Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Do We Catholics Believe? Chapter 2

Sola Scriptura or Not?

Sola Scriptura is a belief held by a large portion of our non-Catholic Christian brethren that God has made His revelation known only through the bible.  This is not consistent with Catholic teaching and belief that though the bible is revelatory, the revelation has also been transmitted through oral apostolic Tradition, and through the teaching authority of the Church.

I personally find this belief to be beyond the pale, and absurd in the extreme, with all due respect to our separated brethren.

It is somewhat founded on a belief by our brothers and sisters that the Catholic Church has unbiblical teachings, and therefor, it follows that we must rely solely on scripture to have a pure faith in Christ.

But, here are two theses that Sola Scriptura must support to be valid.  First, God must not have revealed anything necessary for our salvation outside of the bible, and second, God must have instructed us in the Bible to follow the Bible alone.

One of the first points about whether anything has been revealed about our salvation outside of scripture is how the bible was composed.  Surely, knowing which books form the bible must be instrumental in our knowledge of salvation.  Obviously, if non inspired writings formed part of the bible, then we would be subject to error, which would then make the bible just a book, which no Christian (Catholic or otherwise) believes.

The bible does not have a codex inside it to tell the first Christians what books must form the Bible, and only John in Revelation claims to be writing that book under divine inspiration.  Well, as I basically presented in the previous article, the codex of the Bible was defined by the Catholic Church, and then was done through a rigorous debate that went on for years and years.

So, since the Bible itself was not created based on scripture, but on traditions, including fierce debate, and we all agree that the results were inspired, then Sola Scriptura is false.

Now, we must look to see if the Bible itself instructs us to only follow it.  Where does the Bible tell us that we are to only follow the Bible for our knowledge?  Jesus told us to "Observe all that I have commanded you." in Matthew 28:20.  In John 20:30 we read: "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book."  Where are we going to find all the other things and signs that He left us.

If I were going about a ministry where I thought that God's word would be coming through me in say a prophecy or a word of knowledge, both works of the Holy Spirit, I expect that I would advise those with me to take notes or record what transpired.  That way there would be a record of it.  For example, the prophecies that I have written about in my other blog, "Life in the Spirit" were all recorded and transcribed by someone present at the time.

I can't find anywhere in scripture where Jesus instructed some of his disciples or followers to take good notes.  In the end, of all the books of the bible, only 3 of there are attributed to those who were there with Him.  For the longest time, the words Jesus spoke were handed down orally.  Over time, they were committed to writing so they would not be forgotten.  But all along the way, these men of God were preaching the word, living the word, and sharing the word of God, as were the others that they then anointed to carry on the work, and it was Tradition.

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