Friday, January 22, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 13/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 13/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

13) Where does the Bible claim to be the sole authority for Christians in matters of faith and morals?

Simple Answer(s):

Nowhere that we know of.

Important Qualification(s):

1) The reason for the "nowhere" answer is the misleading/loaded wording of the question. There was a similar problem with the first question (1) Where did Jesus give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?). These are questions like the question asked in the garden by the serpent about the prohibition on eating fruit.

2) The Holy Spirit, after all, is an authority for Christian in matters of faith and morals, and the Holy Spirit speaks not only through the Scripture but also through general revelation and the conscience.

3) Additionally, while they are not infallible authorities, the church are nevertheless authorities.

- TurretinFan

5 comments:

Nick said...

The difficulty with addressing these 35 questions one at a time (or even Ray writing 35 questions when most are simply variations of others) is that the same things keep getting repeated over the course of 35 different blog posts.

What continues to baffle me is that there is no answer, from Scripture, to the (same basic) question: Where does the Bible claim to be the sole authority for Christians in matters of faith and morals?

To respond "nowhere" is nothing short of an admission that it's unBiblical. A doctrine so critical as SS, if true, surely should be taught clearly and repeatedly. Protestants are quick to jump on the Assumption of Mary and such, on the primary grounds that "it's not found in the Bible" (or at least not clearly enough to warrant implicit evidence), yet when it comes to a cornerstone teaching of the Christian faith, Sola Scriptura, the response is that the Bible doesn't mandate it.

The answer I would expect, for a doctrine as important as that, is for you to turn to your top 3 passages which you believe clearly teach the doctrine under question and explain your reasoning.

I don't agree that these are questions like that of the serpent, for the serpent was lying, not to mention Adam and Eve gave the wrong answer.

louis said...

Nick,

I think many Roman Catholics don't really understand what protestants mean by "sola scriptura". And they seem to analyze it in a different framework from what we do. So we end up talking past each other. If you're really interested, take a look at some of the recent posts over at Triablogue and try to understand it from our perspective. You can start here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2010/01/principles-of-sola-scriptura.html

Regards,

john said...

“13) Where does the Bible claim to be the sole authority for Christians in matters of faith and morals?

Simple Answer(s):

Nowhere that we know of.”

Which means sola scriptora is only a doctrine from silence.

”Important Qualification(s):

1) The reason for the "nowhere" answer is the misleading/loaded wording of the question. There was a similar problem with the first question (1) Where did Jesus give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?). These are questions like the question asked in the garden by the serpent about the prohibition on eating fruit.”

Why are Steves questions like the serpent in the garden? There’s simply no comparison developed, but only asserted. If Jesus didn’t command the apostles to write anything, let alone want the gospel to be confined to a book, then Jesus as the infinitely wise God, made a big pedagogical error. He failed to teach the apostles something that was fundamental and indispensable to the transmission of the gospel.

”2) The Holy Spirit, after all, is an authority for Christian in matters of faith and morals, and the Holy Spirit speaks not only through the Scripture but also through general revelation and the conscience.

Which is to have the HS act outside Sola scriptora.

”3) Additionally, while they are not infallible authorities, the church are nevertheless authorities.

- TurretinFan”

If the church is not divine in origin and has not been given the promises to be protected by God and the authority to teach in his name, then the church is only a church in name and not a church with any divine authority. In effect the church is only a human institution like other religions such as Islam and modern Judaism.

However, if the church is divine in origin (which it is), has been given the promises to be protected by God (which it has) and the authority to teach in his name (which it does), then if the church is not infallible then –

1 - God has failed to protect his church, which is not possible.
2 – The church was not founded by God, so it is merely a human institution only is a guide, like say a club or university. Therefore the church is not a church, but only a club.

Without infallibility regarding faith and morals, we have no way to resolve doctrinal problems that have arisen throughout church history. Without infallibility we can only use arguments that do not conclude to certainty concerning the Christological controversies such as Arianism, Monothelitism and other Christological “isms”. In effect, without an infallible church, we don’t have a body from the apostolic age that has the divine authority to teach from God, so all Christian believers are doctrinally by themselves and have to work it all out by themselves. This includes working out the canon of scripture.

Practically, without an infallible church, there is anarchy and a psychological tendency towards doctrinal “least common denominator” Christianity, which is an implicit agnosticism. As only the Catholic Church and probably the orthodox churches (they have apostolic succession) have this divine authority, then all non catholic denominations ( that do not have apostolic succession and divine authority) tend towards agnosticism and secularism due to inability to resolve doctrinal disputes with an infallible and divine authority.


JM

john said...

"The answer I would expect, for a doctrine as important as that, is for you to turn to your top 3 passages which you believe clearly teach the doctrine under question and explain your reasoning. "

But this is problematic. To cite a text does not establish the text was authored by God as inspired. Even going to scripture for a definition of what inspiration means as "God breathed" is only a metaphor, so when a bible Christian says he believes the scriptures are inspired he has a belief -

1 -That is only believed based on a self referring argument.

2- That is a belief based upon a definition of inspiration from the scriptures that is metaphorical.

This position is extremely tenuous and not a good foundation to based ones belief system at all.

SS is an irresolvable problem for the non Catholic, simply because non catholic arguments concerning SS leave out the critical theme of the supernatural. They fail to understand and articulate the supernatural when it comes to arguing for an inspired text.

Inspiration is a supernatural act completed by a supernatural agent (The trinity) to communicate natural and supernatural truths to mankind. To ignore the supernatural regarding inspiration, is to only propose an argument that is not essentially supernatural and therefore cannot conclude to a supernaturally authored canon.

To ignore the supernatural is to show that the non Catholic has appropriated a false understanding of the nature of inspiration, therefore even if what may seem to be compelling arguments for scriptural inspiration are made, based upon say textual consistency or miracles recorded in the text or factual accuracy of the text, then the argument will fail, simply because the non Catholic does not have a supernatural authority outside the text to determine which text has been authored by a supernatural agent and which has been authored by a natural agent. Therefore only the church that ha been founded and protected by god, as he is supernatural, can determine the canon of scripture, as only it has the supernatural authority to make the decision concerning which texts are inspired (which texts are authored by God as a supernatural agent).

Evidently if there is a canon, there must be a supernatural church from the apostles with the authority to determine the canon. Only the CC and the orthodox fit this description and consequently SS is falsified.

JM

Amos said...

Because its just an outright invention made to concur with men`s traditions (Mark 7v 13)