In this short article Dave Armstrong, writer of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, lists ten difficulties with the Protestant teaching of sola scriptura. He uses both Scripture and common sense to argue that the "Bible alone" theology of Protestants is not discovered in Scripture, and is contradictory to the to teach of the prophets, Jesus, and St. Paul. Such a doctrine inevitably leader to confusion and also division.
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Publisher & Date
Catholic Answers, Inc., El Cajon, CA, September 2004
You are watching: Sola scriptura debate
Sola Scriptura Is no Taught in the scriptures Catholics agree through Protestants the Scripture is a "standard that truth" even the preeminent one but not in a sense that rules out the binding authority of yes, really apostolic Tradition and also the Church. The bible doesn"t teach that. Catholics agree the Scripture is materially sufficient. In other words, on this view, every true doctrine can be uncovered in the Bible, if just implicitly and also indirectly by deduction. But no biblical i teaches the Scripture is the formal government or dominance of faith in isolation indigenous the Church and also Tradition. Sola scriptura can"t even be deduced indigenous implicit passages. The "Word that God" ad to oral Teaching additionally "Word" in divine Scripture often refers come a proclaimed, dental teaching of prophets or apostles. What the prophets spoke was words of God regardless of whether or not their utterances were recorded later as created Scripture. So because that example, we read in Jeremiah: "For twenty-three years . . . Words of the mr has come to me and I have talked to you again and again . . . "But you did not listen to me," declares the Lord. . . . Because of this the mr Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words . . . "" (Jer. 25:3, 7-8 ). This was words of God also though several of it was not recorded in writing. It had equal authority as creating or proclamation-never-reduced-to-writing. This was true additionally of apostolic preaching. Once the phrases "word of God" or "word that the Lord" show up in Acts and also the epistles, they almost always refer to oral preaching, not to Scripture. Because that example: "When you received the indigenous of God which girlfriend heard indigenous us, you embraced it not as the word of men but as what it really is, words of God" (1 Thess. 2:13). If us compare this passage with another, composed to the very same church, Paul shows up to regard oral teaching and the indigenous of God as synonymous: "Keep away from any brother who is life in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us" (2 Thess. 3:6). tradition Is no a Dirty word Protestants often quote the verses in the holy bible where corrupt traditions of guys are condemned (e.g., Matt. 15:2-6; note 7:8-13; Col. 2:8). That course, Catholics agree v this. However it"s not the totality truth. True, apostolic Tradition likewise is endorsed positively. This tradition is in complete harmony with and consistent through Scripture. In the sense, bible is the "final judge" of Tradition, yet it does not ascendancy out all binding Tradition and Church authority (cf. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2). Jesus and also Paul welcomed Non-Biblical Oral and Written legacies Protestants defending sola scriptura will case that Jesus and Paul accepted the authority of the Old Testament. This is true, however they additionally appealed to various other authority external of created revelation. Because that example: a. The recommendation to "He chandelier be called a Nazarene" cannot be discovered in the Old Testament, yet it was "spoken by the prophets" (Matt. 2:23). Therefore, this prophecy, i m sorry is thought about to it is in "God"s word," was passed under orally quite than v Scripture. B. In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus teaches the the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding government based "on Moses" seat," yet this expression or idea cannot be discovered anywhere in the Old Testament. That is uncovered in the (originally oral) Mishnah, which teaches a sort of "teaching succession" from Moses on down. C. In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul describes a rock that "followed" the Jews with the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing around such miraculous movement. Yet rabbinic tradition does. D. "As Jannes and also Jambres protest Moses" (2 Tim. 3:8). This two men cannot be found in the related Old testament passage (cf. Ex. 7:8ff.) or almost everywhere else in the Old Testament. The Apostles exercised Authority at the council of Jerusalem In the the supervisory board of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-30), we watch Peter and also James speaking through authority. This Council makes an authoritative pronouncement (citing the divine Spirit) the was binding on all Christians: "For it has seemed good to the divine Spirit and to us to place upon girlfriend no greater burden than these crucial things: the you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity" (Acts 15:28-29). In the following chapter, we check out that Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling around "through the cities," and Scripture says that "they delivered to them because that observance the decisions which had actually been got to by the apostles and elders that were at Jerusalem" (Acts 16:4). Pharisees, Sadducees, and Oral, Extrabiblical legacy Christianity was acquired in plenty of ways from the Pharisaical tradition of Judaism. The Sadducees, top top the various other hand, garbage the future resurrection the the soul, the afterlife, rewards and also retribution, demons and also angels, and predestinarianism. The Sadducees also rejected every authoritative dental teaching and essentially believed in sola scriptura. They to be the theological free of the time. Christian Pharisees are referred to in acts 15:5 and Philippians 3:5, yet the holy bible never mentions Christian Sadducees. The Pharisees, in spite of their corruptions and excesses, to be the mainstream Jewish tradition, and both Jesus and also Paul identify this. So no the orthodox Old testament Jews nor the beforehand Church to be guided by the principle of sola scriptura. Old testament Jews walk Not think in Sola Scriptura To provide two instances from the Old testament itself: a. Ezra, a priest and also scribe, studied the Jewish law and also taught it to Israel, and also his authority to be binding under pain of imprisonment, banishment, loss of goods, and even death (cf. Ezra 7:26). B. In Nehemiah 8:3, Ezra reads the law of Moses to the world in Jerusalem. In verse 7 we find thirteen Levites who assisted Ezra and helped the human being to know the law. Much earlier, we discover Levites working out the same duty (cf. 2 Chr. 17:8-9). so the world did indeed understand the law (cf. Neh. 8:8, 12), yet not there is no much aid not just upon hearing. Likewise, the bible is not altogether clean in and also of itself yet requires the help of teachers who are much more familiar v biblical styles and also Hebrew idiom, background, context, exegesis and also cross-reference, hermeneutical principles, original languages, etc. The Old Testament, then, teaches around a binding Tradition and need because that authoritative interpreters, as does the new Testament (cf. Mark 4:33-34; acts 8:30-31; 2 Pet. 1:20, 3:16). Ephesians 4 Refutes the good news "Proof Text" "All bible is motivated by God and financially rewarding for teaching, because that reproof, for correction, and also for training in righteousness, the the guy of God might be complete, fitted for every an excellent work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This passage doesn"t teach officially sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and the Church. Protestants extrapolate top top the message what isn"t there. If we look at the in its entirety context the this passage, we have the right to see the Paul makes recommendation to oral heritage three times (cf. 2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14). And to use an analogy, let"s research a comparable passage: "And his presents were the some should be apostles, part prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and also teachers, to equip the saints because that the work-related of ministry, for building up the human body of Christ, until we all acquire to the unified of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to mature manhood, come the measure up of the stature that the fullness the Christ; so the we might no much longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind that doctrine, through the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speak the fact in love, we room to flourish up in every method into him who is the head, into Christ" (Eph. 4:11-15). If 2 Timothy 3 proves the sole sufficiency that Scripture, then, by analogy, Ephesians 4 would an in similar way prove the sufficiency the pastors and teachers for the attainment of Christian perfection. In Ephesians 4, the Christian believer is equipped, built up, carried into unity and mature manhood, and also even preserved from doctrinal man by way of the teaching duty of the Church. This is a far stronger explain of the perfecting the the saints 보다 2 Timothy 3, yet it does not even point out Scripture. Therefore if all non-scriptural aspects are exclude, in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would certainly logically need to be to exclude, in Ephesians. The is far an ext reasonable to acknowledge that the absence of one or an ext elements in one passage does not median that they are nonexistent. The Church and also Scripture space both same necessary and also important because that teaching. Paul Casually Assumes that His Passed-Down legacy Is Infallible and also Binding If Paul wasn"t assuming that, the would have been commanding his followers to adhere come a mistake doctrine. He writes: "If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, keep in mind that man, and also have naught to carry out with him, that he might be ashamed" (2 Thess. 3:14). "Take keep in mind of those who develop dissensions and also difficulties, in opposition come the theory which you have actually been taught; prevent them" (Rom. 16:17). the didn"t write around "the pretty-much, mostly, mainly true yet not infallible theory which you have actually been taught." Sola Scriptura Is a Circular place once all is said and done, Protestants that accept sola scriptura together their rule of faith appeal come the Bible. If they room asked why one should think in their details denominational teaching rather than another, each will certainly appeal come "the Bible"s clean teaching." regularly they act together if they have no tradition that travel guide their own interpretation. This is comparable to human being on 2 sides that a constitutional conflict both saying, "Well, us go by what the structure says, whereas you men don"t." The U.S. Constitution, like the Bible, is not sufficient in and also of itself to deal with differing interpretations. Judges and courts room necessary, and their decrees space legally binding. Supreme Court rulings can not be overturned other than by a future ruling or constitution amendment. In any type of event, over there is constantly a last appeal that settles the matter. However Protestantism lacks this due to the fact that it appeals to a logically self-defeating principle and also a publication that must be construed by human being beings. Obviously, offered the departments in Protestantism, merely "going to the Bible" hasn"t worked. In the end, a person has actually no assurance or certainty in the good news system. They have the right to only "go to the Bible" themselves and perhaps come up with an additional doctrinal version of some debated doctrine to include to the list. One one of two people believes there is one reality in any kind of given theological problem (whatever it is) or adopts a relativist or indifferentist position, where contradictions are fine or the doctrine is so "minor" that differences "don"t matter." however the holy bible doesn"t teach that entirety categories of doctrines space "minor" and also that christians freely and joyfully have the right to disagree in together a fashion. Denominationalism and divisions room vigorously condemned. The only conclusion we deserve to reach native the bible is what we call the "three-legged stool": Bible, Church, and Tradition space all necessary to come at truth. If friend knock out any type of leg the a three-legged stool, that collapses. Dave Armstrong, webmaster that Biblical proof for Catholicism (www.biblicalcatholic.com), is the writer of A Biblical Defense that Catholicism (Sophia academy Press, 2003). That writes indigenous Detroit, Michigan, where he resides with his wife, Judy, and also their four children.
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