Friday, September 15, 2006

Debate with "Ricky" on Sola Scriptura: Part 2

This continues my debate with "Ricky" on Sola Scriptura. Also see Part 1. His words will be indented and italicized.

Now if this principle of the sufficiency and CLARITY of the Word is true in the Old Testament how much more would this be true in the New.
Well, this is the first time you've said anything about the clarity of Scripture, and I definitely don't see how you proved it from the OT with just two passages from Deuteronomy. But, I suppose we'll move on to your NT evidence ...

It is not necessary to only assume this but rather the New Testament makes evident that the character of Scripture is to be sufficient and clear.
I noticed you fell just short of saying "explicit" here. Wise move on your part.

One example is found in 2 Timothy 3:12-4:5. Paul here writes to his younger brother in the faith and states that Timothy was instructed in the faith by his mother and grandmother and has also learned all about Paul's teaching(3:10). Timothy has been taught by all sorts of oral teachings, some of it apostolic.
Thank you for your honesty here. Some people refuse to admit that Timothy learned from any oral, Apostolic teaching whatsoever.

Yet Paul reminds Timothy in the following verses that the Scriptures are able to make him wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus.
Why "yet"? The two statements are not at odds with each other. As I said before, an affirmation of Scripture is not simultaneously a rejection of Tradition. With all the affirmations of tradition in Paul's letters, including those to Timothy, it would be absurd to say that tradition was not a rule of faith for them. There certainly isn't any evidence from 2 Tim 3:10-17 that Timothy was called to abandon what he learned from Paul in favor of the OT, or that his oral teachings were any less a rule in his life than the Scriptures. All vs. 15-17 do is affirm the authoritative nature of the Scriptures. Period. It is a grand leap of logic to take from this that the Scriptures are to be either our only rule OR our final rule.

He is teaching Timothy that Scriptures are specifically designed for teaching, reproof/rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Therefore because Scripture has this character, it completely equips the man of God for EVERY good work....
Amen! But how does this prove that it is the only rule of faith? I simply don't see it.

....and this Paul tells Timothy is what he must teach and safeguard for a time will come when people will not want to hear God’s Word but will want to follow after teachers who will teach them want will make them comfortable and whatever tickle their fancies, who will direct them to myths instead of the truth of God’s written Word.
I agree ... but he's not just safeguarding Scripture. The word of God is not restricted to writing. I have already shown this from the OT. Many NT verses can be used as well (cf. Lk 3:2-3; 5:1; Acts 8:14; 13:5; 1 Thes 2:15; Tit 1:3; Heb 11:3; 2 Pet 3:5). I anticipate having to interact with them, but I'll just list them for now.

The clarity and force of Paul’s teaching here are striking.
Clarity? Are you sure? Protestants don't even agree on the proper parameters of Sola Scriptura, and Catholics/Orthodox don't believe in it at all. If it was so clear, I don't think there would be so much division on this point.

In spite of the rich ORAL teaching Timothy had, he is to preach and teach the written scriptures because they give him clearly all he needs for wisdom and instruction for the people of God in faith and every good work.
In spite of? Where in 2 Tim 3:10-17 do you see Paul commanding Timothy to reject his oral teaching, or to preserve only the written word? In the very same letter, Paul tells Timothy to entrust what he has heard from him "to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2:2). In other words, preserve my oral teaching. You are setting up a dichotomy between Tradition and Sripture that simply does not exist in this passage.

The sufficiency and clarity of the Word are clearly taught in this passage of Scripture over and over again.
Over and over again? In this one passage? Perhaps you can show me where Paul says here that Scripture is clear. I don't see it.

John Chrysostom paraphrased the meaning of Paul’s words to Timothy in this way: “You have the Scriptures for a master instead of me; from there you can learn whatever you would know.” I agree this is what Paul meant.
Just like the Scripture verses you cite, this quote from Chrysostom (which I can't verify because you didn't provide the source) affirms the material sufficiency of scripture, not the formal sufficiency. Come on bro, you honestly believe that, of all people, John Chrysostom rejected the Church and Tradition as rules of faith? I take it you've never read his Homilies on Second Thessalonians, where he writes, in response to 2 Thes 2:15:
"Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things also unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore, let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition, seek no farther."
Moving on now:

In listening to several debates on this topic especially the debates of James White vs Roman apologist,....
Haha, James White, he's amusing! For several responses to his work, go here.

....The common response of the Roman apologist is to repeatedly assert that 2 Timothy 3 does not teach sufficiency. They will refer to James 1:4, Matt. 19:21, or Colossians 1:28 and 4:12 as parallel texts, claiming that the word “complete” in 2 Timothy 3:17 does not mean sufficient but those passages are not parallel at all if you know your Greek. A totally different Greek word is used.
James Akin (your turn to laugh now ) calls this the "Greek translation fallacy." Basically, it assumes that if the same Greek word isn't used both times then there must be a difference in meaning. This simply is not so. You can use two different words and still express the same meaning. It happens all the time in scripture.

In the Timothy passage 3:17 it uses the word “exartizo” which has to do with being fitted for a task or equipped as the verse already states. Those other passages that they want to parallel with uses the word “telios”, which has to do with maturity or having reached a desired end. Roman apologist will attempt to convince us that these texts of Scripture do not mean what they clearly say as do all heretics.
Haha, I need to show "quiet storm" this paragraph too! Anyway, let's compare 2 Tim 3:17 and James 1:4 (from the KJV NT Greek Lexicon):

2 Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect (a[rtioß, "artios"), throughly furnished (ejxartivzw, "exartizo") unto all good works.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect (
tevleioß, "teleios") and entire (oJlovklhroß, "holokleros"), wanting nothing.


Do these two verses not say almost the exact same thing? If there is a difference in meaning, it actually works in my favor [I have linked all 4 terms to the lexicon I used so that you can compare them for yourself]. The Greek words for "perfect" and "entire" in James 1:4 are much stronger terms for completion than the ones found in 2 Tim 3:17, yet we still would not assert that steadfastness is all we need. Despite that, you see it fit to use weaker words as justification for declaring Scripture as your sole rule of faith. You may try to force a distinction between the two passages, but nobody is going to be able to build much of a case for the meaning of either "artios" or "exartizo" based on New Testament study. The first term occurs only once in Scripture and the second only twice [the other occurrence being in Acts 21:5], making meaningful scriptural comparative studies of the usage impossible.

That said, on to your second post ...

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