Monday, July 14, 2008

WHAT!!!!! CHARISMATICS DON'T BECOME CATHOLICS!!!! (or do they?) PT5



Wow! It is hard to believe that it has been well over a month since I last hit the BLOGGER. Life is busy with a family and things are really well. It is good to take a step back sometimes and look at what is really important in life.




I really want to continue and be able to put into a written format what really happened to me during my conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. So far what I have covered has been more of emotions. How I felt, etc. Obviously nobody of a logical nature would make a decision based on emotions; especially such an important decision as what I was considering. I guess that reading "Rome Sweet Home" really brought the two major pillars of Protestantism into question into my life. I will probably have time to only deal with one right now so I choose to start with the one that made the biggest impact on me, the portestant doctrine Sola Scriptura. Obviously, I am not entending to present an entire book here on the error of Sola Scriptura as there are many books who do a MUCH better job that I can, but rather my goal here is to give an arial view of the lay of the foundation of the Catholic Faith. I can't touch on everything here.




Just for credit, much of the information that I am using along with the format came from this link by Tim Staples. He may be much easier to read than I am. http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?id=4623&repos=1&subrepos=&searchid=257673



Sacred Scripture--Scriptural???


My entire life, as I said earlier, I was a full believer in the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. If you are a Protestant and are not aware of the doctrine, I would say.....yes you are, even though you may not know it. Here is an example: If I were to ask you to defend or back up any belief, doctrine, or dogma of your faith, where would you go? What would you use? How would you defend it. Of course, you would go to the Bible. Would you use anything else? NO!! Why? Because if you go to any Protestant church's statement of belief, you would come across something of this nature:


The Holy Bible, and only the Bible, is the authoritative Word of God. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. In its original writing, it is inspired, infallible and inerrant.


So my question that I raise on this is the following: Where do we find (in the 66 books of the Bible) that the said 66 books are to be the sole deposit of our faith and the final authority on all doctrinal truths? Furthermore, how are we to know that the 66 books that are listed in the Protestant Bible (73 for Catholics) are inspired and are supossed to be included in the deposit of Sacred Scripture. I will challenge anybody to find it, because it isn't there. If you do, please let me know and I will firmly and definitely recant.


I want to make an interjection at this point. Don't hear what I am not saying. I firmly believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. Period. It is Sacred. It is God's Word to us. My difference here is the teaching that Scripture is the SOLE FINAL deposit of faith and I actually haven't been able to find that taught anywhere in Scripture.


Generally, the verses that people use to back up this teaching will include the following:


II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.






I do believe that Scripture is useful for teaching, correction, and training. However my first point in this verse is that Paul is writing to Timothy and if you read v15, Paul is speaking about the Scriptures that Timothy has learned since his infancy. If this is the case then this verse would not be referring the 66 books as the Protestants believe; it would rather be the Old Testament, as the New Testament and the entire Bible wasn't even compiled at the time this verse was authored. SO, even if this verse WERE referring to the formal sufficiency of Scripture, (which it isn't) it would be referring to the OLD TESTAMENT. Secondly, this verse speaks of how Scripture is meant to beused, it's purpose so to speak. It has no reference to a SOLE SUFFIECNCY of the current 66 books of Scripture. To interpret this way is to read something that is not in the text.




II Peter 1:20-21


20 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.


These verses are a little different......again, they have nothing to do with a formal sufficiency of Scripture. They don't and can't refer to the 66 books of Scripture as the Sole and final deposit of faith. As a matter of fact, the very opposite!! These verses tell us that we CAN'T interpret Scripture individually....It can only mean what it was originally meant to relay. We don't have the ability to "personally" interpret Scripture to fit our own means or situations. Scripture was given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles of Christ, therefore for us to understand the true meaning of any Scripture, we must understand the intention of the Author, in this case the Holy Spirit.


Lastly on this point, I stated earlier that there was not any Scriptural basis to back up the 66 books of Scripture being the Sole and Final deposit of faith. Now the next question is, if the Scriptures aren't the final authority of our faith, who or what is? The answer to that question is something that blew me out of the water and that answer was found in 1Timothy 3:15:



15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.



Read that verse over and over again. Paul wrote Timothy and told him not that the Bible or Sacred Scripture is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth, but that the CHURCH is the Pillar and foundation of Truth. This again is a follow up to what Christ declared to Peter in Matthew:




Matthew 16:18-19


18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."




Again, this is a direct reference to the Church as our foundation. Scriputure is TREMENDOUSLY important...but cannot stand alone. Based on this and much more, I would say that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is NOT Scriptural.




Sola Scriptura--Historical??



If the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not Scriptural, what does history teach us about the authority of Scripture? When we talk about Church history, most of us think about Luther, the Reformation and move forward from there, not remembering and realizing that there WAS a Christian Church before then. What was the Church like 100 years after the Ascension of our Lord? What did they believe? What did they base their faith on? How did they live? The first thing that we have to remember is that the earliest Christians were actually Jews who had accepted Christ as their Messiah and due to this they had been kicked out of the synogogues and had nowhere left to go. They then went to the Christian churches that were meeting at that time on Sundays and were reading these letters that had been circulating from the Apostles of the Church. They had no "Bible", No Old Testament, no New Testament, just the Tanak (Jewish Scriptures) and what was being taught by the Apostles. The Bible that we use wasn't even assembled until the middle of the fourth Century and when it was assembled, who determined what was considered Scripture an what wasn't??? That is right, the Catholic Church. And they stated that all books to be considered Scripture had to meet 4 guidelines: 1)The book had to be written by an Apostle or a disciple of an Apostle 2) it had to be written close to the time of Christ 3) It could not contradict current teaching of the Church and 4) it had to be widely read among the Churches. That, ladies and gentlemen is how we got the New Testament. And by the way, at the time the Canon of Scripture was closed in the 4th Century, it had 73 books and remained that way until the Reformation and Luther. It was at that time that he and some of the other reformers removed the 7 books often referred to as the Apocrypha. My question on this is, who gave him the authority to remove books that had been inserted? I digress......the point is that the Early Church and the Church up to the time of the Reformation had never heard of a doctrine of Sola Scriptura, this is a teaching that has only been taught and accepted since the Reformation. Finally if Sola Scriptura is an "essential" doctrine of our faith, I am guessing that those Christians that lived prior to 397 A.D. either missed out, or were under a different standard...along with all those Christians through the ages and even now in other parts of the world that aren't able to have Scripture...How do they build their faith?



Sola Scriptura---Historical....I don't think so.



Sola Scriptura--Logical??


As a very last item, I want to take a look at if the doctrine of Sola Scriptura actually is logical. So, if you are a Protestant and you believe that Scripture is the sole and final deposit of faith and it is the Word of God, then for it to be Truth, there has to be something or someone to confirm it as truth. That is a basic tenant of logic. Something is not true just because I say it is. "Consensus does not make the untrue true". Therefore, what makes Scripture true? It is not because we were taught it was the Word of God, or because our Pastor taught us it was the Word of God, or because we believe it is the Word of God. Scripture is Scripture and Holy and Inerrant and Inspired because of the fact that the Church that Christ established confirmed and agreed that the books that they had were the Word of God. Bottom line. Now how are we to guarantee that what we believe about Scripture is correct and how it is to be interpreted? If I can read your mind now, you are saying the Holy Spirit that indwells us. The only question that I had about that was two fold. 1) If that is the case, then why is the Holy Spirit telling 10.000+ denominations different things? That isn't very logical. And 2) If the Holy Spirit is guiding me, then how can I guarantee that what I am hearing is actually the Holy Spirit? Again if I am reading your mind you are now saying that what the Holy Spirit is telling you should be confirmed by Scripture. OK...now my head is spinning because if you are like me at this point, there is no plumbline...no solid rule to judge what Scripture really means...no clear interpretation and what we wind up doing is running to a free for all where everybody is doing what they believe the Holy Spirit is telling them to do and if they don't find somebody in their church who agrees with them, they will either find another church that they do agree with or start a new one.
Nowhere in Scripture are we allowed to pick and choose what we do or what we don't believe in. That is a very dangerous road to embark upon and one that I am glad I don't have to go down. I am forever grateful for the guidance and wisdom of the Church and that she protects and guides us perfectly to the heart of our Lord.

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