Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Patrick's Pejoratives vs. Rhology's Writing

Patrick Madrid tweets: "Yet another example of the misguided, myopic #Protestant bluster about #SolaScriptura & #sects. Wow. #blind #clueless "

His link takes you to this comment by the redoubtable Rhology. Responding to this:
The fact that there are thousands is enough to show sola Scriptura’s fruits: the individual as ultimate interpretive authority of the Scriptures was not God’s intention and has utterly failed to fulfill Christ’s prayer for unity in John 17.
Rhology writes:
Hmmm. Well, RCC’s “real” rule of faith is Apostolic Tradition, which includes written and unwritten tradition from the apostles, both in Scripture and in other places such as the lived-out faith of the church, the liturgies, the writings of church fathers down through the years, etc.
Notice that, like the Scripture, this too forms a corpus with limits. The Da Vinci Code is not part of Apostolic Tradition. Neither is the Qur’an, nor is The Audacity of Hope (though, depending on which Roman priest you ask, that last one might be close). We and others have contended many times, rightly, that the limits to the Roman Canons of Scripture are not only poorly defined but actually non-existent. It is also indisputable that one’s presupposition of an infallible interpreter (whether she be Rome or EOC) will govern which little-t traditions are actually accepted, promoted if you will, to Big-T Sacred Apostolic Tradition, thus forming the basis for Roman or Orthodox dogma, leaving the little-t traditions to rot by the wayside, relegated to “Well, he was just speaking as a private theologian” or “That was just his opinion” status.

But let’s leave all of that aside and grant that there is one big and awe-inspiring God-given Verbum Dei corpus of Scripture and Tradition that is the proper rule of faith for the church of Jesus Christ.

The problem is obvious – Rome, sedevacantists, traditionalist Catholics, Pope Michael-ists, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and various other churches with incompatible teachings all appeal to this set and limited corpus of Scripture and Tradition. It would appear that the criticism against Sola Scriptura of multiple denominations applies to the Roman and EO rule of faith as well.

The Romanist or Orthodox might object: “But we’re not in communion with those schismatics/heterodox/heretics!” Now, what if I were to reply, as a member of a Southern Baptist church, that, have no fear my non-Sola Scripturist friends, my church holds that everyone who’s not a member of a Southern Baptist church is a schismatic/heterodox/heretic too? Would that make our Romanist or Orthodox friends feel better?
Or would that make them criticise us even more strongly: “See? You Sola Scripturists can’t even hold communion with each other!”? Yep, my money’s on that one, too. We’re darned if we do and darned if we don’t, but somehow if the Romanists or Orthodox don’t hold communion with these other churches, that’s just fine. Such special pleading is just…special.

So let me break this down as clearly as I can. “The Protestant Church” does not exist. Self-named “Protestant churches” vary so widely in doctrine and authority as to make points of comparison impossible to ascertain. If you want to compare unity and disunity, compare the adherences to the competing rules of faith. Or compare churches, like the Roman Church to the Southern Baptist Convention or the Pope Michael Catholic Church to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. What do we find, if we do this? How different from each other are the churches that hold to Scripture alone as rule of faith, and how different from each other are the churches that hold to “Sacred Apostolic Tradition” as rule of faith? Answer that and you’ll know one reason why we consider all this talk about how Tradition and Magisterium make for superior church unity to be just that – talk.
As James Swan recently pointed out:
For those of you who want to see how it's done when playing at Tiber Lanes, visit this discussion, and watch Uncle Rho bowl a perfect game, knocking down all the Romanist pins each time it's his turn. Take notes on his technique because this sort of ability doesn't just "happen." It's the result of years of careful analysis and apologetic encounters.
Now, Mr. Madrid may disagree with Rhology ... but aren't his pejoratives a little farfetched. Rhology seems well-informed, not blind or clueless - even if you disagree with him.

And Rhology goes on to provide more defense of the faith at the link Mr. Madrid provided.

Meanwhile, I'll just point out - Rhology has fairly recently done a debate with a Muslim imam. What debates has Mr. Madrid done lately? It's easy to badmouth people over twitter, but it's another thing to actually enter into debate. Dr. White has debated Patrick Madrid at least twice (Veneration of Saints and Images and Does the Bible Teach Sola Scriptura)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"The" Catholic Position on The Rule of Faith

An advocate for the papacy, over in the Greenbaggins comment box wrote:
And, again, whether or not the Papacy is a divine institution – the Burden of Proof is always on him who asserts. In this case, Reformed Christians and Catholic Christians both have something to prove.

The Reformed assertion: Scripture is the Rule of Faith.
The Catholic Assertion: The Church is the Rule of Faith.
I answer:

First, I thought that Mr. Anders had already agreed that Scriptures are “A” rule of faith. If so, then the only question is whether there is another rule of faith in addition. In that case, while the Reformed side may have had something to prove, that time has passed.

After all, if one concedes that the Scriptures are a rule of faith, then one has – in effect – conceded that we have met our burden. The only other assertion required to move from “Scripture is a rule of faith” to “Scripture is THE rule of faith” is the negative proposition “and we don’t have any other rule of faith.”

The burden is on the proponent of that other proposed rule of faith.

Moreover, Mr. Anders specifically asserted: “The Catholic Assertion: The Church is the Rule of Faith.”

Interestingly, Benedict XVI (Yes, I know he’s German like Kung, Rahner, and Luther, but hear me out) is reported as saying:
The word of Scripture is not “an inert deposit within the Church” but the “supreme rule of faith and power of life”. Benedict XVI wrote this in a message to participants in the annual Plenary Session of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, held from Monday, 16, to Friday, 20 April, at the Vatican’s Domus Sanctae Marthae.
L’Osservatore Romano, 21 April 2012

So, will our Roman communion friends concede what that German prelate who claims to be the successor of Peter and Paul concedes? Or do will they deny that Scripture is the supreme rule of faith?

I mean one might think that “the Catholic position” is better expressed by the pope who says: “The Church has always considered and continues to consider Sacred Scripture, together with sacred Tradition, “as the supreme rule of her faith” (DV 21) and as such she offers it to the faithful for their daily life.” (19 June 1985, General Audience)

And yes, he’s quoting from Vatican II, but I hear that they are planning on making even SSPX finally assent to those teachings.

So, what will it be? Will our Roman communion friends be on the pope’s (I suppose that should be popes’, as the 1985 audience would be the Polish prelate, not the German one) side? Do they agree that he has conceded that the Scriptures are a rule of faith and has further alleged that “Tradition” is as well?

If so, we’ve met our burden on this point – but Rome's apologists still have to meet theirs by somehow deomnstrating that their "Tradition” is to be received as the rule of faith.