Sunday, January 25, 2009

St. Augustine and Sola Scriptura

For those who have not heard of St. Augustine, he is considered a hero of the Christian faith.  Church history scholars, Catholic and Non-Catholic alike, agree that this man was one of the great champions.  St. Augustine was born around 354 A.D.  He was the Bishop of Hippo and battled many different heresies that cropped up threatening to tear the Church apart.  Catholics and Non-Catholics alike owe a lot to this great man.

In a recent post of mine on another Church Hero Polycarp, one of my readers suggested that many of the Church Fathers believed in Sola Scriptura - including St. Augustine.  This puzzled me, because this was the first time that I had heard someone make an argument that St. Augustine believed in Sola Scriptura.  Needing an excuse to dig deeper into Church history, I started to investigate the claims that he made.

He first pointed me to an article written by William Webster titled, What did the Early Church Believe about the Authority of Scripture.  In this article, William Webster paints a pretty convincing picture of many of the heroes of the Early Church and how they all believed in Scripture Alone as the ruling authority of the Christian Faith.  He also includes citations from two Non-Catholic Church Historians - Ellen Flessman-Van Leer and J.N.D. Kelly.  I completed reading the article, and I was absolutely floored with the information that was presented.  Was this information true?  Is William Webster someone that can be trusted to give an unbiased account of what the Early Church Fathers believed?  Luckily, I did not have to go far in order to find my answers.

By the grace of God, after a brief search online, I was directed to an article written by Joseph Gallegos titled Did the Church Fathers Believe in Sola Scriptura.  This article is a complete refutation of William Webster's article and the claims that he makes in it.  In Gallegos' article, he shows that not only did William Webster mis-represent the Church Fathers, but he also misrepresents that Non Catholic Church Historians - Ellen Flessman - Van Leer and J. N.D. Kelly.  According to the two church historians, they plainly in fact do believe that the Church Fathers appealed to both Tradition and Scripture as being authoritative in the Church.

Further on in my conversation with one of my readers, we decided to focus on St. Augustine, and bypass the article that was written by William Webster as well as the rebuttal by Joseph Gallegos.  He continued to make the argument that St. Augustine did in fact believe in Sola Scriptura.  If you would like to read the complete details of the discussion, you will find it in the comment section of Early Church History - St. Polycarp.  Here is the last comment that I made, which hopefully will show you and all the other readers that St. Augustine would not have subscribed to the version of Sola Scriptura that my reader was suggesting.   My readers comments are in blue, while my comments are in regular type.  The quotations that I use are in bold


...All he says about traditions is that they hold to them, not that they are equal to scripture.
Augustine's appeal to tradition MUST be taken as meaning tradition directly supported by scripture, because of the sheer weight of his insistence that scripture is the final authority, as has been shown.

On what evidence is Augustine's appeal to the tradition only supported by Scripture when you read this:

As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.


The argument that Augustine is only talking about the tradition that is supported by Scripture doesn't make sense in this writing. It is in fact the tradition that is not supported by Scripture that he is finding authoritative.

Did you even read the definition of what Sola Scriptura is not and what it is at my blog? I think not.

Sole rule of faith...The Church does not add revelation or rule over Scripture...All that one must believe in order to be a Christian is found in the Scriptures and in no other source...that not founded in scripture is not binding upon the Christian conscience...

Yes...I have read it. I think that Jim White did a fantastic job of explaining one version of Sola Scriptura. Now, in talking with you, I am assuming that this is the same version of Sola Scriptura that you subscribe to, and therefore, the only one that matters for our conversations. Now applying that criteria to St. Augustine, would he pass as someone who held to this definition of Sola Scriptura?

Is there anything that he believed that is contrary to what Jim White has just explained to be the definition of Sola Scriptura? Our conversation revolved around the Early Church Fathers, whether or not they subscribed to your definition of Sola Scriptura. You have taken the time to define what that means, I have taken the time to show where I think that he would fail the test.

Did Augustine believe that Scripture was the sole rule of the faith? Did he believe that things that are not found in scripture is not binding? If I show proof against any of these statements, then by your definition, he must not believe in Sola Scriptura. All I have to show is an instance where he relates tradition with scripture. If he shows that scripture, as it relates to tradition is the binding authority, and tradition is not, then your position is the correct position. If instead, I show that tradition as it relates to scripture, is binding, even if the tradition is not mentioned in Scripture, then my position, the Catholic position on St. Augustine's position, is the correct position.

"As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition..."
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.


Holding onto the authority of something that is not found in scriptures is against your definition of Sola Scriptura. He goes on to say...

" it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"

According to St. Augustine, the Councils add rule over what is found in the Scriptures. Remember, he just said that the tradition that is authoritative, that was not found in the scriptures regardless if it came from the apostles themselves or councils...This is in fact adding rule above the scriptures. Then he goes on to say that the authority that the apostles and the councils hold in the Church is a good thing. A useful thing. A beneficial thing.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

"As to those other things which we hold on the authority, not of Scripture, but of tradition, and which are observed throughout the whole world, it may be understood that they are held as approved and instituted either by the apostles themselves, or by plenary Councils, whose authority in the Church is most useful,"
Letter of Augustine to Januarius 54,1,1, 400 A.D.

There you go again, my friend, reading into this what you want it to say. Again - Sola Scriptura maintains that:

the Word God spoke through apostles and prophets and intended for the direction of his church is now found only in sacred Scripture,

1.the teaching of Scripture is sufficiently clear on the main things so as to be able to make ordinary people wise for salvation and to equip for every good work,

2.ultimate certainty as to the authority of the Word of God written comes from the witness of the Spirit of God in the believer's heart, and

3.Scripture is a sufficient and final court of appeal in matters of faith and morals.

Sola Scripture does not condemn all traditions. The 'other things' - these traditions. What are they? Do they fall into any of the above three affirmations above, or are they "less significant' in the life of the believer.

In order to make your argument here you need to define 'other things'. Again you build the straw man.

Back to Augustine. He also said:
"This mediator [Jesus Christ], first through the Prophets, then by his own lips, afterwards through the Apostles, revealed whatever he considered necessary. He also inspired Scripture, which is regarded as canonical and of supreme authority and to which we give credence concerning all those truths we ought to know and yet, of ourselves, are unable to learn." City of God, book XI, Chapter 3

"For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life ..."
Source: St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, book II, Chap. 9, online at the University of Pennsylvania

"Whereas, therefore, in every question, which relates to life and conduct, not only teaching, but exhortation also is necessary; in order that by teaching we may know what is to be done, and by exhortation may be incited not to think it irksome to do what we already know is to be done; what more can I teach you, than what we read in the Apostle? For holy Scripture setteth a rule to our teaching, that we dare not "be wise more than it behoveth to be wise;" but be wise, as himself saith, "unto soberness, according as unto each God hath allotted the measure of faith." (Rom 12:3) Be it not therefore for me to teach you any other thing, save to expound to you the words of the Teacher, and to treat of them as the Lord shall have given to me.
Source: St. Augustine, De Bono Viduitatis, online at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library server, at Wheaton College."

You ripped your little quote completely out of the context of Augustine's complete body of work. Your interpretation severely violates the sum of his writings. Put the quote back into it's context. You cannot, with any sort of intellectual honesty, believe your interpretation in light of everything else he wrote.

Tuesday Morning said...

Still waiting to hear by what authority sola scriptura is validated...

Dan said...

That would be 2 Timothy 3:16-17, for starters.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan...

Be forewarned....this is going to be a long one.

It looks like we are at a stalemate. You are presenting evidence to support the claim that St. Augustine believed in Sola Scriptura, and I am presenting evidence supporting the claim that he did not. You have not convinced me otherwise, and I have not convinced you otherwise. I am tempted to just let things stand the way that they are, but in the interest of people who may read this in the future, I am willing to entertain this discussion a little more.

You mention that Sola Scriptura maintains that:

the Word God spoke through apostles and prophets and intended for the direction of his church is now found only in sacred Scripture

You mention is now found only in sacred Scripture, which alludes to the idea that there was a time when it wasn't? If there was a time that it wasn't and now there is a time that it is only found in Sacred Scripture, when would that point be? And what grounds to you have to make the statement? Someone at some point and time must have said that from this point on, everything that is necessary for the direction of the church can now only be found in Sacred Scripture. Who made that declaration? When was it made?

the teaching of Scripture is sufficiently

We do not disagree on the material sufficiency of Scripture.

ultimate certainty as to the authority of the Word of God written comes from the witness of the Spirit of God in the believer's heart

Really? If this is the case, if the books of the New Testament are self-authenticating through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to each individual, then why was there confusion in the early Church over which books were inspired, with some books being rejected by the majority?

Scripture is a sufficient and final court of appeal in matters of faith and morals.

In that case, then who may authoritatively arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into mutually contradictory interpretations of the Bible?

You ripped your little quote completely out of the context of Augustine's complete body of work. Your interpretation severely violates the sum of his writings. Put the quote back into it's context. You cannot, with any sort of intellectual honesty, believe your interpretation in light of everything else he wrote.

I find it interesting that you accuse me of ripping my little quote out of context for many reasons. First, the quote that I used comes from the first chapter and the first verse of 54th letter that he wrote. In other words, it is part of the introduction of his address. There is no context except my quote which is part of the foundation of the context in which he was building.

I believe that Scripture is authoritative. I also believe that Tradition is authoritative. If you show me quotes where Augustine also believes that Scripture is authoritative, that is not showing me anything new. For the sake of our discussion, it would not do my position any good to show you where St. Augustine writes that Tradition is authoritative, just like it does your position no good to show me where St. Augustine believes that Scriptures are authoritative. The only thing that matters is the relationship between Scripture and some other authority - Tradition Church Authority. Like the following quotes:

"But those reasons which I have here given, I have either gathered from the authority of the church, according to the tradition of our forefathers, or from the testimony of the divine Scriptures, or from the nature itself of numbers, and of similitudes. No sober person will decide against reason, no Christian against the Scriptures, no peaceable person against the church." (On the Trinity, 4,6:10).

Here we have St. Augustine violating one of your definitions of Sola Scriptura - mainly Scripture is a sufficient and final court of appeal in matters of faith and morals. If Scripture was sufficient and the final authority of appeals in matters of faith, why would he rely on the authority of the Church in explaining the three days of the Resurrection? The authority of the Church, under Sola Scriptura, would not be a worthwhile court of appeal in matters of faith.

Let's talk about how Augstine feels about the role of the Church interpreting Scripture:

"To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you; thus, since Holy Scripture cannot be mistaken, anyone fearing to be misled by the obscurity of this question has only to consult on this same subject this very Church which the Holy Scriptures point out without ambiguity. (Against Cresconius I:33)"

Here is a matter that Scripture is not clear. Instead, they rely to follow the authority of the Church, and then say that the Authority of the Church is exactly what Scriptures point to anyways. Authority of the Church where Scripture is not explicit or clear. This is again goes against your definition of Sola Scriptura - it is not the final court in matters of faith where it is not clear or explicit, from Augustine's perspective. The Church is. Also the authority of the Word of God does not come from the internal witness in the believer's heart, it comes from the Church - especially in cases like these where Scripture is not clear.

"[L]et the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church . . .(On Christian Doctrine 3:2:2)"

The rule of faith. Right here, St. Augustine says that the rule of faith is not Scripture alone it is Scriptures and the authority of the Church. Clearly, St. Augustine does not believe in Sola Scriptura, because he says that the rule of faith is not the Scriptures alone.

In all of the quotes that I have shared with you, St. Augustine shows a relationship between Scripture and another Authority (Tradition or Church). The definition of Scripture alone, as you profess it, cannot be shared with St. Augustine in light of these quotes.

Dan said...

"2. But when proper words make Scripture ambiguous, we must see in the first place that there is nothing wrong in our punctuation or pronunciation. Accordingly, if, when attention is given to the passage, it shall appear to be uncertain in what way it ought to be punctuated or pronounced, let the reader consult the rule of faith which he has gathered from the plainer passages of Scripture, and from the authority of the Church, and of which I treated at sufficient length when I was speaking in the first book about things. But if both readings, or all of them (if there are more than two), give a meaning in harmony with the faith, it remains to consult the context, both what goes before and what comes after, to see which interpretation, out of many that offer themselves, it pronounces for and permits to be dovetailed into itself."

Stop with the ripping from context already and reading into the text what is not there.this does NOT violate Sola Scriptura if Augustine also held to the Church's authority coming from scripture itself and that Scripture was a higher authority - and he did just that. Sola Scriptura doesn't say their aren't other authorities, but that other authorities MUST derive their authority from the HIGHER authority.

Where Catholocism errs is in giving scripture and the church equal authority. And that was done at Trent. History confirms it.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Stop with the ripping from context already and reading into the text what is not there.

St. Augustine statements still stand. The point with the quote is that if there is problems understanding the scripture using scripture itself, rely on the Authority of the Church which is responsible for the faith.

this does NOT violate Sola Scriptura if Augustine also held to the Church's authority coming from scripture itself and that Scripture was a higher authority - and he did just that.

You are correct. If St. Augustine held Scripture to be above that of Church Authority and Tradition, then he would believe in Sola Scriptura. As of yet, you have not shown me any evidence that this is what he held. All of the quotes you have used show us that he holds Scripture in a high place of authority. Amen!!!! The Catholic Church has held it in high authority since the beginning of Christianity.

I have shown you many quotes where he shows how he views the relationship between Scripture, Church Authority and Tradition. In all of the cases, he has never said that Scriptures was above all. Show me where St. Augustine relates the Scriptures with Church Authority and Tradition and shows that Scriptures to be above them all. If you cannot show this to me, then you are just making guesses that are not based in fact or evidence.

Where Catholocism errs is in giving scripture and the church equal authority. And that was done at Trent. History confirms it.

We are not talking about Trent. We are talking about a man that was born around 350. A man in my opinion who would not consider himself to believe in Sola Scriptura in light of the quotes that I shared. A man that said things like:

It is not to be doubted that the dead are aided by prayers of the holy church, and by the salutary sacrifice, and by the alms, which are offered for their spirits . . . For this, which has been handed down by the Fathers, the universal church observes.

(Sermon 172, in Joseph Berington and John Kirk, The Faith of Catholics, three volumes, London: Dolman, 1846; I: 439)


and

For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: 'Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !' The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: - Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found.

(Letter to Generosus, 53:2, in NPNF I, I:298)


Do you really want to discuss this hero of the Catholic faith further?

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

I enjoyed our discussion. The last comment that you sent, I will not be posting.

I understand your concern. I would have thought to myself the same thing less than a year ago.

I have become to realize that there are so many different versions of Jesus being marketed that how is one supposed to recognize true authentic Christianity. I decided to go back to the beginning of the faith and see exactly what it was that they believed. If the faith that Jesus started was already corrupt in the beginning, then how can there really be any hope for any of us? How can we expect to have it right and figured out now, 2000 years later.

While researching the Early Church, I found that their practices and their beliefs are more Catholic than anything. Because of this, I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church's claim as being the one Church instituted by Jesus Christ himself, is absolutely true.

God bless...

Tuesday Morning said...

Dan,

"All Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, in order that the man of God may be fit, fully equipped for every good work."

This really says nothing about scripture being the ONLY source of authority.

It's rather like me concluding that because all apples are good for eating, ONLY apples are good for eating.

Dan said...

T.M.

That's an argument from silence and a common logic fallacy.

Your comparison of the authority of scripture to apples is also "leaky". To be intellectually honest you have to consider the weight of scripture on both issues. Hands down Sola Scriptura wins. It's a matter of exegesis v. eisegesis.

What else ya got?

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Of course you know how I feel about the topic, but the comment that you responded with didn't really address the concern that T.M. made.

How do you conclude that All Scripture is inspired.... must mean that Only Scripture is inspired?

Anonymous said...

Carlus,

T.M.'s comment went directly to Sola Scriptura.

"This really says nothing about scripture being the ONLY source of authority.

It's rather like me concluding that because all apples are good for eating, ONLY apples are good for eating."

I don't see a question in there about the inspiration of the Bible, and have no intention of going round and round again with a different subject.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous....

Okay...maybe I am having a brain fart or something....but T.M.s comment was not meant to discuss the inspiration of the Bible. He asked the question:

On what authority is sola scriptura validated, from which you responded the Scripture verse in question.

He is asking how you get Sola Scripture when it says All Scripture.

If you don't want to go around and around again on this topic...that is fine too.

God bless...and hope to chat with you more on other topics in the future - even if it is on something that we agree on for a change :)

Anonymous said...

Again, I don't think so, but maybe I am suffering from cranial flatulence.

Dan

Anonymous said...

"He is asking how you get Sola Scripture when it says All Scripture."

He said, about the passage: "This really says nothing about scripture being the ONLY source of authority."

I never said scripture was the ONLY source of authority, only that is the final authority and stands above all others, including anybody's church. He misunderstands the basic definition of Sola Scriptura, as you have seemed to at times.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous....

That is much better response. Now there can be dialogue, once we better understand each other's position.

I never said scripture was the ONLY source of authority, only that is the final authority and stands above all others,

I am going to echo T.M. question. On what authority / grounds do you make this statement? Where is this validated?

2 Tim 3:16-17 does not seem to support your position as being the final authority. So where does this idea come from?

Anonymous said...

I rather think we have been there, haven't we?

Dan

Anonymous said...

And somehow I have the suspiscion that you just want to lead me back to Rome, and present the Roman argument rather than examine scripture (OT and NT), and discuss the issues without what the Roman church says about itself.

Tuesday Morning said...

>>That's an argument from silence and a common logic fallacy.<<

An argument from silence is fallacious reasoning. It's evident when a positive conclusion is drawn from someone's silence.

This is interesting because it sounds like you're suggesting that because scripture doesn't speak to the issue of being the final authority (aka: is silent) that my reasoning is flawed. But if scripture doesn't in fact speak to the issue of itself as the final authority, how can one in fact know it is the final authority?

>>Your comparison of the authority of scripture to apples is also "leaky".<<

Please elaborate...

>>To be intellectually honest you have to consider the weight of scripture on both issues. Hands down Sola Scriptura wins.<<

On what criteria?

>>It's a matter of exegesis v. eisegesis.<<

An accusation of eisegesis cuts both ways and is largely subjective... unless you have an interpretive authority.

Anonymous said...

"An accusation of eisegesis cuts both ways and is largely subjective... unless you have an interpretive authority."

Not an accusation. Although the words "scripture is the final authority" do not appear in scripture in that order in the same sentence, it can be clearly exegeted from the sheer weight of the 'culumulative text on its pages', as it were. that the "Church" is the final authority (the Roman position) has to be read into scripture and is an invention of Trent.

And there you go, right back to Rome again.....

Why do even reply?

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15,16)

Tuesday Morning said...

>>And there you go, right back to Rome again.....<<

I'm not sure what the above statement implies?

It sounds as though you think returning to Rome is an indictment? For a Catholic (and one converting to Catholicism) it's the only logical conclusion.

Now as a non-Catholic it's understandable you might disagree with one returning to Rome, but isn't that the point of your posts on this blog?

So to simply state one is going "right back to Rome again....." as though the comment in and of itself is conclusive hardly demonstrates anything. If you have an issue with someone going back to Rome, let's hear it in the context of the comments already exchanged.


>>it can be clearly exegeted from the sheer weight of the 'culumulative text on its pages', as it were. that the "Church" is the final authority (the Roman position) has to be read into scripture and is an invention of Trent.<<

"sheer weight of the cumulative text..."

While this could speak to scripture as inspired, it really doesn't lend itself to how it's properly interpreted or by what authority scripture and it's interpretation is validated. If it could in fact be clearly exegeted as you suggest, then we wouldn't have millions of Christians in disagreement over this very issue.

Still waiting to hear how my apples are "leaky"
;)

Take care...

Dan said...

If I thought you were interested in something besides pushing the Catholic and it's false gospel of works-righteousness, might continue this.

the only difference in the "hold" on the common folk between the pre-reformation era when it was not possible to read the bible in a common language, is that now you have to have the "church" to interpret it. How many Bibles are carried into a Catholic Mass/service? How many Catholics are engaged in personal Bible study and spiritual growth on their own?

I have an idea - very few. Right now I am engaged with a couple of really nice middle aged ladies (in our home group) who, after years of NOT being encouraged to read and study Scripture for themselves, are drinking from scripture like they had never had even a sip!

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

If I thought you were interested in something besides pushing the Catholic and it's false gospel of works-righteousness, might continue this.

I am always interested in conversation. Am I trying to push Catholic Teaching on you? Not anymore than you are trying to push Protestant Reformation thinking on me. We hold different positions, but that does not mean that we can't dialogue about them. However, if you do not want to continue the conversation, that is fine. God bless and I will keep you in my prayers, as I hope you would keep me in yours.

the only difference in the "hold" on the common folk between the pre-reformation era when it was not possible to read the bible in a common language...

What makes you so sure that it was not possible to read the Scriptures in a common language? Are you sure that it was only after the reformation when the Bible was translated into the common language? What if I were to suggest that the Bible was available in the common language prior to the Reformation? What if I told you that one of the first books that came off of the printing press, invented by Johannes Gutenburg, was in fact the Bible in 1455?

Now of course, this did not mean that everyone was given a copy of it at that time, but it still shows that the Bible was available. It was very expensive (30 florins) which is more than 3 years wage for an average clerk.

How many Bibles are carried into a Catholic Mass/service? How many Catholics are engaged in personal Bible study and spiritual growth on their own?

What is the difference between a Non-Catholic taking the Bible into a Sunday morning Service, and never opening it, as oppose to a Catholic who does not bring their Bible to service, but listens and consumes the Word of God? Is someone more justified because they hold onto a Bible? In fact, it typically is not necessary for Catholics to bring their Bible, because the readings are available in the Hymnal. Which there are plenty of.

How many Non-Catholics are not engaged in personal Bible Study? I am sure that there are plenty. Once again, this doesn't go to the heart of the matter. We are not trying to rack up points of lazy Catholics and lazy Protestants. We are all called to know and study His Word. Someone once told me, that one of the first things that Jesus is going to say to us when we are in Heaven is, "So, how did you like my book?".

To be ignorant of Scriptures, is to be ignorant of Christ - St. Jerome.

This goes for Catholics and Non-Catholics alike.

God bless you on your journey of faith. If there is anything that you would like to discuss...just know that you are welcome.

Dan said...

There's a big difference in 'reading/reciting' out of a hymnal and bible study and examining what the preacher says in his sermon/homily/message. You know what I mean, and I think you are playing dodgeball again - you are quite good at it....I must say!

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

There's a big difference in 'reading/reciting' out of a hymnal and bible study and examining what the preacher says in his sermon/homily/message

I am not sure what this is exactly in response to. I thought that I was clear, that one of the heroes of the Christian faith, St. Jerome, was clear that if you are ignorant of Scripture you are ignorant of Christ.

It is very important for all Christians to study the Word of God. The idea that since Catholics do not bring Bibles to Mass or that Non-Catholics do bring bibles to Sunday Service, has no bearing on the relationship the individual has with Holy Scriptures. I don't know if this is what you are implying or not, but it seems that way.

No. We are all expected to read the Holy Scriptures, to know them, and to love them.

God bless..

Christa Blackman said...

In response to: How many Bibles are carried into a Catholic Mass/service? How many Catholics are engaged in personal Bible study and spiritual growth on their own?

I am a cradle Catholic and am surrounded by people who study the Bible on a weekly basis in Bible Study groups, as well as in small groups in each other's homes for programs like Renew. Little
Rock Scripture Study offers workbooks that are companion to Scripture that we can also grow from. The Word Among Us is a magazine with daily Scripture readings and reflections.These are just a few examples off the top of my head. In my 12 years at Catholic school, I studied from the Bible everyday in religion class, and although I may not have every verse memorized by number, I can honestly say I grew to "know" and "love" Jesus through it! Yes! Catholics do read the bible and are involved in their own spiritual growth and relationship with Jesus! Praise God.

Dan said...

That's a good thing.

Tuesday Morning said...

>>If I thought you were interested in something besides pushing the Catholic and it's false gospel of works-righteousness, might continue this.<<

In logical reasoning this is known as a circumstantial ad hominem, or as C.S. Lewis termed it: 'Bulverism.'

"Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is "wishful thinking." You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant — but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must first find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error."

-God in The Dock
by C.S. Lewis

In other words...questioning the motive of the author avoids dealing with the truth or falsehood of the position.

Dan said...

I'm just interested in exegeting scripture, not any church's (P or C) teaching about scripture, because that church is the sole authority for interpreting it. That's where all this seems to go - right back to the Catholic church.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

I have an honest question. How important do you think it is, not only to understand and exegete scripture, but also to understand the Early Church and the history behind how the Scripture was given to us? Is it important to know how the Bible was formed and how it came about - the official canon that is?

Also, how important do you think it is to understand the beliefs of the Early Church and the light that it can shine on our faith today? Should we not care about what exactly the Early Church believed and how they practiced the faith given to them by Christ by the way of the Apostles themselves?

If you sense animosity in these questions, please don't take it that way. I am truly honestly curious as to your feelings and thoughts regarding this.

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Dan's edited comment is as follows:

I think it is important to know church scripture and the history of the faith. I have done a LOT of study, of both the Protestant Reformation and Roman Catholocism. I believe to my very core that there is more scriptural support for the Reformation than for Roman Catholocism. I don't however, push the Protestant Reformation.

The beliefs of the early church are also important, as long as there aren't detours from scripture, or structures built on what is not supported by scripture.

Are you asking elading questions here, and making a case for Rome's definition of Apostolic succession with Peter as the first Pope? I don't see it in scripture. Far more grievous, however and a great violation of scripture is adding works to Grace, whether it be Rome's version, or any of the Protestant forms.

No offense taken, and it really does hurt to see true brothers and sisters in Christ [edited]in the Catholic Church. But it doesn't hurt any more that seeing all the Protestant folk coming to Jesus for 'their best life now', instead of for forgiveness of sins.

Dan said...

You might as well cut my comment entirely if you are going to edit out a word because you don't like. That's intellectually dishonest and changes the meaning of the comment.

We're done here. . .

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

I am sorry to see you go, over one little edit.

I have shared with you before that if you cannot comment with a spirit of charity and love, discussing the positions and not attacking people personally, then I don't think that it is worth discussing at all.

I have been very lenient to many of your comments in the past that I have found offensive. I just decided that the comment that was edited, had no bearing on the conversation. It is something that you have posted in the past, and I have asked for you to stop, but you choose not to.

God bless you on your journey of faith. If you want to continue talking and discussing, you know where to find us.

Dan said...

The use of a word indicating that a person is under someone elses' thumb, to use different words, is not a personal attack, unkind, or whatever else you want to call it.

It's a word that means something, and means something in this discussion. If I said that I follow Luther and all of his teachings above all else, I am under bondage to Luther, not free in Christ. I am following a man and not Christ. Paul said "follow me, as I follow Christ".

As a believer, I am a "bondslave" to Christ, using Paul's terminology. It's not a dirty word. I would make the same comment to someone joining the Mormon church - he/she is placing himself/herself under b______ to that church.

I have absolutely no idea why you cannot even discuss the possibility that your chosen 'religion' might not be all that it is cracked up to be.

Carlus Henry said...

Dan,

Maybe I overreacted to the bondage comment. I just don't see why we can't discuss the topic at hand without the negative comments.

Is that too much to ask?

I believe to my very core that there is more scriptural support for the Reformation than for Roman Catholocism.

And I believe that there is more scriptural support for Catholicism than there is for Protestant Reformational theology - if Reformational theology is even a word.

The beliefs of the early church are also important, as long as there aren't detours from scripture, or structures built on what is not supported by scripture.

I don't see anything that happened in the Early Church that are detours from scripture. I also do not see structures built that is not directly supportable by scripture.

So where do we go from here? Do we discuss the Early Church and whether or not they detoured or added structures that is not supportable by scripture?

Or do we discuss whether or not scripture supports Protestant Theology more than it does Catholic theology?

Is there anything that you would like to discuss?

Hapax Paradidomi said...

...All he says about traditions is that they hold to them, not that they are equal to scripture.
Augustine's appeal to tradition MUST be taken as meaning tradition directly supported by scripture, because of the sheer weight of his insistence that scripture is the final authority, as has been shown.
=====


I find it odd that protestants would argue that tradition is to be viewed as lower than scripture all the while practicing the opposite.

Consider the follow:

1) Protestants maintain that even they themselves have traditions.

2) They maintain that the tradition's must be in agreement with scripture.

So in conclusion, a protestant would need to conclude that if his tradition is in agreement with scripture, then it is equally binding on believers as is the words of scripture itself.

Is there any other way to look at it?