Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Debate with "eve" on Sola Scriptura: Part 1

"eve" started a thread at the HCR forum entitled "Are Catholics THAT Bad?" With it her point was to show that some people put too much energy into criticizing Catholicism and not enough energy into addressing what is wrong with their own church. Of course, that didn't go over well, and most of the posters in the thread still spent the whole time talking about what they deemed the heretical elements of Catholicism.

Eventually, I chimed in and what follows is a fruitful exchange between "eve" and I. So far, I have been the last one to post, but she may end up responding later. What follows is my initial post and then my comments on her response. Her words will be in indented and italicized.
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All of the arguments against Catholicism in this thread assume that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are actually biblical doctrines. I assert that they are not. If anyone would like to prove otherwise, just let me know. Perhaps a one-on-one debate is in order, so that you all can see why Catholics believe what they do about these doctrines. Catholicism is not simply ignorant reliance upon "man-made traditions."
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thanks for this post, phat.
I'm glad that you appreciate it

i noticed you suggested that Sola Scriptura is not a biblical doctrine. am i correct in assuming, then, that you don't believe that even the bible instructs us to derive God's Word from the 66 books of scripture alone?
You are correct in that assumption.

I know the Bible well. I have read it several times. I also know every verse that christians use to defend Sola Scriptura. I find none of them to be a compelling defense of this doctrine.

if i'm correct in my assumption, how would you interpret 2 Peter 1:3-4, which says "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire"?

one of the messages i see God expressing through those words of scripture is that God has given us all we need through the knowledge of Him. our knowledge of Him comes through scripture.
Indeed.........BUT, our knowledge of him is not found only in Scripture. It is also found in the teaching, or the "deposit of faith" or the one word of God handed on to the apostles by Jesus Christ. Some of the apostles wrote letters that we now find in our Bible. This deposit of faith informed their writing. But, they did not just pass on this teaching through writing. They also entrusted what they knew to faithful men who would in turn teach it to others (cf. 2 Tim 2:2). So it has been, down to the present day.

Thus, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition make up one Word of God that the Christian is exhorted to follow. "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thes 2:15).

there are over 50 references to the importance of "scripture" in the NT; and John 17:17 suggests that God's Word is truth (not "true" or "a" truth).
Indeed. But, like I said earlier, the "Word of God" is not confined soley to what has been written.

i'm not yet a theologian, so please educate me. have i misinterpreted "Sola Scriptura" and/or misinterpreted the 2 Peter passage and/or ... maybe you'll say that though John 1 says Christ is the Word of God scripture clearly says there were many things Jesus said and did not written here so therefore you look to other sources to find the fullness of the Word which is Christ.
Actually, I haven't found that verse (Jn 21:25) to be very effective, so I don't usually use it. But, I hope that everything else I have said so far has been helpful.

help! (i hope my question isn't too layered ... so thanks for your response!)
Anytime! I'm not here to convert people. I just want to share my faith and help people understand why Catholics believe what they do. If you ever have any other questions about Catholicism, I have a thread in the "General Theology" board specifically for asking questions. Here it is:
Pax Christi,


  1. The other interesting thing is that Holy Scripture does not exist except as a part of Holy Tradition. The writings came to be declared to be canonical because the Church Fathers found them to be the best representation of the faith handed down from the Apostles.

    How they came to be Scripture can be thought of as a kind of double inspiration. The Holy Spirit inspired both the writers of the books, and the Church Fathers to recognize them as being inspired. Other books that were floating around at the time good (The Didache, 1 Clement) or bad (Gospel of Thomas) were not included because the Church did not recognize them as being inspired. Interestingly, though, some of the inspired works made use of others which were not inspired, here I am thinking of the Catholic Epistle of Jude which makes use of a work of Psuedographia known as Enoch to make a point about God being the sole judge.

    But getting back to the point, the only reason we can know what books were inspired is because the Church has been inspired to tell us by the Holy Spirit

    Bryan @ THEOdyssey

  2. And I have posted something of a discussion I've been having about the Real Presence, if anyone would care to critique.

    Bryan @ THEOdyssey

  3. Good points, theo! I'll check out your debate and see if I can add anything.


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