Who Is Your Teacher? Scripture Alone?

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To anyone who adheres to Sola Scriptura, they have gotten it right…The Bible is the sole authority when it comes to Christian doctrine…

The above phrase was taken from the article: Who Is Your Teacher? — by Modconspiracy (Link at bottom).

Is the Bible really the sole authority? Does the Bible teach that it is the sole authority? Was this always believed by Christianity? Is Scripture the only infallible teacher?

Well first, how did the Bible come together?

The Bible is a collection of writings considered to be inspired by God, written by man. The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included therein. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. The Council of Laodicea, 360 AD, produced a list of books similar to today’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon. Around 367 AD, St. Athanasius came up with a canon of books he thought were divinely inspired. Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today’s canon, the same canon listed by Athanasius. The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus’ Decree. Later Councils of Hippo, 393 AD, and Carthage, 397 AD, ratified this canon listed by Pope Damasus. In 405 AD, Pope Innocent I wrote a letter to the Bishop of Toulouse reaffirming the canon, which contained 73 books.

This is roughly how the Bible came to be. The Catholic Church was the one, who, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, determined what books belonged in the canon, and which did not.

The New Testament is a collection of letters written by the first Christians, primarily the Apostles, to the churches in their care, or their students in the Faith. The Gospels are a written account of what occurred in Christ’s life. These events were previously taught orally, before they were written. We are both lucky and thankful that Christ’s Apostles decided to write down His teachings, as Christ never commanded them to write any of it on paper.

Catholics believe that the Bible is the written form of God’s Word, and it is inerrant. Along with Sacred Tradition, it is a source of Revelation to man. Tradition is all the Christian teachings that are not found in the Bible, but are still doctrinal truths. These two sources of Revelation are interpreted and taught infallibly by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the Pope.

This is where the Protestant churches disagree. They believe that the Bible alone is the sole authority of Christian doctrine, and it alone is the infallible teacher. This doctrine is commonly referred to by its Latin name of Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone.

Is Sola Scriptura true? Does it have any biblical or historical roots? For Sola Scriptura to work, it would have to be found in the Bible. The most commonly cited verse by Protestants when attempting to prove Sola Scriptura is:

“All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This verse does not say that Scripture is sufficient; it says that Scripture is profitable. It does not say that we are to go by the Bible alone. Also, read in context with the preceding verses, St. Paul is talking to Timothy about the scriptures that he has known from his infancy (2 Timothy 3:15). The only scriptures at that time was the Old Testament. Paul’s epistles were not regarded as Scripture at the time of its writing. If this is proof of Sola Scriptura, then in reality it is Sola Old Testament! The real message of this passage is that all scripture is profitable, but not sufficient.

The Greek word pasa, which is usually translated as “all”, means “every”, in the sense of referring to each and every individual piece of the class denoted. That is to say that the Greek literally reads that each and every individual scripture is profitable. Profitable, not sufficient. If profitable is to be taken as sufficient, then that means that every individual book of Scripture is sufficient to teach all Christian doctrine, and that is utter nonsense.

This passage doesn’t teach formal sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and the Church. If we look at the overall context of this passage, we can see that Paul makes reference to oral Tradition three times (2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14). And to use an analogy,  examine a similar passage:

“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:11-15).

If 2 Timothy 3 proves the sole sufficiency of Scripture, then Ephesians 4 would also prove the sufficiency of pastors and teachers for the attainment of Christian perfection. The pastors, teachers, etc. are able to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, building Christ’s Church, and unity in knowledge of the Faith. Using the Protestant mindset for 2 Timothy 3:16, it appears that the leaders of the Church are sufficient, since this passage doesn’t even mention Scripture. So if all non-scriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. Another passage that could be mentioned such as James 1:4.

“And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.” (James 1:4)

It appears that, using the Protestant mentality applied to 2 Timothy 3:16, patience is enough to perfect a man, and only patience. James makes no mention of Scripture being sufficient.

Or perhaps 2 Corinthians 12:9 which states:

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness‘ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Maybe even Matthew 19:21.

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21)

Nowhere does the Bible claim to be the sole teacher of Christian doctrine, implicitly or explicitly. Why should one believe Sola Scriptura if the Bible itself does not teach it?

One cannot argue that Sola Scriptura is a doctrine of the Early Church either–they didn’t have a Bible for several centuries. The early Christians relied on oral Tradition to learn about God and Christian doctrine. Tradition, like the Bible, is the Word of God.

“Word” in Holy Scripture often refers to a proclaimed, oral teaching of prophets or apostles. What the prophets spoke was the word of God regardless of whether or not their utterances were recorded later as written Scripture. So for example, in Jeremiah:

“For twenty-three years…the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again…’But you did not listen to me,’ declares the Lord…Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: ‘Because you have not listened to my words…’ ” (Jer. 25:3, 7-8).

This was the Word of God even though some of it was not recorded in writing. It had equal authority as writing or proclamation-never-reduced-to-writing. This was true also of apostolic preaching. When the phrases “word of God” or “word of the Lord” appear in Acts and the epistles, they almost always refer to oral preaching, not to Scripture. For example:

“When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.” (1 Thess. 2:13)

The Scriptures are not the only form of the Word of God. The word of God is oral Tradition also, as shown above. Before Paul wrote down the Word of God, it was oral–but it was still the Word of God.

Many Protestants quote verses in the Bible where corrupt traditions of men are condemned (Matt. 15:2-6; Mark 7:8-13; Col. 2:8). They seem to think that since Jesus condemned man-made traditions that nullify the Word of God, then all tradition is to be regarded as bad. The Bible says otherwise.

Let us remember that Jesus Christ commissioned the Apostles to “preach the Gospel to every creature”(Mark 16:15), not to “write down everything that I have taught you in one big book.” The Apostles oral teaching was to be believed, as it was binding (Luke 10:16). The prophet Isaiah prophesied of how the Word of the Lord would not depart from his people’s mouths; and would remain with them forever (Is. 59:21) This shows how important Tradition really is; not only the Bible holds the authoritative Christian teaching. This oral teaching will last forever, says Simon Peter.

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:25)

Be aware of the word preached–it was oral. This was guaranteed to last. Just because the Word was not written down does not mean that it wasn’t the Word of God. How did the Bible come to be?? Did several typewritten papers fall from Heaven one day? No. God inspired men to preach and later write down His Word. The oral Word holds the same authority as that which is written.

“And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

The first Christians persevered in the doctrine of the apostles, not solely on the Bible. Why did these Christians not persevere in Scripture alone? Because, they acknowledged the Apostles as their teachers, and also because the only part of the Bible in existence was the Old Testament. The New Testament was not written at this particular time, so this does not help the Protestant argument.

“Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.” (1 Cor. 11:2)

These “ordinances” that Paul has delivered to the Corinthians is tradition; something that is to be upheld, according to the Apostle. Why should the Christians have kept Paul’s ordinances? Should they have said that they didn’t see his ordinances in the Bible? Oh right, there was no Bible at that time.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thes. 2:14)

St. Paul commands the holding of oral and written Tradition–not Scripture alone. He says to observe the tradition that has been learned by word, oral tradition, or written, scripture.

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Tim.1:13-14)

Paul tells Timothy to keep the sound teaching he has heard from him–oral Tradition.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”(2 Timothy 2:2, emphasis added)

Paul tells Timothy to entrust to “reliable people” the teaching he has heard him say. This teaching that Timothy has heard is oral teaching–Tradition. Tradition is taught to be held as binding by the Church’s believer’s; not only Scripture. St. Paul approves of Apostolic Tradition, apart from the harmful traditions of men.

Tradition is of the same authority as the Bible. Why? Because it too, along with the Bible is God’s Word. They are just two different sources of Revelation in different forms. Before the Gospels were put on paper, they were oral Tradition. In reality, the New Testament is Tradition on paper. Why argue that Scripture alone is authoritative when Scripture says otherwise?

Did Paul not teach Christians to follow the Tradition given them? The Tradition he gave was authoritative. It would be very foolish to ignore the importance of Tradition. St. Paul knew that what he was teaching was infallible, or else he would have been commanding his followers to adhere to a mistaken doctrine. He writes:

“If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thes. 3:14)

“Take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17)

Why should someone adhere to Sola Scriptura when Scripture does not teach that it alone is authoritative? The Bible clearly says that both Tradition and itself are rules of authority. Protestants defending Sola Scriptura will claim that Jesus and Paul accepted the authority of the Old Testament. This is true, as we witness Christ’s showdown with Satan in the beginning of Luke 4, but they also appealed to other authority outside of written revelation. For example:

In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus teaches that the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding authority based “on Moses’ seat,” but this phrase or idea cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament.

In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul refers to a rock that “followed” the Jews through the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement.

“As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses” (2 Tim. 3:8). These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (Ex. 7:8) or anywhere else in the Old Testament.

The reference to “He shall be called a Nazarene” cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was “spoken by the prophets” (Matt. 2:23). Therefore, this prophecy, which is considered to be “God’s word,” was passed down orally rather than through Scripture.

Why should these references be believed by those that were being spoken to, if they were not written in Scripture? In 1 Corinthians 10, shouldn’t the Christians have rebuked Paul for going beyond Scripture and teach them from Tradition? No, because they were never taught to go by Scripture alone. None of the first Christians or Jews followed the rule of Sola Scriptura. The Jews listened to the prophets and other teachers God set before them, instead of going by Scripture Alone.

To give two examples from the Old Testament itself:

In Nehemiah 8:3, Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people in Jerusalem. In verse 7 we find thirteen Levites who assisted Ezra and helped the people to understand the law. Much earlier, we find Levites exercising the same function (2 Chr. 17:8-9).

Ezra, a priest and scribe, studied the Jewish law and taught it to Israel, and his authority was binding under pain of imprisonment, banishment, loss of goods, and even death (Ezra 7:26).

So the people did indeed understand the law (Neh. 8:8, 12), but not without teaching assistance. The Old Testament teaches the need for authoritative interpreters, just like the New Testament.

The Bible, like any book, cannot interpret itself. There must be a truthful, teaching authority. There are people who do not understand the Scriptures and twist them to their own destruction. St. Peter mentions this in his second epistle, when speaking of St. Paul’s writings.

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

Someone with reasonable biblical knowledge must teach the meaning of the scriptures to others. Someone must show others the meaning of the sacred writings, so they may understand. Who better to do this than the Catholic Church, the institution that put the Bible together?

“And he was returning, sitting in his chariot, and reading Isaiah the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” (Acts 8:28-31)

People must be shown the meaning of the Scriptures that they may know their meaning, and that they may not twist them to their own destruction. How can a person of no religious training be able to correctly decide the true meanings of Scripture passages? There are many seemingly contradictory passages in the Scriptures.

 Matthew 23:9: “And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven.”

Romans 4:12: “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.”

So did Paul sin by calling a man on earth his father?

John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

We have to hate our parents to follow Christ? Or are we to love one another? Which one?

With so many passages that are difficult to understand, there must be a teacher. Even the Twelve Apostles did not understand some of Christ’s parables, and needed them explained (Mark 4:33-34). The prophesies in Scripture are not to be privately interpreted (2 Pet. 1:20), lest people twist their meanings (2 Peter 3:16).

Here we see the Bible itself stating in no uncertain terms that its prophecies are not a matter for which the individual is to arrive at his own interpretation. St. Peter is obviously contrasting genuine, Apostolic teaching with false prophets and false teachers, and he makes reference to private interpretation as the pivotal point between the two. The clear implication is that private interpretation is one pathway whereby an individual turns from authentic teaching and begins to follow erroneous teaching.

Who can correctly teach the Bible’s meaning?

The Bible itself refers to the Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The truth of the faith has been revealed primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who with Jesus Christ, are the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, which keeps it’s teaching from corruption forever (John 14:16).

It is evident from the above passages that the teaching Church should be infallible, or else it would not be the pillar and ground of truth. If the Church is the pillar and ground of truth, then it is unable to teach erroneously on Christian doctrine.  The only plausible conclusion is that Our Lord was very deliberate in establishing His Church and that He was referring to its infallibility when He called it the “pillar and ground of truth”.

Beginning with Peter, the Apostles received authority from Jesus Christ Himself.

“Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)

“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:17)

It is clear that God gave authority to his Apostles. The judicial power of binding and loosing is not just an everyday accomplishment! With their authority evident, why would one teach that Scripture alone is the sole authority? If the Church is the pillar of truth, how can the Bible be the only infallible authority? The notion of Sola Scriptura diminishes the authority of the Church, and leaves the ground of truth inferior to the Bible.

In the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-30), we see Peter and James speaking with authority. This Council makes an authoritative pronouncement (citing the Holy Spirit) that was binding on all Christians:

“For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that 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 next chapter, we read that Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling around “through the cities,” and Scripture says that “they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4).

Why did the Apostles make a decision on something not clearly taught in Scripture? Why did the Early Christians not object to this? Because the Apostles were appointed as teaching authorities by Christ. They did not adhere to, and were not bound by Sola Scriptura.

Sola Scriptura underemphasizes the fact that the Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. The Church got along quite nicely in the world without having a Bible for a few hundred years. If Sola Scriptura was true, how did the early Church evangelize and overthrow the Roman Empire, survive and prosper almost 350 years, without knowing for sure which books belong in the canon of Scripture? They didn’t go by Scripture Alone. There was no Bible for quite some time. The canon of Scripture was not settled till the 4th century. Who or what served as the final Christian authority up to the time that the New Testament’s canon was identified? And if there was a final authority before the establishment of the canon, on what basis did that authority cease being final once the Bible’s canon was established? The whole position is utterly illogical. The notion of Sola Scriptura, like the ancient Jews, was alien. They held Tradition and Scripture in the same regard as the Catholic Church. Epiphanius of Salamis summarizes the Catholic position quite neatly:

It is needful also to make use of tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy apostles handed down some things in the scriptures, other things in tradition.” (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 61:6 [A.D. 375])

The Bible itself would not be in existence if not for the Catholic Church. How else would it have come together? The Catholic Church determined what books belonged in the Bible canon. The Bible did not drop out of Heaven with an inspired table of contents. How would one determine, from Scripture alone, what books belong in the Scriptures? How would one determine, from Scripture alone, who wrote what books of the Bible? The manuscripts did not begin titled “The Gospel according to Luke”, or Paul’s Epistle to the Romans”. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church, using Sacred Tradition, determined the canon of Scripture, and knew who wrote the books. Those conclusions could not be gotten from solely the Bible, especially if no one knew what was inspired Scripture.

Essential to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the idea that the Holy Spirit will enlighten each believer as to the correct interpretation for a given Bible passage. This idea presupposes that each believer possesses a Bible or at least has access to a Bible. The difficulty with such a presumption is that the Bible was not able to be mass-produced and readily available to individual believers until the advent of the printing press in the 15th century. Even then, it would have taken quite some time for large numbers of Bibles to be printed and disseminated to the general population. How could Christians possibly have access to  an authoritative source prior to this time? Did Christ leave His people in the dark about Christian doctrine after he ascended to Heaven? How would they know?

Christians did not need a Bible to know God’s Word, as they had His Word in the oral form of Tradition, and were taught by His Church, the Pillar of Truth. Really, if Jesus intended for Christianity to strictly be a “religion of the book,” why did He wait 1400 years before showing somebody how to build a printing press?

And, if Sola Scriptura were true, wouldn’t all Christians who adhere to the doctrine be in agreement on Christian teaching? There are thousands of “Christian” denominations, all teaching different doctrines. Are they all correct? Some denominations teach that once you are “saved” you can never lose your salvation, while others believe it is possible for a true Christian to sin gravely and cease being “saved.” Some teach the need for infant baptism, others condemn it. Who’s right? Shouldn’t they be on the same page since the rely solely on Scripture?

If every person gives his own private interpretation on a passage, how does he know if he is correct or not? Are any individual Protestant interpreters infallible? Many will answer no. In that case, you really don’t know what is the truth, do you? What a sad position.

With all the above problems stated, it is evident that Sola Scriptura is just another unbiblical (how ironic), man-made tradition. The only God-given institution that is infallible and error-free is the Catholic Church, as founded by Christ Himself. Christ’s Church teaches that Sola Scriptura is a heretical, man-made tradition that leads one away from the Truth, not closer to it.

The Catholic Church, using her Magisterium, infallibly teaches Christian doctrine, using the sources of Revelation; the written form of God’s Word, the Bible, and the oral form, passed down from generation to generation, Sacred Tradition. This alone is how Christ intended his flock to be taught. Only by accepting the Catholic Church as possessing the complete rule of faith can one be certain that they possess the whole truth Christ taught. Delving into the traditions and religions of men will not bring you truth; it will lead you astray.

— Patrick E. Devens


 

via Who Is Your Teacher? — MODCONSPIRACY

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49 thoughts on “Who Is Your Teacher? Scripture Alone?

  1. Pat,

    Scripture is our only authority. Teachers cannot be said to be authoritative but can bring Scripture to us, but they must not add to or take from it but explain it.

    Tradition is addition to Scripture. Following traditions, such as the papal right to possess temporal power, brings consequences that are bad. Please see my post on the extermination of heretics.

    I must unfollow these comments and please do not comment on my post because I will only present facts of history and Canon 3 “straight from the horse’s mouth” with commentary of the dangers of Tradition. Pay primary attention to the passage from Luke 8 and Canon 3. Ok, Pat? I care but obviously cannot explain things well.

    https://pilgrimsprogressrevisted.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/historical-insights-the-church-of-romes-law-on-the-extermination-of-heretics/

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  2. Pat, a final comment and then I must weigh anchor.

    The Lord gave the office of teacher. Your confusion may come from the Church of Rome’s insistence that there must be a Magesterium.

    Here is one of the Biblical supports for the Divinely ordained office of teacher:

    Ephesians 4
    11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

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    • I realize that there is a teacher, as set up by Christ. He left his Apostles as teachers of Christianity. I’m wanting to know how this authority relates to the authority of Scripture. Is one above the other?

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      • Scripture is God breathed. It is His Word. The Apostles taught His Word and so do we. Everyone who doesn’t teach His Word but goes beyond it, adds to or takes from it is a false teacher. His Word is above any of us. The Apostles are authoritative because they spoke His Word.

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  3. Pat,

    This is a response to your comment of today, July 4:

    “For now, if someone promotes obedience to Scripture, does that mean that they automatically deem Tradition unnecessary?”

    No, it isn’t automatic. But what happens when the Bible and Tradition are in conflict? In that case, as always, we must stand on God’s Word, for then we will be doing as Jesus said in Matthew 7,

    24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
    26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

    You wrote: “I’m looking for Scripture that shows that the Jews treated the Scriptures as the final religious authority.”

    Here’s how things worked for Israel. The LORD established His covenant with the people by speaking words that Moses recorded. Part of that covenant was His provision of a priesthood and sacrificial system to deal with national and personal sins committed in ignorance at the Tabernacle where He met with them. The prophets gave further direct revelation to warn them to return to Him and obey this covenant. (Isaiah 8:20 – “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”) A bit of their history: Josiah didn’t initiate and enact his reforms under the authority of the priests. He was moved to obedience by what was written. The priests of his time appeared as ignorant before the rediscovery of the Book of the Law as Josiah. For Josiah it wasn’t ‘The priests who have authority told me so I must obey,’ but ‘God said and warned us – we must obey God.”

    You wrote: “I have seen that the Jews, while obeying Scripture, as it is God’s Word in written form, also obeyed the human authority set before them. In Nehemiah 8:3, Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people in Jerusalem. Several verses later, there are Levites assisting Ezra helping the people understand the Law.”

    Yes, it is true that they obeyed the words of Ezra the priest, who preached, explained, disciplined and rebuked them. However, the content of his teaching was the binding Word of God, the Torah.

    “Even before this, Levites served the same function; (2 Chr. 17:8-9). Ezra, studied the Jewish law and taught it to Israel. He had authority, given from God, that was binding. (Ezra 7:26).”

    What was binding was the Torah itself, Pat.

    One more thing, you won’t find that the LORD God spoke directly through the priests but the prophets (who were always told to record the words God spoke):

    Hebrews 1

    1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

    Hope that this is helpful in some way.

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    • Thanks for responding Maria.

      “Yes, it is true that they obeyed the words of Ezra the priest, who preached, explained, disciplined and rebuked them. However, the content of his teaching was the binding Word of God, the Torah.”

      Yes, I understand this, the content was the Torah, but since Ezra explained it to them, it was also his interpretation. The main point here is that they had a human teacher, interpreter. (Excuse the Football terminology) but isn’t that out of bounds of Sola Scriptura?

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      • I’m trying to understand how Sola Scriptura allows for a human teacher. I’m not being a jerk here. Spanairdviii, a “Bible Christian” doesn’t want anything to do with the interpretations of others. You seem to be fine with the voice of a teacher.

        The question is if Scripture is a Christian’s ultimate Christian authority, what does that make human teachers? I though that you believed that the Holy Spirit showed true Christians the true meanings of Scripture. I honestly don’t understand how a teacher’s authority would be compatible with the Sola Scriptura mindset.

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      • Pat, to hold to Scripture Alone simply means that we reject Tradition as an authority. Only Scripture is authoritative. The Spirit teaches us directly through Scripture, yes. We also have teachers who help us understand it.

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      • Ok, that sheds some light on your belief. But at the same time you said only Scripture is authoritative. Teachers don’t count? Teachers can be authoritative while Scripture is the only authority? Or are teachers more of an “option”, with Scripture the ultimate authority?

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  4. Patrick, soon I hope to post on Lateran IV’s Canon 3.

    Also we’ve just purchased “a Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura,” which includes a section on “The Patristic Exegesis of 2 Timothy 3:15-17.”

    Talk later. Still need to locate an original source for Wycliffe’s high view of Scripture and low view of Tradition…

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    • Ok, thanks Maria. Talk soon. 😉

      On a side note, you don’t regard me as a “know-nothing” because of my age, right? I mean, yes, you disagree with me religiously, but you know that I have come to my own conclusions on religious principles. I only say this because one blogger, Spaniardviii found out that I am 15, after he though I was much older. After that, he has been saying that I could not have possibly written my articles on my own, but copy them from other authors and reword them. That’s not the case.

      But ever since then, he’s been saying I’m just a “little kid” who is a plagiarist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patrick, this morning I found this comment of yours and remembered I didn’t answer this:

        “If Sola Scriptura is the sole authority, would it have been used by the Jews?”

        So I went to look for Josiah, the young King of Judah, and read of the reforms he enacted after the finding of the Book of the Law in the Temple at the time it was being renovated. (2 Kings 22 and 23) He was only 18 at the time. However, he was promoting obedience to Holy Scripture and not promoting Tradition.

        Josiah was very young. Very young men fight both in physical battles and spiritual ones, but in spiritual battles they must fight for the truth, and Jesus said, “Thy word is truth.” John 17:17

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for replying Maria.

        I’ll read thru 2 Kings 23 and 24 later today. For now, if someone promotes obedience to Scripture, does that mean that they automatically deem Tradition unnecessary? I’m looking for Scripture that shows that the Jews treated the Scriptures as the final religious authority.

        I have seen that the Jews, while obeying Scripture, as it is God’s Word in written form, also obeyed the human authority set before them. In Nehemiah 8:3, Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people in Jerusalem. Several verses later, there are Levites assisting Ezra helping the people understand the Law.

        Even before this, Levites served the same function; (2 Chr. 17:8-9). Ezra, studied the Jewish law and taught it to Israel. He had authority, given from God, that was binding. (Ezra 7:26).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. @biker999,

    I’m researching Wyc’s views. Here is a quote of his:

    ““The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God: all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!”
    ― John Wycliffe

    It is best to find a primary source, so… I will do more research.

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  6. @biker999

    Hi! I will just leave a quote here about Wycliffe’s views and place in the events leading up to the Reformation:

    “John Wyclif was both a great champion of the Reformation and a dismal failure. He assaulted the papacy and the church in ways that had previously been unthinkable, yet he was cut down at nearly every turn. He pioneered ideas such as sola Scriptura and vernacular Bibles, trying to sweep away centuries of extra-biblical tradition, but met with little to no success. Though his reforms did begin to take hold, they were put down within his lifetime. John Hus managed briefly to rekindle Wyclif’s ideas in the early fifteenth century, but the church extinguished Hus’ voice even more quickly than it had Wyclif’s. Not until Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door at Wittenberg did the seeds of Wyclif’s legacy bloom into the Reformation – but then how glorious was their flowering!”

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  7. Patrick, I hope it’s okay that I comment. One of the traditions in Canon Law and Papal encyclicals and decrees is contrary to the whole spirit of the New Testament, and nullifies the Lord’s command to love: the extermination of heretics. This was instituted and enacted by your church. The Lord cannot be leading and guiding it; it cannot be infallible. When Christians, Evangelicals, Protestants fail we must admit it. Why not Rome? Pope Francis apologized to the Waldenses but the Canons, decrees etc., are still in place.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Patrick, I have learned about the tradition of extermination of heretics from Protestant sources, such as, The History of the Waldenses by J. A. Wylie, but here is a Catholic source – the actual canon law – that deals with it, from the time of the Crusade against the Albigenses. Hope I haven’t made mistakes in copying and pasting this, but in any event you can use the link to read at Fordham.

        May I ask if you know about this canon and the history, that is, have your Catholic teachers informed you about them?

        Caeli’s blog brought me here.

        Medieval Sourcebook:
        Twelfth Ecumenical Council:
        Lateran IV 1215
        Source: Fordham University
        http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/lateran4.asp

        CANON 3
        Text. We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy that raises against the holy, orthodox and Catholic faith which we have above explained; condemning all heretics under whatever names they may be known, for while they have different faces they are nevertheless bound to each other by their tails, since in all of them vanity is a common element. Those condemned, being handed over to the secular rulers of their bailiffs, let them be abandoned, to be punished with due justice, clerics being first degraded from their orders. As to the property of the condemned, if they are laymen, let it be confiscated; if clerics, let it be applied to the churches from which they received revenues. But those who are only suspected, due consideration being given to the nature of the suspicion and the character of the person, unless they prove their innocence by a proper defense, let them be anathematized and avoided by all 1-intil they have made suitable satisfaction; but if they have been under excommunication for one year, then let them be condemned as heretics. Secular authorities, whatever office they may hold, shall be admonished and induced and if necessary compelled by ecclesiastical censure, that as they wish to be esteemed and numbered among the faithful, so for the defense of the faith they ought publicly to take an oath that they will strive in good faith and to the best of their ability to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church; so that whenever anyone shall have assumed authority, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be bound to confirm this decree by oath. But if a temporal ruler, after having been requested and admonished by the Church, should neglect to cleanse his territory of this heretical foulness, let him be excommunicated by the metropolitan and the other bishops of the province. If he refuses to make satisfaction within a year, let the matter be made known to the supreme pontiff, that he may declare the ruler’s vassals absolved from their allegiance and may offer the territory to be ruled lay Catholics, who on the extermination of the heretics may possess it without hindrance and preserve it in the purity of faith; the right, however, of the chief ruler is to be respected as long as he offers no obstacle in this matter and permits freedom of action. The same law is to be observed in regard to those who have no chief rulers (that is, are independent). Catholics who have girded themselves with the cross for the extermination of the heretics, shall enjoy the indulgences and privileges granted to those who go in defense of the Holy Land.

        We decree that those who give credence to the teachings of the heretics, as well as those who receive, defend, and patronize them, are excommunicated; and we firmly declare that after any one of them has been branded with excommunication, if he has deliberately failed to make satisfaction within a year, let him incur ipso jure the stigma of infamy and let him not be admitted to public offices or deliberations, and let him not take part in the election of others to such offices or use his right to give testimony in a court of law. Let him also be intestable, that he may not have the free exercise of making a will, and let him be deprived of the right of inheritance. Let no one be urged to give an account to him in any matter, but let him be urged to give an account to others. If perchance he be a judge, let his decisions have no force, nor let any cause be brought to his attention. If he be an advocate, let his assistance by no means be sought. If a notary, let the instruments drawn up by him be considered worthless, for, the author being condemned, let them enjoy a similar fate. In all similar cases we command that the same be observed. If, however, he be a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, that the greater the fault the graver may be the punishment inflicted.

        If any refuse to avoid such after they have been ostracized by the Church, let them be excommunicated till they have made suitable satisfaction. Clerics shall not give the sacraments of the Church to such pestilential people, nor shall they presume to give them Christian burial, or to receive their alms or offerings; otherwise they shall be deprived of their office, to which they may not be restored without a special indult of the Apostolic See. Similarly, all regulars, on whom also this punishment may be imposed, let their privileges be nullified in that diocese in which they have presumed to perpetrate such excesses.

        But since some, under “the appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” as the Apostle says (II Tim. 3: 5), arrogate to themselves the authority to preach, as the same Apostle says: “How shall they preach unless they be sent?” (Rom. 10:15), all those prohibited or not sent, who, without the authority of the Apostolic See or of the Catholic bishop of the locality, shall presume to usurp the office of preaching either publicly or privately, shall be excommunicated and unless they amend, and the sooner the better, they shall be visited with a further suitable penalty. We add, moreover, that every archbishop or bishop should himself or through his archdeacon or some other suitable persons, twice or at least once a year make the rounds of his diocese in which report has it that heretics dwell, and there compel three or more men of good character or, if it should be deemed advisable, the entire neighborhood, to swear that if anyone know of the presence there of heretics or others holding secret assemblies, or differing from the common way of the faithful in faith and morals, they will make them known to the bishop. The latter shall then call together before him those accused, who, if they do not purge themselves of the matter of which they are accused, or if after the rejection of their error they lapse into their former wickedness, shall be canonically punished. But if any of them by damnable obstinacy should disapprove of the oath and should perchance be unwilling to swear, from this very fact let them be regarded as heretics.

        We wish, therefore, and in virtue of obedience strictly command, that to carry out these instructions effectively the bishops exercise throughout their dioceses a scrupulous vigilance if they wish to escape canonical punishment. If from sufficient evidence it is apparent that a bishop is negligent or remiss in cleansing his diocese of the ferment of heretical wickedness, let him be deposed from the episcopal office and let another, who will and can confound heretical depravity, be substituted.

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    • Sorry for not replying to your comment farther down the line sooner. As for my “teachers”, I have been instructed in the basic knowledge of the Catholic Faith till now, and am researching other Catholic historical subjects on my own now.

      First, the issue Lateran IV (1215) addressed was not the “extermination” of heretics in the sense of killing them. The use of the Latin extermino in the Council’s decree word does not mean the same as the English verb “exterminate.”

      For example, the (non-Catholic) Cassell’s Latin Dictionary points out that extermino is derived from ex (from or out of) and terminus (boundary). In English it has come to mean pushing beyond the boundary of life, but it doesn’t have that meaning in Latin. Cassell’s defines extermino as “to drive beyond the boundaries; hence lit[eral meaning], to drive out, expel, banish . . . transf[erred meaning] to put aside, remove.” Cassell’s does not list “kill,” “exterminate,” or any equivalent as a definition.

      Thus the relevant passage of Lateran IV reads, “Catholics who take the cross and gird themselves up for the expulsion [“extermination”] of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgence and be strengthened by the same holy privilege as is granted to those who go to the aid of the holy land” (Constitution 3).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Did you edit your post? It looks extremely lengthier than the original. I wouldn’t have been able to address it the way I did on my counterpost if it were this long. Looks like more scripture verses were added too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great points here. What would the first Christians have done when the Bible was not put together till the 4th century? Sola Scriptura is obviously not historically strong. Just a Martin Luther invention.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Pingback: A Call To Answer – MODCONSPIRACY

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