Monday, January 25, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 16/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 16/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

16) If the meaning of the Bible is so clear—so easily interpreted—and if the Holy Spirit leads every Christian to interpret it for themselves, then why are there over 33,000 Protestant denominations, and millions of individual Protestants, all interpreting the Bible differently?

Simple Answer(s):

1) There are some things in Scripture that are hard to understand.

2) It is wrong to presume that everyone who reads the Scriptures are Spirit-led Christians - some are unlearned and unstable men.

3) We know that, because the Bible tells us so.

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Important Qualification(s):

1) The 33,000 denominations claim is a lie that has been repeatedly exposed (example). Of course, Steve's lack of personal integrity isn't particularly germane to Rome's claims.

2) The church fathers agreed with us that things necessary for salvation are clear from Scripture. If the argument behind Steve's question is right, why do the church fathers disagree? Or, in other words, why was the obscurity of Scriptures only apparent in the post-Tridentine period?

3) Item (2) also highlights another point. Steve knows (or ought to know by now) that the Reformation principle of the perspicuity of Scripture is not that it is all perfectly clear, but that that the things necessary for salvation are sufficiently clear.

- TurretinFan


Dean Dough said...

Dear Turretinfan,

The 33000 denominations inaccuracy certainly doesn't help Mr. Ray. OK, so let's say 9000 is closer to the truth. In fact, forget 9000. Let's be very generous to the non-Catholic world and drop the number to 500. How much does that matter to his point? Not much, IMHO. I think the more important question, which Dr. White touches on in the link you included here, is WHY so many. I agree that sola scriptura is not the primary factor. IMHO a much bigger factor is secularization, separation of church and state, or whatever else you want to call it. Nothing keeps the churches together like some good old persecution, either against the church -- unifies the sufferers against a common enemy -- or by the church -- keeps all but a courageous/foolhardy minority from publicly expressing or acting on their dissent from the current orthodoxy.

Anonymous said...

If I were the devil with the short period of time left to me before I come to that clear judgment against me, it seems to me, this would be the area of concern at which I would war the hardest:::>

3) Item (2) also highlights another point. Steve knows (or ought to know by now) that the Reformation principle of the perspicuity of Scripture is not that it is all perfectly clear, but that that the things necessary for salvation are sufficiently clear.


It is his intent, as is clearly established from Genesis 3, to deceive those for Whom Christ came and died, was buried and rose again to Resurrection and Life, so that they lose their rewards of the Faith once delivered to the Saints in every age and epoch of these present heavens and earth, created by and through the "Word" of the Eternal and Holy Triune.

It is the clarity of the "message" of Salvation by Her messengers that is being attacked by this sort of attack on the clarity of Scripture and not the sufficiency thereof. Even the RCC puts over by her messenger what is the sufficiency of her dogma.

To this the Scriptures point, so that even the unlearned can rejoice in the sufficiency of Scripture and be saved from the wrath to come upon the errors of that dogma:::>

Pro 30:1 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle. The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Pro 30:2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.
Pro 30:3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Pro 30:4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!
Pro 30:5 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Pro 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Pro 30:7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
Pro 30:8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,
Pro 30:9 lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Oh, and as for the 33,000 denominations, I rather think it more seeing the Scripture establishes that where there are two or three gathered in His Name, there He is in their midst.

God loves variety! He saves His own out of every tribe, kindred, tongue and nation. These are those throughout the history of the world who see Him and sing the new song which causes me to think there is quite a bit more than 33,000:::>

Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Dean Dough writes:

Let's be very generous to the non-Catholic world and drop the number to 500.

How is that very generous? If a popular figure is a downright lie, it's not very generous to move from that figure to a much smaller one. I don't see how that selects for a true number with regard to Protestant division. What if 500 is also inaccurate and the number is less?

To be just fair (let alone very generous) someone would need to produce evidence for an actual number.

Turretinfan said...


It's not just an inaccuracy, though, it is a lie. Steve Ray knows by now that the number is wrong and he continues to use the number.


Dean Dough said...

Dear Matthew,

Please read Dr. White's article referenced in Turrentinfan's post. I'm basing the "generous" number on dropping the estimated number of existing "Protestant" denominations way down from that listed in the World Christian Encyclopedia estimate of 8973 for 2000, as cited by Dr. White. If you have a more accurate number, please tell us what it is. Dr. White goes on to suggest that some number of the 8973 don't really qualify as Protestant anyway. It appears to me that if you carry that kind of procedure to the extreme, you'll still end up with over 500 "Protestant" "denominations" worldwide. Check out this to see where I'm coming from. BTW that article says there are now about 38000 Christian "denominations" of all kinds. Do you think Mr. Ray or some of his buddies planted these numbers on Wikipedia? If so, why not file a protest there?

OK, so let's restrict ourselves to genuine, self-acknowledged heirs of Protestantism: Anglicans, Lutherans, Mennonites, and Reformed. To them we'll have to add Baptists, Methodists and some lesser groups such as Campbellites and Plymouth Brethren. Now start tracing the splits, adding national sister churches, and deciding what to do with Baptists and independents. How big a number do you end up with? It won't be difficult to top 500. To my thinking Mr. Ray would have been making a generous concession (on numbers) if he had just said "over 500" rather than continuing to pull the 33000 number out of his hat.

Is Mr. Ray lying? I suppose so, if he reads criticisms like Dr. White's and acknowledges, at least in his own mind, that sola scriptura is not the primary cause for all these separate "denominations." I don't know the man. Maybe he is just very dumb or stubborn.

John Bugay said...

Here are a couple of links to the articles referenced:

What I find really telling is that, in the same publication from which these individuals derive the "33,000" number (more accurately portrayed by a number less than 9,000) -- a number which is derived from some very sloppy math (and sloppy assumptions), also notes that the Roman Catholic Church has been responsible for the deaths of 4,951,000 Christian martyrs over the last 20 centuries (our friend the Inquisition, etc,)

If the production of 5,000,000 Christian martyrs isn't proof that the "infallible magisterium" had gone off the rails a long time ago, I don't know what would convince these defenders of Rome that such was the case.