Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 3/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 3/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

3) Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on a book?

Simple Answer(s):

Nowhere that we know of.

Important Qualification(s):

1) But all of the apostles' instructions that we know of, we know of from a book.

2) And the apostles did instruct us that the scriptures are sufficient to serve in the role in question:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

- TurretinFan

28 comments:

Carrie said...

Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on a book?

"a book"?

Again, I have to cringe at the flippancy some Catholics can show towards the Word of God. Steve Ray might look a bit less hostile to God's chosen method of revelation if he said something like "Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on the written word of God".

Fortunately or unfortunately, the choice of words and arguments by Catholic epologists show their true colors.

Turretinfan said...

It is always "sacred Scripture" when they are trying to use it to their own ends, but just "a book" when they want to suggest that it is not enough.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

This does not demonstrate that "the scriptures are sufficient to serve in the role in question," anymore than saying that the Lotus Sutra is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" establishes that none of the rest of the Pali canon is of value to Buddhism.

Moreover, considering when Paul was writing, the only Scripture was the Hebrew Bible--the Old Testament. So if we are to take him at your meaning, then why should we even consider the New Testament if the Old is sufficient?

Another problem is that New Testament authors were quite willing to go outside recognized Scriptures while instructing in the Faith. Jude and Peter, for instance, cite things from such fantastical legends as the Assumption of Moses and the Book of Enoch, as well as some related oral traditions.

Your argument falls desperately short. What we can know from St. Paul's declaration is that the Old Testament in its entirety is useful to the Christian Faith and should not be set aside.

Turretinfan said...

a) If the Old Testament Scriptures were sufficient for that purpose, then it is absurd to suggest that the New and Old Testament Scriptures together are insufficient.

b) When Paul was writing he was writing Scripture, something that the Holy Spirit was aware of when inspiring Paul to wrote what Paul wrote.

c) The fact that Paul uses all sorts of non-Scripture for various purposes is really irrelevant to his specific teaching about Scripture (something he does not say is the case with non-Scripture).

natamllc said...

Mr.Miller,

do you consider the "Book of Acts" as a part of the Sacred Scriptures?

Ryan said...

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

No commentary needed.

Strong Tower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SP said...

Carrie.

Is the bible not a 'book?'

I don't see how calling it a 'book' is 'flippant.'

If you are truly interested, here is what the Catholic church teaches about scripture.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"a) If the Old Testament Scriptures were sufficient for that purpose, then it is absurd to suggest that the New and Old Testament Scriptures together are insufficient."

However, they are not. I said that if we were to ascribe the meaning you propose to Paul's words, in light of historical circumstances, that would be what his declaration would imply. Obviously, it is not.

"b) When Paul was writing he was writing Scripture, something that the Holy Spirit was aware of when inspiring Paul to wrote what Paul wrote."

No doubt he was writing Scripture, but he needn't be aware of it at the time. It is only in 2 Peter that we find a recognition of Paul's letters as something of a rule of faith, alongside the Hebrew Scriptures.

In fact, the Pauline corpus was not finally decided until a few hundred years later, and after much debate. Even the final Old Testament canon was debated for centuries thereafter, by both Jews and Christians.

I think you are reading more into Paul's statement than what is really there. You often criticize Roman apologists for reading the papacy into early patristic citations, and usually rightly so, but to then turn around and read what you have into Paul's statement, which is far less conclusive than the proof texts your opponents have recourse to, is unconscionable.

From Paul's statement, all we can know is that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Any talk about what Scriptures are referred to (besides the core of the Hebrew bible), whether these Scriptures are inerrant, and whether they are all that is needed for the life of faith is entirely non sequitur.

If you wish to abide by the principle of not going beyond the letter of Scripture, then do so. But if you want to bring historical tradition and developed ecclesiastical doctrines to bear on your interpretation of the Bible, then announce that you are doing so. Because you are. And it's not wrong.

In fact, how else is one to make a proper interpretation? Although, I maintain, with good reason, that yours in this case is improper.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"c) The fact that Paul uses all sorts of non-Scripture for various purposes is really irrelevant to his specific teaching about Scripture (something he does not say is the case with non-Scripture)."

Of course it's relevant. It's a strong indication of what he considered to be Scripture, if nothing else. It also casts severe doubt on whether your interpretation is the right one to apply to his words.

After all, if Paul says something that does not give any definitive implications that he views the Scriptures as the sole and sufficient rule of faith, and then he goes on to make use of oral traditions and other sources not considered Scriptures, then I am not at all inclined to believe you when you say that Paul views the Scriptures as the sole and sufficient rule of faith. Paul is as what Paul does.

By the way, it was Peter and Jude who cited the Assumption of Moses and Book of Enoch. Please read my posts more carefully.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

Yes, including food, water, guardian angels, a loving family, divine guidance, etc...

This Scripture is entirely irrelevant to whether the Bible alone contains all we need for salvation.

Geoffrey Miller said...

"Mr.Miller,

do you consider the "Book of Acts" as a part of the Sacred Scriptures?"

Yes, natamllc. Because it is the second volume of St. Luke's very reliable history of the deeds of Christ and of the early Church, and was recognized as divinely inspired by the self-same universal Church in a council held under the guidance of the Holy Spirit--divinely inspired in the sense that it truthfully lays out the story of her beginnings and contains spiritual lessons that all Christians should come to know and emulate.

Turretinfan said...

"No doubt he was writing Scripture, but he needn't be aware of it at the time. "

The Holy Spirit was - and necessarily was.

"In fact, the Pauline corpus was not finally decided until a few hundred years later, and after much debate."

The objective reality of the inspiration of Scripture (including of Paul's letters) is something that was recognized by the church to greater or lesser extent immediately, as evidenced by Peter's letter. It was recognized more uniformly later.

"If you wish to abide by the principle of not going beyond the letter of Scripture, then do so."

That's not what sola scriptura entails, as you ought to know.

"Of course it's relevant. It's a strong indication of what he considered to be Scripture, if nothing else."

No it isn't.

"I think you are reading more into Paul's statement than what is really there. You often criticize Roman apologists for reading the papacy into early patristic citations, and usually rightly so, but to then turn around and read what you have into Paul's statement, which is far less conclusive than the proof texts your opponents have recourse to, is unconscionable."

It's a long leap from you disagreeing with my explanation of Scripture to my engaging in unconscionable reading-into of Paul's statement.

Ryan said...

Geoffrey wrote:

"This Scripture is entirely irrelevant to whether the Bible alone contains all we need for salvation."

That's interesting. So Peter's "every effort to see that after [his] departure [we] will always be able to remember these things," he isn't referring what he is writing? One wonders why he would then write that "above all, [we] must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation."

Turretinfan said...

Ryan:

And if he thinks that one is not about Scripture, one wonders what he thinks about this one!

2 Peter 1:19-20

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

-TurretinFan

Ryan said...

I especially wonder how Geoffrey knows "food, water, guardian angels, a loving family, divine guidance, etc." are necessary for life and godliness apart from Scripture, but as I am ever wary of the presence of Van Tillians, I will here digress ;)

natamllc said...

Mr. Miller,

thank you for your answer. And by it I would say you just cut your own throat!

Take your Bible and turn to Acts 13 and 14 and see just how much of what you portent fails in light of what is elucidated within those Words.

And as for the Apostle Paul, why is it his ministry centered around the Words of James at Acts 15?

There at that time we well know there were issues raised by men that then as now, needed to be addressed then as equally these sorts of things now need addressing.

Paul at Acts 20, in my opinion is most relevant as well, in light of his teaching, that, we, the True Elect of God, known before the foundation of the world, are, also, Epistles of Christ too, known and read by all men.

What does Paul teach us at Acts 20 and why?

Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Act 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

When you put Acts 13 and 14 and 15 in the prism of Acts 20, you should quickly realize the realities of both spiritual and human warfare that is opposed to the Mission of the Gospel given to the Church in every generation.

With that, you should know that the Protestant Reformation was an awakening by default to those lessons that had gone away from the Church, primarily because of the sorts of error that is now upon the world promulgated by the RCC even in this generation.

This battle is fought on the streets of every community and now in the houses of families, houses of business, houses of entertainment by the advent of the latest and greater high technologies such, ironically, as this place here, TurrentinFan's blog and our "written" communications between one another.

What does this prove?

It proves just what the Holy Spirit wants us to understand as we can understand it when we take to heart what both the Holy Spirit did in chapter 13 of the book of Acts to those gathered to "minister" to the Lord in prayer and worship, which they learned both by written tradition of the Scriptures and oral traditions in their immediate circumstance; and what Jesus did in chapter 14 and what God Our Heavenly Father did in chapter 15, just as the Scripture teaches:

Pro 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
Pro 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Pro 16:4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Pro 16:5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Pro 16:6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Ransom said...

So far the proof texts given haven't really distinguished the "sola scriptura" position from the Catholic position.

1. The Word of God is of vital importance, more vital than bread.

2. Scriptures are the Word of God, a revelation that comes from Him (not from reasoning of men, etc).

3. All Scripture is inspired, inerrant, profitable etc.

Where are the differentiae? Here you have affirmed no doctrine that Rome denies. As Cardinal Newman says, when a Catholic says that Scripture is not formally sufficient,

We mean that not every article of faith is so contained there, that it may thence be logically proved, independently of the teaching and authority of the Tradition

If this is also true of the Reformed tradition, then the differences lie elsewhere.

SP said...

nata,

I find your citations of scripture and 'proofs' you offer to justify the schism of the Reformation very strange.

Any schismatic sect...the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, the 7th Day Adventists, the Westborn Baptist Church, the Moonies etc can make the claims you are making.

And, please, the 'cutting your own throat' language could be spared.

In a previous thread you made many assumptions about the condition of my soul. I suggest you take a step back.

natamllc said...

Ransom,

ah, Marion doctrines, Transubstantiation, ???, the papacy and ....!

No differences, you say?

Hmmmmmmmm?

natamllc said...

SP,

yes, thanks for the admonition.

I am still waiting for your reply there??

Carrie said...

Is the bible not a 'book?'

Yes, the bible is technically a book. But in reality it is so much more than a book, it is God-breathed. No other "book" can make that claim.

To refer to the Bible as "a book" shows an attempt to reduce it to something simple, as if it is silly to think faith could be based on simply "a book". The choice of words is intentional and revealing.

I have to think that if I referred to my husband or children as the "human beings" I live with, you would be a bit concerned about me. At least I hope you would be.

If you are truly interested, here is what the Catholic church teaches about scripture.

Yes, I am aware of what those documents say. You might want to let Steve Ray in on that, though.

As I said, Steve could have said "written word of God" and not looked so flippant, but that doesn't have quite the same effect, does it?

Turretinfan said...

"Where are the differentiae?"

I'm not sure this post is the best place to look for differentiation between the Reformed and Roman positions. This post answers one of several of Steve Ray's questions. Other posts address the differences between the gospel we preach and that of Rome.

"Here you have affirmed no doctrine that Rome denies."

I trust that Steve Ray would disagree with you, but who knows!

"As Cardinal Newman says, when a Catholic says that Scripture is not formally sufficient, We mean that not every article of faith is so contained there, that it may thence be logically proved, independently of the teaching and authority of the Tradition If this is also true of the Reformed tradition, then the differences lie elsewhere."

That is not also true of the Reformed churches.

-TurretinFan

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

Ray couldn't have used the term "Word of God" because in Catholic dogma, as I'm sure you know, that term includes Sacred Tradition (oral). Ray's point and emphasis center around the written aspect alone. I'm honestly at a loss for how else he could have worded the question without leading to other confusion.

Perhaps something like, "Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on the written word?" would have been better, but I don't know.

BJ

Carrie said...

BJ,

I said he could have used "written word of God". Are you saying leaving out God would be necessary (since you said "written word")or did you just miss what I said?

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

I just missed what you said. Sorry. Comment withdrawn.

BJ

Carrie said...

I just missed what you said. Sorry. Comment withdrawn.

No problem. Just making sure I understood you :)

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

If only I'd do the same, right? :)