthy concern for the accurate transmission of Gods word. Likewise, the Catholic Church is entitled to have an opinion on the matter without being unjustly accused of being anti-Bible. The early Protestants, including Martin Luther himself, often censored or prohibited Catholic translations in their districts, on the same basis (while they also were prohibiting the Mass). It is a double standard, then, to accuse the Catholic Church of something that Protestants have always selectively done, too.
The Church, its true, prohibited vernacular Bible reading in some circumstances because false doctrine was already rampant, such as in 1229, when the bizarre Gnostic cult of Catharism was influential. Protestants claim that the Bible is clear enough to stop such cults, yet since they have never achieved doctrinal unity in their own ranks based on the Bible Alone, this premise is highly questionable. Moreover, this objection neglects to see that all Bible interpretation occurs within a context of an overall belief-system and tradition. If Baptists read the Bible together, they will arrive at Baptist doctrine, because groups have a way of preserving their own particular beliefs and biases.
James Gairdner (Protestant Church historian)
The truth is, the Church of Rome was not at all opposed to the making of translations of Scripture or to placing them in the hands of the laity under what were deemed proper precautions. It was only judged necessary to see that no unauthorized or corrupt translations got abroad; and even in this matter it would seem that the authorities were not roused to special vigilance till they took alarm at the diffusion of Wycliffite translations in the generation after his death.
. . . To the possession by worthy lay men of licensed translations the Church was never opposed; but to place such a weapon as an English Bible in the hands of men who had no regard for authority, and who would use it without being instructed how to use it properly, was dangerous not only to the souls of those who read, but to the peace and order of the Church.
(Lollardy and the Reformation in England, Vol. 1 of 4, 1908, 105, 117)
Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Sola Scriptura is Not Taught in the Bible
2. “Word of God”
3. Tradition is Not a Dirty Word
4. Jesus and Paul Accepted Non-Biblical Oral and Written Traditions
5. Jerusalem Council
6. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Oral, Extrabiblical Tradition
7. OT Jews Did Not Believe in Sola Scriptura / Necessity of Interpretation
8. 2 Timothy 3:16-17: The Protestant “Proof Text”
9. Paul Casually Assumes that His Passed-Down Tradition is Infallible and Binding
10. Sola Scriptura is a Radically Circular Position
1. Sola Scriptura is Not Taught in the Bible
Scripture certainly is a “standard of truth” (we agree fully with Protestants), even the preeminent one, but not in a sense that rules out the binding authority of authentic apostolic Tradition and the Church. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Catholics agree with Protestants that Scripture is materially sufficient. In other words, every true doctrine can be found in the Bible, if only implicitly and indirectly by deduction. But no biblical passage teaches that Scripture is the formal authority or Rule of Faith for the Christian (formal sufficiency), in isolation from the Church and Apostolic Tradition. Sola Scriptura can’t even be deduced from implicit passages. Protestants try to make that argument, but (with all due respect) I think the effort is doomed to failure. I’ve never seen it, and I’ve discussed the issue with Protestants many, many times in the 13 years since my conversion.
2. “Word of God”
“Word” in Holy Scripture quite often refers to a proclaimed, oral word of prophets or apostles. Prophets spoke the word of God, whether or not their utterances were later recorded as written Scripture. So for example, we read in Jeremiah 25:3,7-8 (NIV):
3 For twenty-three years- . . . the word of the LORD has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, . . .
7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the LORD , . . .
8 Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words,
This was the word of God or word of the Lord whether or not it was recorded in writing or made it into later canonized Scripture. It had equal authority in writing or as proclamation-never-reduced-to-writing. This was also true of apostolic preaching. When the phrases word of God or word of the Lord appear in Acts and the Epistles, they almost alway refer to oral preaching, not to Scripture. For example:
1 Thessalonians 2:13 . . . when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God
If we compare this passage with another, written to the same church, Paul appears to regard tradition and word of God as synonymous:
2 Thessalonians 3:6 . . . keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
3. Tradition is Not a Dirty Word
Protestants often quote the verses in the Bible where corrupt traditions of men are condemned (e.g., Matt 15:2-6, Mk 7:8-13, Col 2:8). Of course, Catholics agree with this. But it’s not the whole truth. True, apostolic traditions are also positively endorsed. These traditions are in total harmony with and consistent with Scripture. In that sense, Scripture is the “final Judge” of Tradition, but not in the sense that it rules out all binding Tradition and Church authority. Here are a few relevant verses (RSV):
1 Corinthians 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 . . . stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth, or by letter.
2 Timothy 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me . . . guard the truth which has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
2 Timothy 2:2 And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Jude 3 . . . contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
[cf. Acts 2:42, which mentions “the apostles’ teaching”]
4. Jesus and Paul Accepted Non-Biblical Oral and Written Traditions
Protestants defending sola Scriptura will claim that Jesus and Paul accepted the authority of the Old Testament. This is true, but they also appealed to other authority, outside of written revelation. For example:
A) Matthew 2:23: the reference to “. . . He shall be called a Nazarene “ cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was passed down “by the prophets.” Thus, a prophecy, which is considered to be “God’s Word” was passed down orally, rather than through Scripture.
B) Matthew 23:2-3: Jesus teaches that the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding authority, based on Moses’ seat, which phrase (or idea) cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament. It is found in the (originally oral) Mishna, where a sort of “teaching succession” from Moses on down is taught.
And now two examples from the Apostle Paul:
C) In 1 Corinthians 10:4, St. Paul refers to a rock which “followed” the Jews through the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement, in the related passages about Moses striking the rock to produce water (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:2-13). But rabbinic tradition does.
D) 2 Timothy 3:8: “As Jannes and Jambres oppsed Moses . . . “ These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (Exodus 7:8 ff.), or anywhere else in the Old Testament.
5. Jerusalem Council
In the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-30), we see Peter and James speaking with authority. This Council makes an authoritative pronouncement (citing the Holy Spirit) which was binding on all Christians:
Acts 15:28-29: For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.
In the next chapter, we read that Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling around “through the cities,” and Scripture says that:
. . . they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.
This is Church authority. They simply proclaimed the decree as true and binding — with the sanction of the Holy Spirit Himself! Thus we see in the Bible an instance of the gift of infallibility that the Catholic Church claims for itself when it assembles in a council.
6. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Oral, Extrabiblical Tradition
Christianity was derived in many ways from the Pharisaical tradition of Judaism. The Sadducees, on the other hand, were much more heretical. They rejected the future resurrection and the soul, the afterlife, rewards and retribution, demons and angels, and predestinarianism. The Sadducees were the theological liberals of that time. Christian Pharisees are referred to in Acts 15:5 and Philippians 3:5, but the Bible never mentions Christian Sadducees. The Sadducees also rejected all authoritative oral teaching, and essentially believed in sola Scriptura. So neither the (orthodox) Old Testament Jews nor the early Church were guided by the principle of sola Scriptura. The Pharisees (despite their corruptions and excesses) were the mainstream Jewish tradition, and both Jesus and Paul acknowledge this.
7. Old Testament Jews Did Not Believe in Sola Scriptura / Necessity of Interpretation
To give two examples from the Old Testament itself:
A) Ezra 7:6,10: Ezra, a priest and scribe, studied the Jewish law and taught it to Israel, and his authority was binding, under pain of imprisonment, banishment, loss of goods, and even death (7:25-26).
B) Nehemiah 8:1-8: Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people in Jerusalem (8:3). In 8:7 we find thirteen Levites who assisted Ezra, and who helped the people to understand the law. Much earlier, we find Levites exercising the same function (2 Chronicles 17:8-9). In Nehemiah 8:8: . . . they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
So the people did indeed understand the law (Neh 8:12), but not without much assistance - not merely upon hearing. Likewise, the Bible is not altogether clear in and of itself, but requires the aid of teachers who are more familiar with biblical styles and Hebrew idiom, background, context, exegesis and cross-reference, hermeneutical principles, original languages, etc. The Old Testament, then, teaches about a binding Tradition and need for authoritative interpreters, as does the New Testament:
C) And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch . . . seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah . . . So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?”
(Acts 8:27-28, 30-31)
D) . . . no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.
(2 Peter 1:20)
E) . . . So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him . . . There are some things in them [Paul’s letters] hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
(2 Peter 3:15-16)
F) With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
8. 2 Timothy 3:16-17: The Protestant “Proof Text”
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (RSV)
This passage doesn’t teach formal sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and Church. Protestants extrapolate onto the text what isn’t there. If we look at the overall context of this passage, in 2 Timothy alone, Paul makes reference to oral Tradition three times (1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14). And to use an analogy, let’s examine a very similar passage, Ephesians 4:11-15:
And his gifts were that some should be apostle, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are able to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
If 2nd Timothy 3 proves the sole sufficiency of Scripture, then by analogy, Ephesians 4 would likewise prove the sufficiency of pastors, teachers and so forth for the attainment of Christian perfection. In Ephesians 4:11-15 the Christian believer is equipped, built up, brought into unity and mature manhood, knowledge of Jesus, the fulness of Christ, and even preserved from doctrinal confusion by means of the teaching function of the Church. This is a far stronger statement of the perfecting of the saints than 2 Timothy 3:16-17, yet it doesn’t even mention Scripture.
So if all non-scriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. It is far more reasonable to recognize that the absence of one or more elements in one passage does not mean they are nonexistent. The Church and Scripture are both equally necessary and important for teaching. And of course this is the Catholic view.
9. Paul Casually Assumes that His Passed-Down Tradition is Infallible and Binding
If Paul wasn’t assuming that, he would have been commanding his followers to adhere to a mistaken doctrine. He writes, for example:
2 Thessalonians 3:14 If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.
Romans 16:17: . . . take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in
opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.
Paul didn’t write:
. . . . in opposition to the pretty-much, mostly, largely true but not infallible doctrine which you have been taught . . .
10. Sola Scriptura is a Radically Circular Position
When all is said and done, Protestants who accept sola Scriptura as their Rule of Faith appeal to the Bible. If they are asked why one should believe in their particular denominational teaching rather than another, each will appeal to the “Bible’s clear teaching” and oftentimes act as if they have no tradition which guides their own interpretation.
This is similar to people on two sides of a legal, constitutional debate both saying, “well, we go by what is constitutional, whereas you guys don’t.” The U.S. Constitution, like the Bible, is not sufficient in and of itself to resolve differing interpretations. Judges and courts are necessary, and their decrees are binding. Supreme Court rulings cannot be overturned except by a future Supreme Court or by constitutional amendment. In any event, there is always a final appeal which settles the matter.
But Protestantism lacks this because it appeals to a logically self-defeating principle and a book (which must always be interpreted by human beings). Obviously (given the divisions in Protestantism) simply “going to the Bible” hasn’t worked. In the end, a person has no assurance or certainty in the Protestant system. They can only “go to the Bible” themselves and perhaps come up with another doctrinal version of some disputed doctrine to add to the list. One either believes there is one truth in any given theological dispute (whatever it is) or they adopt a relativist or indifferentist position, where contradictions are fine or where the doctrine is so “minor” that differences “don’t matter.”
But the Bible doesn’t teach that whole categories of doctrines are “minor” and that Christians can freely and joyfully disagree in such a fashion. Denominationalism and divisions are vigorously condemned. The only conclusion we can reach from the Bible is what we call the “three-legged stool”: Bible, Church, and Tradition are all necessary to arrive at truth. If you knock out any leg of a three-legged stool, it collapses.
See also the published version of this article, from This Rock, September 2004.
Posted by Dave Armstrong
Even if that were true it would make him no less the successor of Peter.
Let me get this straight, the centuries of a Roman Catholic murdering machine is justified because of a verse taken totally out of context that manufactures apostolic succession?
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
See ya later..
Looking at your citations, it comes down to one word: hermaneutics.
I’d check out Roy Zuck’s Basic Bible Interpretation. Even if you don’t agree with Zuck, you’d most certainly know the position of Christian orthodoxy.
Even from a basic understanding of the O.T., it is a history of man going away from God’s Word, as it was disseminated during each age. In essence, it is a history of man’s rebellion against Scripture Alone. I don’t see how that can be ignored or refuted. I supppose folks can make up their own religion: but it isn’t healthy in the end.
Your OT citations are from an age where there were PROPHETS that spoke directly from God.
Your Gospel citations ignore the mystery of the church, which wasn’t revealed in the O.T., and it ignores the fact that the Gospels are themselves historical and transistional books.
Acts is a history and transistional book itself. The apostles’ part in forming the church was writing most of what the N.T. is.
Your citation on Jeremiah is amusing. You missed the fact that Jeremiah had a preaching ministry. Of course not everything he uttered became Scripture: but he didn’t contradict Scripture’ and God inspired him to record what God wanted.
Tradition isn’t a bad word, I agree. It is bad when it is at odds with Scripture. That’s the Christian position.
As for the Tim, Thess, and Cor citations: Do you realize you just made the case for me because Paul’s ministry, as with the other apostles, was to be the foundation for the N.T.? He wasn’t talking about some other nebulous tradition that would form 300+ years later.
As for teaching the Bible, that is the role of the Holy Spirit. An unregenerated man cannot learn it. And that has been the problem with Catholics throughout its history: it can’t understand the Bible, so it makes up it own rules, and slaughters those that oppose it (although it can’t do that now because truth exposed it for what it is).
Two sides, and we are never coming to the middle because there is no middle ground.
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