1) Definition of Sola Scriptura
Scott Windsor denies that there is any standard definition of Sola Scriptura. Then, he claims: "The problem we have is that TF didn't provide us with the 'standard definition,' and left us to assume." How that could possibly be "the problem," is beyond me, but I'll be happy to help Scott identify a standard definition. Chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith is one standard definition of Sola Scriptura. The first paragraph of that chapter reads:
Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.(source)
2) Historical Aspect vs. Doctrinal Aspect of Sola Scriptura
Although Scott doesn't specifically state whether he understands and/or accepts the distinction, he nevertheless responds:
TF seems to be unaware of my argument that Scripture itself points us to another infallible source! The bishops! Matthew 18:18 shows us Jesus giving infallible authority to the bishops as a group - that whatsoever the bind or loose on Earth is bound or loosed in Heaven. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus gives this same authority to Peter alone (and noting this was two chapters earlier, Peter received this authority not only alone, but in primacy).This is an interesting argument for two reasons: (1) the power of binding and loosing is understood in Roman Catholicism in reference to the supposed power of the confessional - not to the interpretation of Scripture and (2) there is no mention of infallibility in those passages, nor does Rome claim infallibility in matters of discipline (with respect to which the Confessional relates).
As evidence of the Roman Catholic view of Matthew 18:18, I provide the following catechism items.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) item 1444:
In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ's solemn words to Simon Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head."(source)
Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep." The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.(source)
3) The "You are no better than us" Issue
I had tried to explain to Scott that the "you are no better than us" argument is one that undermines the validity of a criticism (in this case his criticism of us is not a significant criticism because he doesn't offer us an alternative to which the criticism wouldn't apply). He doesn't seem to get it. I'm not sure how I can explain it more clearly. Perhaps a second example would help: If an Anglican were to criticize the Roman Catholics for having an hierarchical episcopate, it would be legitimate for a Roman Catholic to point out that Anglicans themselves have that approach. In this example, the criticism is right (the Roman system is hierarchical) - it's just not significant as a criticism in an Anglican-Roman dialog, because the Anglicans also have a hierarchical system.
4) Canon in Flux?
After complaining that he hadn't suggested that there were many debates over the canon, Scott seems to express confusion about my comment that the canon itself is not in flux. The reason for Scott's seeming confusion appears to be his continual conflation of the canon and the recognition of the canon. The canon itself is simply an objective reality: such and such a number of books were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The recognition of the canon is what varies: sometimes a person or group fails to recognize one or more books that are part of the canon or thinks they have recognized a canonical book when (in fact) it is not a book that the Holy Spirit inspired.
5) Infallible Knowledge of the Canon
Scott also appears not to have understood the fifth section. In the fifth section we had tried to help Scott understand the difference between the Scripture (which is an infallible rule of faith) and us the readers of Scripture (we are fallible men). Scott seems to have trouble following this distinction.
Scott actually goes so far as to write:
So TF is conceding, apparently for both White and himself, that Scripture does not contain infallible knowledge of the canon of Scripture. That satisfies my point! The canon itself cannot be infallibly known to Protestants for their "sole infallible source" does not, by TF's admission here contain "infallible knowledge of the canon of Scripture."(emphasis his)
This comment from Scott is misleading. What we indicated is that we don't claim an infallible knowledge. However, Scripture itself is infallible. Infallibility is a property of divine revelation, not of the human listener. Whatever Scripture reveals it reveals infallibly - however, whatever we know, we necessarily know fallibly. That is because the Scriptures are infallible, but we are fallible.
6) Canon Closure vs. Canon Recognition
I had indicated that Scott is confused regarding the distinction between canon closure and canon recognition. Indeed he writes:
Here TF again accuses me of confusion, where I have none. He also misstates the closure of the canon as being when the last writer wrote the last book when that is not true!Scott's wrong. That is exactly when the canon closed. When the Spirit stopped inspiring, the canon closed. The distinction between canon closure and canon recognition has been pointed out repeatedly to Scott (both by me and Steve) and yet Scott argues, as support for a later canon closure date:
The canon process took centuries to "close." Books by St. Clement, the Shepherd of Hermes, etc. were included in several "canons" in the Early Church, yet were excluded when the canon process finally ended in the late 4th century. Then this closed canon was made de fide by the Council of Trent in the 16th century to end the discussion once and for all since protestors against the Faith had brought it up again.This discussion from Scott, however, relates to canon recognition, not canon closure. Trent arguably closed the door on recognition of additional books or non-recognition of books in its list, but the canon itself (the objective fact of inspiration) has been exactly the same from the time of inspiration.
7) KJV 1611 and the Apocrypha
Scott seems to think that the fact that the 1611 KJV contained marginal notes including cross-references to the Apocrypha and cross-references from the Apocrypha to the canonical Scriptures is somehow significant. Why he thinks this is completely mystifying. After all, the KJV was published in light of the 1572 Thirty-Nine Articles, which stated:
And the other bookes, (as Hierome sayth) the Churche doth reade for example of lyfe and instruction of maners: but yet doth it not applie them to establishe any doctnne.Such are these followyng.(source)
The third booke of Esdras. The fourth booke of Esdras. The booke of Tobias. The booke of ludith. The rest of the booke of Hester. The booke of Wisdome. lesus the sonne of Sirach. Baruch, the prophet. Song of the .3. Children. The stone of Susanna. Of Bel and the Dragon. The prayer of Manasses. The .1. booke of Machab. The .2. booke of Macha.
Likewise, the Scottish Confession of 1560 stated in Chapter 18:
And such kirks we, the inhabitants of the realm of Scotland, professors of Christ Jesus, confess ourselves to have in our cities, towns, and places reformed; for the doctrine taught in our kirks is contained in the written word of God: to wit, in the books of the New and Old Testaments: in those books, we mean, which of the ancient have been reputed canonical, in the which we affirm that all things necessary to be believed for the salvation of mankind are sufficiently expressed.(source)
The Irish Articles of 1615 (while obviously post-dating the 1611 KJV) still express the contemporary sentiment among the churches that were behind the KJV and its translation/publication (from the section, Of the Holy Scripture and the three Creeds.):
3. The other Books commonly called Apocryphal did not proceed from such inspiration and therefore are not of sufficient authority to establish any point of doctrine; but the Church doth read them as Books containing many worthy things for example of life and instruction of manners.(source)
Such are these following:
· The third book of Esdras.
· The fourth book of Esdras.
· The book of Tobias.
· The book of Judith.
· Additions to the book of Esther.
· The book of Wisdom.
· The book of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, called Ecclesiasticus.
· Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah.
· The song of the three Children.
· Bel and the Dragon.
· The prayer of Manasses.
· The First book of Maccabees.
· The Second book of Maccabees.
It's puzzling that Scott would think that any reader would be unaware of this context, and yet if they were aware of that context, the cross-references would seem totally irrelevant to the discussion.
Scott posed the following questions:
Now, how about the significant points from my response to Mr. Hays? Agree or disagree?I tend to avoid answering loaded questions with a simple answer. It creates confusion for the reader.
1) The teaching of satis scriptura is NOT sola scriptura.
2) Sola scriptura is not taught in Scripture. Some Protestants will admit to this fact, will Mr. Hays or TurretinFan do so?
3) Nowhere in Scripture will we find the listing (canon) of what should comprise the Canon of Sacred Scripture.
4) Interpretation of an implicit teaching in Scripture is still extra scriptura.
5) Steve resorted to the invalid argumentum ad hominem several times (and I appreciate the fact that TurrentinFan did not).
6) Steve seemed to confuse the Pentateuch with the Canon of the Old Testament, and I quote: "So from the time Moses wrote the Pentateuch until the Council of Trent in the 16C, the Jews were without a canon of Scripture." The Pentateuch refers ONLY to the first 5 books of Moses, also known as the Torah.
7) Scripture remains a PART OF Catholic Tradition. No matter how much Steve or TF would like to remove that from OUR Sacred Tradition, they cannot.
There were other points, but these should suffice for now and I would like to know how both Steve and TurretinFan responds to them with a simple (Agree) or (Disagree) before going into an explanation of why they agree or disagree.
As to item (1): "The teaching of satis scriptura is NOT sola scriptura"
I don't agree. Sola Scriptura reduces to Satis Scriptura.
As to item (2): "Sola scriptura is not taught in Scripture."
I don't agree. Sola Scriptura is taught in Scripture.
As to item (3): "Nowhere in Scripture will we find the listing (canon) of what should comprise the Canon of Sacred Scripture."
The listing as such is derivable, given that we have the books in hand. However, the listing as such is not. I guess that is a "disagree" as well, since I wouldn't use Scott's wording.
As to item (4): "Interpretation of an implicit teaching in Scripture is still extra scriptura."
I don't agree - at least, I don't agree if "implicit" includes things that are properly derived from Scripture but simply aren't explicit in Scripture. It's not completely clear what Scott views as "implicit."
As to item (5): "Steve resorted to the invalid argumentum ad hominem several times (and I appreciate the fact that TurrentinFan did not)."
I'll leave that one for Steve to answer.
As to item (6): "Steve seemed to confuse the Pentateuch with the Canon of the Old Testament ... ."
I disagree. The Canon of the Old Testament began with (the first book of) the Pentateuch and continued to expand as the Spirit inspired more and more books. It closed with the penning of the last book of the Old Testament. (Note that I am referring to the closing of the canon not the recognition of the canon.)
As to item (7): "Scripture remains a PART OF Catholic Tradition."
I disagree. It is (for Rome) made void through human tradition, just as it was for the Jews.
I hope those answers help Scott.