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CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on November 17, 2012

CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

Tingnan po naman ninyo ang isa nanamang kinawawang Ministro ng INC-Manalo laban sa ating kapatid na si Bro. Ryan Mejillano ng Catholic Faith Defenders.
This four-part video is the supposed discussion turned debate between CFD Bro. Ryan and Minister Julius Cutin of INC(Manalo), Locale of Mintal, District of Davao. It was initiated by the INC (of Manalo) to trap Bro. Ryan thinking that the latter was just a petty and mediocre Catholic Christian. This happened at the residence of an INC member who was very desiroua few months before to engage Bro. Ryan in a debate with another INC (of Manalo) Minister.

Please notice the difference between a Catholic Christian and Iglesia Ni Cristo (Ni Manalo). Notice how an INC Minister delivers his part, his speeches, how he evades from the main topic that was agreed, how he first use foul words from the start to the end of these four videos.

Enjoy and reflect.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

All Rights Reserves
Video Duplication is for back-up purposes only.
Video Courtesy:

http://www.youtube.com/user/najeca2

http://www.youtube.com/user/20asisjohncarlo

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Posted in Apologetics-General, Apologetics-Visayan, Bible, Biblia (Visaya), CFD VS INC, Challenge, Debate, Debater of the Year, Doctrinal Comparison, Frequently Asked Questions, How to Help others become Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo-Manalo, Larawan (Visaya), Marks of the True Church, Q & A, Rebulto, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER, Tunay na Iglesia, Usa ra ang Tinuod nga Iglesia, When Was The Catholic Church founded? | 1 Comment »

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR BIBLE?

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 24, 2009

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR BIBLE?

By Carlos Antonio Palad

THE FIRST ENGLISH BIBLE, 1539: The Byble in Englyshe : that is to saye, the content of all the holy scrypture, bothe of ye olde and newe testament, truly translated after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke textes, by ye dylygent studye of dyverse excellent learned men, expert in the forsayde tonges. [London] : prynted by Rychard Grafton & Edward Whitchurch, 1539.

In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hired Myles Coverdale at the behest of Henry VIII to publish the “Great Bible” – so-called because of its impressive physical size. It was the first Bible in English to be authorised for public use, being distributed to every church and chained to the pulpit.(By Fr. Abe)

Where did you get the Bible anyway?

When you have no time to defend the Catholic Church in detail, what should you say?

Carlos Antonio Palad

You have a friend who is a Born-Again Christian; well, not yet, perhaps, but she is attending Bible studies and services in a Born-Again or “nondenominational” church and is beginning to question your Catholic faith.

“Where is it in the Bible that we should pray to Mary?”

“Where is it in the Bible that we should have statues? Don’t these violate the Second Commandment?”

Ideally, any Catholic should know enough of the Bible in order to answer these basic questions. As St. Jerome said, “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” and the Bible itself says “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Hopefully, you would be able to say that we pray to Mary because she is the Mother of all who follow Christ (cf. John 19:26-27 and Revelations 12, esp. 12:17) – and can we not talk to our mother? You could also say that we have statues because having statues is not actually forbidden by the Ten Commandments. What the Lord forbids is the worship of statues as if these are real gods in addition to Him, the one true God. The Lord Himself ordered statues that represent His power and presence to be made (Exodus 37:7-9, Numbers 21:8-9). Catholic statues of the Virgin Mary, of angels and saints, and of the Lord Himself, are not gods, but are reminders of God’s presence.

However, there will come a time when answering these questions will become very repetitive and tiring. Before even coming to that point, it would be better to stop the vicious cycle by challenging the very basis of all these questions.

So, next time your friend asks you another question that begins: “Where is that in the Bible…”, respond with your own questions: “Why do you believe in the Bible anyway? Where did you get the Bible, and how do you know that the Bible is God’s Word?”

Look at your friend’s eyes widen in shock and surprise when you answer: “The only reason why you and I consider the Bible to be the Word of God is because the Catholic Church says so!”

That’s right! The Bible didn’t just fall from heaven, while a thundering voice from out of nowhere proclaimed “THIS IS GOD’S WORD!” The Bible as we know it – with 27 books in the New Testament and 46 (for Protestants, 39) books in the Old Testament – did not even exist in the time of Christ and of the Apostles.

What we now call the Bible came into its final form only in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., when Church authorities sought to stop the proliferation of fake “Gospels” and “Epistles” and of the errors contained in these, by compiling a definite collection of books that can be considered as truly inspired by God and as containing the authentic teaching of Our Lord Jesus and His Apostles.
The complete story would take volumes to relate, but in a nutshell, here is how it went:

In 367, St. Athanasius of Alexandria – a great defender of the Divinity of Christ – wrote his “39th Festal Letter” in which he identified what books rightfully belong to the “New Testament.” He did this to protect his followers in Alexandria from believing in the various heresies and errors contained in bogus “holy books”. This was the first time that the “canon” or official list of books of the New Testament was identified. It gained immediate acceptance with most believers.

In the years 393, the Council of Hippo made the first enumeration of all the 73 books (both Old and New Testament) that we Catholics now consider as comprising the Bible. This same list was affirmed 4 years later, in 397, in the Council of Carthage. A few years later, Saint Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope St. Innocent I in a formal letter requesting the list of canonical books. The Pope replied in 405 A.D. with a letter confirming and reaffirming the canon given at Hippo and Carthage. Yet another Council in Carthage, in the year 419, reaffirmed the canon of the Bible given in previous Councils in Hippo and Carthage.

Now, some Born-Again Christians might complain: “But the Catholic Bible has a different Old Testament from the Old Testament that we use!” They’re right: the Catholic Old Testament has 46 books while the Protestant Old Testament has only 39 books.

There is an easy answer to this: the Catholic Old Testament is based upon the Greek Old Testament actually used in the time of Jesus Christ and accepted by all Christians for 1,500 years. The version of the Old Testament used by Protestants (including the “Born Again”), on the other hand, is based on a Hebrew version compiled several decades after Jesus lived and walked on the Earth. It was not accepted as the real Old Testament by any Christian until the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, did so in 1521. The differences between the Protestant and Catholic Old Testament also do not change the fact that Born Again Christians accept – without question – the Catholic New Testament.

So, next time someone tries to weaken your Catholic faith by using the Bible, remember: the Bible is a Catholic book.

Carlos Antonio Palad is an Associate of the Defensores Fidei Foundation, a group dedicated to teaching Catholics how to defend their faith. He is also part of the team behind the blog “Rorate Caeli” (http://rorate- caeli.blogspot. com)

Posted in Apologetics-General, Bible | Leave a Comment »

Apologetics for the Masses – Issue #112 (Sola Scriptura)

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 16, 2009

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Topic: Apologetics for the Masses – Issue #112

General Comments

Hey folks,

I’ll be in Fayetteville, TN – St. Anthony’s parish – tomorrow morning to give a couple of talks. If you’re in the south central part of Tennessee or the North Central Alabama area, I’d love to have you come by. The talks start at 9:00 AM.

My travel schedule, combined with some other things that are going on right now, has put me behind in getting these newsletters out the last couple of weeks. The next several weeks, though, should be a little less hectic and the newsletters should be pretty regular.

As always, I have very much appreciated the comments regarding the individual chapters of the book. The comments are being read and are being given due consideration, and a lot of your advice and suggestions will be reflected in the final version.

Again, though, you don’t need to comment about spaces between letters and strange characters appearing in the copy – those are server-to-server email translation problems that I can do nothing about. Neither the spaces, nor the extraneous characters are in the original.

Introduction

This newsletter contains the second half of chapter 3 – the scriptural perspective on Sola Scriptura. Actually, I might go ahead and make it a separate chapter – to keep each chapter relatively short.

As always, comments and suggestions, and editing of typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, etc. is welcomed and appreciated.

By the way, as it will be stated in the introductory pages of the book, all scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, come from the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) of the Bible.

Challenge/Response/Strategy

The Perspective Provided by Scripture

We have seen that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura fails the tests of logic and history, but what about the all–important test of Scripture? What does Scripture say about Sola Scriptura? Does the Bible teach that it is the sole infallible authority for deciding matters related to Christian teaching and practice? In other words, does the Bible teach that it is the sole rule of faith for the Christian?

Well, let’s look and see. First of all, it has to be admitted by all that there is no passage in the Bible which explicitly states that the Bible is the “sole authority” for Christians, or the “sole rule of faith” for Christians. But, are there passages that implicitly state this? Proponents of Sola Scriptura say that indeed there are such Scripture passages, and the first such passage they usually turn to is 2 Tim 3:16–17.

Tim 3:16–17 reads as follows: “All scrip ture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” First, as a Catholic, let me say that I agree 100% with this passage. “Amen,” I say! However, it nowhere says anything about the Bible being the sole rule of faith for the Christian.

There are two main things to note about this passage: 1) It says scripture is “profitable”, it does not say scripture is “all sufficient”; in other words, it does not say that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for Christians…the sole authority in matters of faith and morals for Christians; and, 2) Nowhere do we see the word “alone” in this passage, as in “scripture alone”.
What this passage is saying, and all this passage is saying, is that all of Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teachi ng and correction and so forth. As a Catholic, I agree…I agree with that 100%. With every passage of Scripture, I, as a Catholic, agree.
Scripture is indeed inspired and it is indeed profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. We need to read Scripture. We need to know it. We need to ponder it, soak in it, meditate on it, pray it, and be able to share it. But, this passage still doesn’t say Scripture is the sole rule of faith for Christians. People try to force this scripture verse to say something that it doesn’t actually say.
“But,” someone might say, “this verse says that the scriptures are given so that the man of God may be complete, or, as it says in the King James Version (KJV), that the man of God may be perfect.” And they argue that if the Scriptures make one perfect, then there is no need for anything else.
Ther e are, however, a couple of problems with that interpretation. First of all, it doesn’t say Scripture “alone” makes the man of God complete or perfect. For example, a soldier needs a rifle to be complete, to be made perfect for battle. But, is a rifle the only thing he needs to be complete? No. He needs his helmet, his boots, his fatigues, his backpack, his ammunition, and so on. In other words, he needs his rifle to be complete, to be perfect for battle, but not his rifle alone. Just so the man of God in relation to Scripture. He needs the Scriptures to be complete, to be made perfect, but it does not say Scripture alone.
The other problem with this interpretation is presented by Scripture itself. In James 1:3–4, it says this: ”…for you know that testing of your faith produces steadfastness [patience]. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James is telling us that steadfastness, or patience, makes the Christian, the man of God, “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
So, what are the implications here? Well, if we interpret this verse the same way Sola Scriptura adherents interpret 2 Tim 3:16–17, then we have a good case for arguing that patience “alone” is all that is needed for the man of God to be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Apparently he doesn’t even need Scripture, as long as he has patience. The Bible says that with patience a Christian is “lacking in nothing.” Again, using the method of interpretation used by Sola Scriptura adherents in 2 Tim 3:16–17, we have a pretty good argument that patience alone is all the man of God needs to be complete, perfect, lacking in nothing. It’s not Sola Scriptura, it’s Sola Patientia – patience alone.
Another big problem with 2 T im 3:16–17, for those who try to use this passage as scriptural support for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, is found in the context of the passage itself. These verses apparently prove too much when interpreted as teaching Sola Scriptura. If you go back just one verse and read 2 Tim 3:15, you’ll see what I mean. In verse 15, Paul says to Timothy, “…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The sacred writings that Timothy has known from childhood?! Now, even though Timothy was a relatively young man, few, if any, of the books of the New Testament had been written when Timothy was a child. In other words, the “scripture” being referred to here is the Old Testament.
Paul is clearly talking about the Old Testament here. So, if one wants to interpret this passage as “proving” Sola Scriptura, t hen what they are actually “proving” is that it is the Old Testament scripture “alone” that is able to make the man of God perfect. Sola Old Testament Scriptura. Again, Paul is talking about the O.T. here, not the N.T.! So, it would seem to be saying more than any proponent of Sola Scriptura would want to admit to – instead of Sola Scriptura…instead of the Bible alone – it seems to be saying the Old Testament alone is necessary “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Some have argued that even though when Paul wrote 2 Timothy he was indeed referring to the Old Testament, that his words came to include the New Testament scriptures as well, once the various New Testament books were written down. Well, I would agree with that. I agree that Paul’s words to Timothy are applicable to both Old and New Testament scriptures.
However, that does not solve the problem for those who try to find Sola Scriptura in these verses. Paul saying that all scripture is inspired of God and profitable for teaching and so forth is indeed true of all Scripture – Old and New Testament – even if Paul was referring specifically to the Old Testament scriptures at the time he wrote those words. However, if you interpret this verse as teaching Sola Scriptura, you still have an insurmountable problem. The problem is that a Sola Scriptura interpretation gives the verse one meaning when Paul wrote it, but a completely different and contradictory meaning now. It also makes the New Testament scriptures unnecessary for the early Christians.
According to a Sola Scriptura interpretation of these verses, Paul was telling Timothy that the Old Testament alone was the sole rule of faith – the sole authority in matters of faith and morals – for the Christian. That has to be the interpretation becaus e Paul is clearly referring to the Old Testament in these verses. But in our day, the Sola Scriptura Christian rejects the notion that the Old Testament alone is the sole rule of faith for the Christian. Which means, a Sola Scriptura interpretation of 2 Tim 3:16–17 necessitates a change in doctrine. What was supposedly true for Timothy and other early Christians – Sola Old Testament Scriptura – is no longer true for Christians of our age.
So, for a sola scriptura interpretation of these verses to be true, doctrine needs to have changed. Truth, in essence, needs to have changed. But, does truth change? Ever? Do you know of any other place where Scripture gives us a doctrinal teaching that was supposedly true for the early Christians, but is now false for Christians of our time?
Also, when Paul wrote to Timothy, around 65 A.D. or so, several books of the New Testament had indeed been written. But, these we re not books that Timothy would have known “since childhood.” So, again, Paul’s words to Timothy were not referring to these books of the New Testament that had already been written. But, if you interpret these words as teaching Sola Scriptura, then you in essence have Paul saying that, even though many books of the New Testament were in existence at the time of his letter to Timothy, they were basically unnecessary for the man of God to be made complete, to be equipped for all good works or, as verse 15 says, “to instruct you for salvation.”
In other words, to interpret these verses from 2 Timothy as teaching the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is to basically have Paul telling Timothy that the books of the New Testament, which were in existence at that time, were unnecessary for the man of God to be complete – unnecessary for the man of God to be equipped for every good work. Does that make any sense at all? All the Christian “man of God” of the time needed was the Old Testament?
For all of these reasons just mentioned, I think it is indeed a very reasonable position to reject the notion that 2 Tim 3:16–17 teaches the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
“But,” someone might ask, “what about the Bereans?” Acts 17:11 says, “Now these Jews [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” The King James Version of the Bible says that they “searched” the Scriptures daily.
You know, I keep hearing about these Berean folks from Acts 17. And, every time I hear about them, someone is using them to “prove” Sola Scriptura, to prove that one should go by the Bible alone. They say that the example of the Bereans proves Sola Scriptur a, because the Bereans were searching Scripture to see if what Paul was saying was true. But, again, the problem is that nowhere does this verse say the Bereans went by the Bible alone. In fact, it is well known that Jews, whether in Berea or elsewhere, did not go by the Bible alone – they did not practice Sola Scriptura – they believed in authoritative Scripture and authoritative tradition. Which means Jesus, being a good Jew, didn’t believe in Sola Scriptura. And, as I’ve already mentioned, neither did the early Christians.
What was going on here with the Bereans in Acts 17 was this: Paul was preaching to them about Jesus being the Messiah. And Paul, in his preaching, would quote Scripture verses – from the Old Testament – that he would say pointed to Jesus. Paul would say something along the lines of, “It has been testified somewhere…” and the Bereans would then simply open up their Scripture s to verify what Paul was saying. They were not searching the Scriptures to settle doctrinal disputes, they were searching the Scriptures to see if what Paul told them was actually in the Scriptures!
Plus, the fact that the Bereans: a) Didn’t already know the Scripture verses were there, and b) had to “search” the Scriptures to find the verses Paul was quoting, actually might indicate that they weren’t all that familiar with the Scriptures; which, if they were believers in Sola Scriptura, seems to be a pretty odd thing.
Plus, if this verse is a “proof” of Sola Scriptura then you again have the same problem that I mentioned earlier – the Bereans were Jews and the only scriptures they had were the Old Testament scriptures. So, if Acts 17:11 “proves” Sola Scriptura, then it would be proving Sola Old Testament Scriptura.
Furthermore, the fact tha t the Bereans obviously did not understand the true meaning of the Scriptures until Paul explained it to them, actually works against the Sola Scriptura position. One of the necessary corollaries to a belief in Sola Scriptura is the belief in individual private interpretation of Scripture. That each individual, guided by the Holy Spirit, has the ability to read the Bible for themselves – without answering to any outside authority – in order to come to a correct understanding of the truths necessary for salvation.
Yet, the example of the Bereans shows us that this obviously isn’t the case. The Bereans needed Paul to explain the Scriptures to them. The Bereans, left alone with the Scriptures, obviously had not come to a correct understanding of the truths necessary for salvation. They needed a guide, Paul, to correctly interpret Scripture for them. Which means the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, with its corollary of individual private interpretation of Scripture, obviously isn’t supported by this passage from Acts 17 about the Bereans.
Which means, when all is said and done, two of the predominant Scripture passages used by folks to “prove” Sola Scriptura, upon close and thoughtful examination, actually inflict serious, if not fatal, blows upon that doctrine. These passages clearly do not mean what the Sola Scriptura advocates try to make them mean. Furthermore, there are numerous passages that point to the fact that individual interpretation of Scripture…each person reading and interpreting the Bible on their own to determine for themselves what is and is not correct Christian doctrine and practice…is quite contrary to the Word of God.
The Bible states that fairly directly. If we look at 2 Ptr 1:20, we find the following: “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’ s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. I don’t know if it can be said any more plainly or directly that the principal of private interpretation, one of the foundations the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is built upon, is contrary to the Bible.
Look at Acts chapter 8. Acts 8:27–31, “And he [Philip] rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah…So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And [the Ethiopian] said, ‘How can I, unless some one guides me?’”

< div>“How can I, unless some one guides me?” This was obviously an Ethiopian Jew. He was a very educated man, we know that from that fact that he was one of the Queen’s ministers, and not just any minister, but he was, in essence, the Secretary of the Treasury for the entire kingdom of Ethiopia. He was a man of worship, having come all the way from Ethiopia to worship in Jerusalem – no easy task in those days. Yet, what does the Bible say, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And the response, from this educated man who had come from so far away to worship in Jerusalem? “How can I unless someone guides me?”

And what did Philip say in response? Did he say, “Just pray to the Holy Spirit and He will guide you?” No! Philip got up in the chariot with this man and explained the meaning of Scripture to him. Philip was this man’s guide in reading, interpreting, and understanding Scriptur e.
Scripture is very clear, as we see in Peter’s letter, and the Book of Acts – both with the Ethiopian eunuch and the Bereans – and other places as well, that we must have a guide, an authority, other than the Bible, in order to properly understand the Bible. Having a guide to help us properly interpret Scripture is scriptural. Individual interpretation of Scripture, everybody reading the Bible on their own to decide what is and is not correct doctrine…what is and is not sound moral teaching…is not scriptural. In other words, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, is not scriptural.
And, please don’t take me to say that you cannot, as an individual reading Scripture, come to some knowledge of the truth. You can. As I said earlier, we must read the Bible, study the Bible, meditate on it, soak in it, pray it, live it, and breathe it. As St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ign orance of Christ.” But, there are very many things in the Bible that are difficult to understand. The Bible itself tells us this. 2 Peter 3:16: “There are some things in them [Paul’s letters] hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.”
Scripture tells us that there are some things, in Scripture, that are difficult to understand, and that these things that are hard to understand are important to our salvation. They are not non–essential matters because, as it says, it is possible to twist these things to our own destruction.
What Peter was saying here in 2 Peter 3:16, is that there were a number of folks out there reading the Scriptures on their own, not paying attention to what Peter or Paul or the other Church leaders were telling them, and these people were misinterpreting things in Paul’s letters, and ot her parts of the Scriptures as well, in such a way that it was leading to their damnation. Peter was, in essence, issuing a warning to those who were relying on their own private fallible interpretations of Scripture. That should be a very scary and sobering passage for anyone who believes they can simply pick up the Bible and read it on their own to make a decision in any and all matters pertaining to the Christian faith.
There is another passage I want to mention on this particular topic of needing a guide to properly interpret Scripture. Listen to what St. John says in one of his letters, 1 John 4:6: “We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” This is a verse that wreaks absolute havoc with the notion of Sola Scriptura.
If you asked someone who believes in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura this qu estion: “How do we know the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error?” What do you think they would say? Would they not say something along the lines of, “You get yourself a good Bible and by reading Scripture, and praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance, you can discern the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error.” The problem is, though, that is not a biblical answer.
The Bible says that we discern the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error by listening to someone…to “us”…to John and apparently to his fellow leaders in the Church. It further says that if you know God you will indeed listen to these Church leaders. And, if you are not of God, you won’t listen to them. Does that sound like the early Christians believed in Sola Scriptura?
Another passage which tells us the early Christians did not believe in Sola Scriptura is from Acts 15. At the Council of Jerusalem, whi ch is described in verses 6–29, what do we see? We see that a doctrinal dispute arose in the early Church over whether or not the Gentile converts should be circumcised. Well, what did they do? How did they decide the matter? Did they consult Scripture as they should do if they believed in Sola Scriptura? No. They called a council. The leaders of the Church, in a council, decided the first doctrinal dispute in the early Church. The teaching of Sola Scriptura obviously did not exist in the early Church because if it had, and they had indeed gone solely by Scripture to decide this dispute, what would have happened? Well, they would have seen in Genesis how God required circumcision and they would have come to a completely different conclusion than the one they came to.
We have seen, from Scripture, that the early Christians did not believe in Sola Scriptura. We have seen, from Scripture, that relying upon individual interpretation of Scripture to decide on all matters of the Christian faith, is not scriptural. We have seen, from Scripture, that there are some important things in Scripture that are difficult to understand and that can be twisted to one’s own destruction through private interpretation. We have seen, from Scripture, that having a guide to help us properly interpret Scripture is indeed scriptural. And, we have seen that the passages often relied upon to prove the case for Sola Scriptura, when read in context, actually make the case against Sola Scriptura.
Now, one more thing that I wish to discuss, which further damages the Sola Scriptura argument – the matter of tradition. As I stated earlier, the Jews believed in authoritative Scripture and authoritative tradition. For many non–Catholic Christians, though, the word “tradition” is almost like a curse word. They cringe when they hear that word because they have been mistakenly taught that Cathol ics believe in the “traditions of men.” And, as they rightly say, Jesus condemns the traditions of men in the Gospels.
Jesus does not, however, condemn all tradition. Nowhere does Scripture say such a thing. Jesus condemns the traditions of men, but not even all traditions of men. Specifically, Jesus condemns those traditions of men which negate the Word of God. Traditions, in and of themselves, are not bad things. It’s when they negate the Word of God that Jesus has a problem with them.
Again, tradition, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. If it were, then how could the Word of God tell us this: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” That’s from 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Traditions! Traditions taught by word of mouth, in other words, oral tradition, and traditions taught by letter – w ritten tradition, also known as “Scripture.” Traditions which they are being told to “stand firm and hold to”. In other words, authoritative traditions.
What else does the Bible say about holding on to traditions? 2 Tim 2:2, “…and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Did Paul say, “What you have read in my writing pass on to others so that they may read it, too?” No! Did he say, “What you have heard from me, entrust to faithful men who will write it down for everyone to read for themselves?” No! He said to entrust it to faithful men who will “teach” others. What we have here is an instance, in Scripture, of Paul commanding the passing on of authoritative oral tradition.
1 Cor 11:2, “I [Paul] commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the tradit ions even as I have delivered them to you.” The Corinthians are being commended by Paul because they maintain the traditions that he passed on to them. Authoritative Scripture and authoritative tradition. Or, as we Catholics say, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
Back to Thessalonians: 1 Thes 2:13, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that 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, which is at work in you believers.” So, they received as the Word of God that which they heard, not simply that which they read in Scripture. In Acts 2:42 we read that the first Christians were “continuing steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine,” or the “Apostles’ teaching”.
That’s what Sacred Tradition is – the Apostles’ doctrine, or the Apostles’ teaching, as given to them by our Lord Jesus Christ. As we clearly just saw in several places in the New Testament, traditions that come from the Apostles – because the Apostles were taught by Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit – are not condemned in Scripture. These traditions, these teachings, are considered, as we saw in 1 Thes 2:13, not the word of men – not the traditions of men – but the Word of God.
One last word about tradition. Every church has one or more “traditions” that are not found in the Bible, whether they want to admit it or not. Which books should be in the Bible? Not in the Bible – Tradition. Sunday as the Sabbath. Not in the Bible – Tradition. Wednesday night church meeting. Not in the Bible – tradition. Altar calls. Not in the Bible – tradition. Sola Scriptura. Not in the Bible – tradition. And this last one is a tradition of men that is contrary to the Word of God.

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To close, I believe I have made a very strong and rational argument – from logic, from history, and from Scripture – for why Catholics believe as we do in regards to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Nowhere in Scripture do we see Sola Scriptura used as an operational principle. Nowhere is anyone instructed to consult the Scriptures to solve a doctrinal dispute between Christians. The one place I’ve mentioned where it is said someone went to the Scriptures, the case of the Bereans, was a case of verification – they were simply verifying that the verses Paul quoted were indeed in the Scriptures – it was not a case of using the Scriptures, and individual interpretation of the Scriptures, in order to solve a doctrinal dispute.
Nowhere does the Bible say that, as individuals, reading the Bible on our own, the Holy Spirit will guide us to an infallible interpretation of any and every passage of Scripture. That verse simpl y does not exist. In fact, as I’ve shown, a number of verses do exist that directly contradict that belief.
Ultimately, under a Sola Scriptura system, any dispute between Christians – on matters of doctrine, on matters of morals, on matters of worship, on matters of anything Christian – comes down to this: My fallible, non–authoritative, non–binding, private interpretation of a particular verse or verses of Scripture vs. your fallible, non–authoritative, non–binding, private interpretation of a particular verse or verses of Scripture.
Actually, the problem is even worse than that, because under a Sola Scriptura system, as I mentioned earlier, we can’t even be sure of what the Scriptures are in the first place. So, it essentially comes down to my fallible, non–authoritative, non–binding, private interpretation of a particular verse or verses of something that I th ink is Scripture, but cannot be infallibly sure about; vs. your fallible, non–authoritative, non–binding, private interpretation of a particular verse or verses of something that you think Scripture is, but cannot be infallibly sure about.

Questions to Ask:

1) Did the leaders of the early Christian Church believe in Sola Scriptura? If, yes, then why did they call a Council (Acts 15) to decide a doctrinal dispute, why didn’t they just consult the Bible to settle the matter?

2) When Paul wrote 2 Tim 3:16–17, was the Old Testament alone sufficient for the man of God to be made complete, or perfect? Yes or no? If, yes, then of what need does the Christian have for the New Testament? If, no, then what books of the New Testament, in addition to the books of the Old Testament, did Timothy know since childhood? And, is it then only these books of the New Testament along with the Old Testament that the Christian of the time needed to be made complete, or perfect?

3) Where in Scripture does it say that each person should read Scripture for themselves, to determine by themselves – without reference to any outside authority – what is and is not correct Christian doctrine and practice?

4) At what point did authority for deciding doctrinal matters pass from the leaders of the early Church (as we see, for example, in Acts 15 and 1 John 4:6) to each individual reading the Bible on their own?

5) Is it scriptural to have an authoritative guide for the proper interpretation of Scripture (see Acts 8, for example)?

6) Did Paul commend the Corinthians and the Thessalonians for keeping the traditions he had passed on to them? Yes or no? If, yes, where does the Bible record that every one of these traditions was subsequently recorded in Scripture?

7) If all of the oral traditions Paul passed on to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians, and which he comman ded Timothy to pass on, were not recorded in Scripture, then where is the Scripture verse that says those traditions should no longer be maintained?

Strategy: Asking questions – “How to be Offensive Without Being Offensive” strategy. Any time someone might dispute a Catholic interpretation of Scripture – “But That’s My Interpretation” strategy.

An example of using both of these at one time: If someone says that 2 Tim 3:16–17 isn’t referring to the Old Testament, you can first ask, “Then what are the scriptures Paul is referring to that Timothy has known ‘since childhood’?” Then, when they ignore your question, no matter how many times you ask it, or they provide some explanation that doesn’t really make any sense given the context of the passage, you can simply say, “Look, that’s my interpretation of this passage. Am I not allowed to interpret Scripture for myself? And, if I am allowed to interpret Scripture for myself, then how can you tell me I’m wrong? By what authority do you say that I’m wrong?”

In Conclusion

I hope all of you have a great week! Remember to pray for the economy to bounce back and to especially keep in prayer those who have been put out of work, and to pray for the conversion of our President.

Author:

Link: http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/

Posted in Bible, Debate, Doctrinal Comparison, Sola Scriptura, Strategy (Apologetics), THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER | Leave a Comment »

“Catholic Church ay Huwad sa Kanila, e di Huwad ang Biblia”

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 16, 2009

“Catholic Church ay Huwad sa Kanila, e di Huwad ang Biblia”


Author : dhugz (IP: 64.255.180.38 , r02-06.opera-mini.net)
E-mail : cr3053@gmail.Com
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Whois  : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=64.255.180.38

Comment:
Mga bro, nalulungkot ako sa mga nagsusulputang mga sekta ngayon. . . Hindi nila alam ang mga sinasabi nila at ang mga totoong doktrina mula nung kapanahunan ni Cristo. Unang una sa lahat ang Bibliya ay binuo ng mga paring katoliko, e ang basehan nila ng kanilang doktrina ay ang bibliya mismo. Dahil sa ganang kanila pagkamatay ng mga apostol, ang Catholic Church ay nakaranas ng total apostasy pagkatapos ng First Century. .

Tapos na ang debate sa kanila, bakit? Kung ang Catholic Church ay huwad sa kanila, e di huwad ang bibliyang gamit nila ngayon. Dahil wala pang bibliya nung 1st century, matagal ng patay ang mga apostol at dumaan ang hundreds of years bago nabuo ng Catholic Church ang Bibliya. . . . .

The Codex Vaticanus

Sa mga kapatid na katoliko kung may umakay o mangaral sa inyo tungkol daw sa katotohanan, gamitin lang natin ang argumentong aking sinabi sapagkat para sakin sapat na iyon upang matigilan sila. Dahil kung kukunin at makipagpaliwanagan tayo sa kanila base sa kanilang mga piniling texto sa bibliya na ayon kuno sa kanilang aral. . .

The Bible is a Catholic Property in the sense that our Church compiled it! Now, Martin Luther rejected the deuterocanonical books that which are included by the Canon of Scripture in the Bible, thus their bible Contains 66books. Honestly, kung binawasan natin ang original na Bibliya ay hindi na iyon Bibliya . . . . . . .

The Divine Master teaching in the Synagogue

Ang lahat ng ito ay nangyayari, ang pagsulpot ng mga bulaang propeta, mga ibang Cristo o magtuturo ng ibang Jesus mula sa Turo ng Simbahan atbp. . . Dahil lahat ng iyon ay kelangang mangyari upang matupad ang mga hula ng Bibliya at Upang lalong Mapatunayan na ang Catholic Church ay ang true Christ’s Church. . . .Amen!

Posted in Bible, How to Help others become Catholic | Leave a Comment »

Pope recalls Catholics’ need for Scripture, love for the Church and unity

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 12, 2009

Pope recalls Catholics’ need for Scripture, love for the Church and unity


St. Boniface/ Pope Benedict XVI

.- At today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope focused his remarks on St. Boniface, “apostle of the Germans.” Pope Benedict said that Boniface’s “courageous witness” is an invitation to all to “welcome the Word of God in their lives as an essential point of reference, to love the Church passionately, to feel a joint responsibility for her future and to seek unity around St. Peter’s Successor.”

St. Boniface, Benedict XVI explained to the 20,000 people gathered in the square, was born in Great Britain around the year 675 and entered a monastery while still very young.

He felt called to become a missionary among the pagans of continental Europe, and in the year 716, he and several companions travelled to Frisia, which is modern-day Holland. There they encountered opposition from a local chieftain and their attempted mission of evangelization failed.

Two years later Boniface went to Rome to meet Pope Gregory II, who entrusted him with the mission of preaching the Gospel among the people of Germany.

There, the Holy Father recalled, Boniface “restored ecclesiastical discipline, called a number of synods to ensure the authority of sacred canons and strengthened communion with the Roman Pontiff.” Also, Boniface “backed the foundation of various monasteries, for both men and women, to act as beacons irradiating human and Christian faith and culture in the region.”

Shortly before his eightieth birthday, Boniface returned to Frisia. There, as he was celebrating Holy Mass in Dokkum on June 5, 754, he was killed by a band of pagans.

From the teaching and the prodigious activities of this missionary and martyr, Pope Benedict said, one can draw the message of “the central importance of the Word of God, lived and interpreted in the faith of the Church, which he preached and to which he bore witness even unto the supreme gift of self in martyrdom.”

Benedict XVI also pointed out that one could draw the message of Boniface’s “faithful communion with the Apostolic See, which was a fixed and central principle of his missionary work.”

Lastly, the Holy Father identified the message of Boniface’s “promotion of the encounter between Roman Christian culture and Germanic culture.” Transmitting the ancient heritage of Christian values,” the Pope added, Boniface “gave the people he evangelized a more humane lifestyle, thanks to which the inalienable rights of the person enjoyed greater respect.”

The Holy Father concluded by comparing St. Boniface’s faith with “our own faith, often lukewarm and bureaucratized.” “We have to ask ourselves: how can we renew it so as to ensure the precious gift of the Gospel reaches our own times?”

Posted in Bible, Love | Leave a Comment »

Apologetics for the Masses – Issue #111 (Sola Scriptura)

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on February 23, 2009

Content_pages_header

Topic: Apologetics for the Masses – Issue #111

General Comments

By

Link: http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/

I want to thank all of you who showed up for my talk in Dixon, CA, this past weekend – I enjoyed seeing each and every one of you…I appreciate you being there. One very unexpected result of my time in Dixon is that someone who was in the audience has offered to cover the expenses for getting my talks recorded into Spanish! So, we are moving ahead immediately with that project. If all goes well, maybe we can start turning out Spanish language tapes within a few months.

I’ll be at St. John the Evangelist in Borger, TX – outside of Amarillo – on Feb 27th and 28th. For more info, call the parish.

For those who have asked, the Bible quotes that I am using in my book come from the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) unless otherwise noted. That fact will be in the front of the book when published.

Introduction

Below is the first half of Chapter 3 of my book – the chapter on Sola Scriptura. I should have the 2nd half out next week; although, since next week is a travel week, there is the possibility of a delay, but I’ll do my best.

This half covers the logical and historical perspectives on Sola Scriptura, while the next issue will cover the scriptural perspective on Sola Scriptura.

Challenge/Response/Strategy

Chapter 3Sola Scriptura

There are two basic doctrines that separate Catholic Christians from most Protestant Christians. Those two being: Sola Scriptura – which means Scripture Alone; and Sola Fide – which means Faith Alone. There are other doctrines that separate us as well, but these are the two most fundamental ones. While I have come across Protestants who do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Fide, I have yet to come across any who do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. That’s not to say there aren’t any, I’m just saying that I haven’t run into any.

So, near as I can tell, this doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the one doctrine that all, or almost all, Protestants believe in.

First, let me define the term “Sola Scriptura”, as I understand it, so that you know exactly what I mean when I use the term. It is simply this: The Bi ble is the sole authority that one needs when it comes to deciding what is and is not authentic Christian teaching and practice. That is not to say that one cannot learn things from sources other than the Bible, but these other sources are not infallible, as is the Bible, and do not carry the binding authority that the Bible does.

In other words, the Bible is the sole rule of faith for the Christian. If it’s not in the Bible, then I, as a Christian, am not bound to believe it. This definition of Sola Scriptura is not something of my own making, but is based on what I have been told by the many Protestants I have discussed this particular doctrine with.

Using that definition as a basis for this chapter, I wish to examine this doctrine from several different angles, ask some questions about it, and contrast it with Catholic teaching. And speaking of Catholic teaching, I want to say at the outset that Catholics hold the Bible in the highest possible regard. We believe it is the Holy Spirit–inspired, inerrant Word of God. The Scriptures are central to Catholic Christian belief and practice.

Having said that, however, we do not believe in the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura – the doctrine that Scripture “alone” is the sole rule of faith for the Christian; we believe rather in Sola Dei Verbum – the Word of God alone. For Catholics, the Word of God consists in not just Sacred Scripture, but in Sacred Tradition as well. Which is exactly what the Bible tells us, as I will show later in this chapter.

I will examine this doctrine of Sola Scriptura from three different perspectives – logical, historical, and scriptural – and show that it fails the test in all three of these areas. What you may occasionally run into, as I have in the past, is that there are those who immediately dismiss the first two perspectives, since they believe Scripture alone is sufficient to decide the issu e. In that instance, I simply remind them that God gave us our minds and He told us that we must love Him with all of our mind, as well as our heart (Matt 22:37). In addition, we see from 1 Cor 12, that wisdom and knowledge are gifts of the Spirit, and in Isaiah 1:18, the Lord says, “Come, let us reason together.” Logic, sound logic, is of God.

Also, God is the Lord of history. What happened in history, particularly in Christian history, is very important for us to know. The early Christians are important witnesses as to what Christianity was in their time, and thus to what it ought to be in our time. So to simply dismiss logic and history out–of–hand as not being important perspectives to consider when it comes to Christian teaching and practice, is to dismiss the God Who gave us our brains and told us to use them in loving Him, and to dismiss the testimony of those who gave their lives to defend and pass on the Faith that we hold so dear. So I will start with logic and history, then move on to Scripture.

The Perspective Provided by Logic:

All Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, consider the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God. The question that needs to be asked, however, is: Why? Why do we believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, Word of God? What authority do we rely upon for our belief that the Bible is what we believe it to be? Where did the Bible come from? Most people never consider these questions. They merely take it for granted that the Bible is what they believe it to be. But the fact is, everyone who believes the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God, relies on some authority for their beliefs about the Bible.

So what authority do they rely upon? Is it the Bible? Well, for those who believe that the Bible is the sole binding authority for the Christian – those who believe in Sola Scriptura – it must be the authority of the Bible that Christians rely on for their belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. After all, the Bible is the sole authority for them in matters of Christian belief and practice.

But this presents a little bit of a problem. There is a logical inconsistency here. We cannot believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, based solely on the authority of the Bible. Why not? Three reasons:

1) The Bible cannot bear witness to itself. There are a number of writings that claim inspiration from God, but we don’t accept them as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, just because they claim to be. The Koran being one very obvious example of this. If we should believe something is what it says it is, simply because it says it, then we should accept the Koran as the word of God. But, we don’t, do we?

If I had written in the Foreword that this book is inspired of God, does that mean it is simply because it was writt en down in this book? Of course not! Just so, we cannot accept the Bible as the Word of God based solely upon the witness of the Bible. As Jesus Himself said, “If I bear witness to Myself, My testimony is not true,” (John 5:31).

2) The Bible never claims that it is the sole, infallible, authoritative source for all matters pertaining to Christian belief and practice, as I will explore show in the following pages when discussing the perspective from Scripture.

3) We can’t even be sure of what the Bible is if we rely on the authority of Scripture “alone” in matters of Christian belief and practice.

Let me explain why I say that. You see, the Bible wasn’t put together as we have it today for more than 300 years after the death of Christ. One of the problems in putting the Bible together was that there was a lot of disagreement, among Christians, over what should and should not be considered inspired Scripture. There were a l ot of books back then that people were saying were inspired; yet, these books did not end up in the Bible as we have it today. Books such as the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, the Letter of Barnabas, the Acts of Paul, the Acts of Peter, the Apocalypse of Peter, and several more.

There were also several books that did end up in our Bible that a lot of Christians were saying were not inspired and should not be considered as part of Scripture – books such as Revelation, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Hebrews, and others.

In other words, there was a fair amount of dispute among Christians, over just what was and what was not inspired Scripture. So, how did they settle the disputes? Well, according to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, you just look in the Bible to find the authoritative answer to any question regarding the Christian faith. So, did they consult the Bible to find out what books should be in the Bible? Obviously not – they couldn’t! There was no Bible to consult because the content of the Bible was what the disputes were over.

So the question is: How does someone who believes in Sola Scriptura go about deciding a dispute as to which books should and should not be considered Scripture? You cannot consult the Bible for an answer, because the Bible is what the dispute is over. And, even if you consulted the non–disputed books of the Bible, that still wouldn’t help you because there is no list in any book of the Bible that tells us which books should be in the Bible.

Which means in order to decide one of the most fundamental issues of Christianity – which books should and should not be in the Bible – which books are and are not inspired Scripture – some authority outside of the Bible had to be relied upon.

Again, a big problem for those who believe that the Bible is the sole binding authority in matters of faith and morals is that the Bible doesn’t tell us whi ch books should be in the Bible! There is no list – in the Bible – of which books should be – in the Bible. Some person, or group of persons, had to decide which books were, and which books were not, inspired Scripture. Think about it, folks. In order to know which books should and should not be inside the Bible, we have to rely on some authority outside of the Bible to tell us. Yet, the belief in Sola Scriptura states that the Bible is the sole authority in matters of Christian belief and practice.

Which presents a logical dilemma. The question of where the Bible came from presents the same kind of problem to those who believe in Sola Scriptura, as the question of where matter came from presents to those who believe in evolution, yet do not believe in God.

If you believe in evolution, you have to believe the matter used in evolution came from somewhere. But, if there is no God, then where did matter come from? Big problem. If you believe in Sol a Scriptura, you have to believe that an authoritative decision was made as to which books did and did not belong in the Bible – as to which books were and were not the inspired, inerrant Word of God. But, if there is no binding authority outside of the Bible, then where did this authoritative decision come from? Big problem.

In other words, if you believe in Sola Scriptura, you believe in something that is logically inconsistent. You believe the Bible is the sole authority in deciding Christian belief and practice; yet, you believe in a binding authority – whether you realize it or not – outside of the Bible which gave us the Bible in the first place. Therefore, the Bible cannot be the sole authority in matters of faith and morals. There is some authority outside of the Bible that we have to have in order to have the Bible in the first place!

I would like to add that as a Catholic I believe – and historical documentation backs up my belie f – it was the Catholic Church that put the Bible together as we have it today. There are many Protestants who disagree with me on that, but whether you agree that it was the Catholic Church that put the Bible together or not, you have to agree that someone did. Someone with binding authority on Christians decided the disputes about which books should and should not be in what we now call the Bible. The Bible was not consulted in order to determine the question of which books should and should not be in the Bible.

In other words, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura fails the test of logic.

When I’ve used this line of reasoning with Sola Scriptura believers in the past, I have received several different responses. One such response is: “God put the Bible together – He gave it to us.” Yes, He did. Catholics believe that God is the primary Author of Scripture. The question remains, however, as to exactly how God put the Bible together. Did H e do it all by Himself and then the Bible just dropped down out of Heaven one day and all the people on the Earth heard a voice that said, “Here it is – read it for yourselves?”

Or, did He first use human beings, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to write the Scriptures, and then He used human beings, guided by the Holy Spirit, to authoritatively decide the disputes as to which books were and were not written by Him? All Christians agree that He used human beings to write the Scriptures, so it’s logical to assume that He also used human beings to authoritatively decide the disputes regarding Scriptures. The question is, which human beings did He use to decide these disputes? Sola Scriptura believers ultimately have no answer for this question.

Another response I have received when using this line of reasoning is this: “We rely on the witness of the early Christians for our knowledge of what books should and should not be in the Bible.R 21; Do you know what we Catholics call the “witness of the early Christians?” Tradition. That’s a word that Protestants will not use, however, when discussing their religious beliefs. All of their beliefs, they claim, come straight from the Bible and only from the Bible. Yet, when discussing where their beliefs about the Bible came from, they inevitably have to conclude that they came from tradition – whether they use the actual word, “tradition,” or not.

Also, if they respond that they rely on the witness of the early Christians for their knowledge of what is and is not Scripture, then one needs to ask how they know what the witness of the early Christians was. Is the witness of the early Christians on this matter written in the Bible? No. In other words, their knowledge of the witness of the early Christians comes from extra–biblical sources, also known as – tradition. They cannot get away from that word – traditi on – no matter how hard they try.

Questions to Ask:

1) Where did the Bible come from?

2) What authority do we rely on for our belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, Word of God?

3) Is there a list of books in the Bible, which tells us which books should be in the Bible?

4) What authority decided the disputes among Christians as to which books should and should not be considered inspired Scripture?

5) What authority prevents me from disagreeing with the canon of Scripture as we currently have it and putting my own Bible together?

Strategy: By asking these questions you are using the “How to be Offensive (Aw–fensive) Without Being Offensive (Uh–fensive) strategy, which is all about asking questions. Ask these questions and keep asking them over and over until you actually get answers to the questions. And, if the answer you get involves “tradition,& #8221; whether they use that particular word or not, make sure you point that out.

The Perspective Provided by History:

What does the perspective of history tell us in regards to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura…the belief in the Bible as the sole rule of faith for Christians?

Well, the main thing the perspective of history tells us is that the early Christians did not believe in this doctrine. We know that because there was no Bible, as we have it now, for them to consult as their authoritative guide in questions of Christian teaching and practice. As previously mentioned, the Bible did not come together as the document that we now call “the Bible” for more than three hundred years after the death of Christ. Plus, the first book of the New Testament was not written for at least ten years or more after the death of Christ. So, for at least ten years, Christians were having to decide questions of doctrine and practice without a single book of the New Testament to consult.

Furthermore, the last book of the New Testament wasn’t written for at least forty, and probably more likely sixty years or more, after the death of Christ. Also, because of the state of transportation and communication in the world of the 1st century, it could take a while before a particular Christian community received a copy of this or that book of the New Testament – which were all written as individual books and letters at different times, in different places, and addressed to different people. In other words, the early Christians went many decades without even the possibility of being able to use the Bible as the sole source of authority in matters of Christian teaching and practice. Which means they could not, and did not, believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

The question is, though, without a Bible as their sole authoritative source for their beliefs, to what, or whom, did the early Christians turn for authoritative decisions on matters of faith…on matters of doctrine? Who decided doctrinal disputes when they arose between Christians if there was no Bible to consult? Who? Well, as I’ll show in a moment, from the Bible, it was the leaders of the Church who made binding decisions in matters of doctrinal disputes. So, again, we see a binding authority, outside of Scripture, that was relied upon by the early Christians.

Another part of the historical perspective is this: When Martin Luther broke from the Catholic Church, and started teaching the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, it was around the year 1520. By the year 1600, it is said there were more than two hundred Protestant denominations. By the year 1900, it is estimated the number of denominations was almost a thousand. And, now, in the year 2009, there are estimated to be more than thirty thousand or more Protestant denominations! Each denomination claims to be based on the Bible alone, and most claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit; yet, none of them have the exact same body of doctrine, and many, many of them have doctrines that absolutely contradict one another.

How can that be? Can the Holy Spirit – which is supposed to lead us unto all truth – can this same Holy Spirit lead different people into different doctrines – doctrines that contradict each other? No. In other words, the historical perspective shows that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura tends towards division within the Body of Christ. The lesson of history teaches us that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura has done nothing but divide the Body of Christ.

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura fails the test of history.

There are generally two arguments that I’ve heard in response to this historical perspective. The first goes something like this: “Of course, the early Christians did not believe in Sola Scriptura before the New Testament was written. Sola Scriptu ra was not ‘operational’ during periods of enscripturation – in other words, during the period when new revelation was being given. But, after revelation was complete, then the principle of Sola Scriptura became operational.”

There are several problems with this response, however. First, how did the early Christians know the period of “enscripturation” was over? Who told them? What authority said to the early Christians, “The period of enscripturation is now over; therefore, the era of Sola Scriptura has started?” When exactly was the period of enscripturation over, and how do we know? Does the Bible tell us, or would that be something that Sola Scriptura believers know from…tradition?

Furthermore, where in the Bible does it tell us that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura will become “operational” after the period of enscripturation is over? Or is that also something Sola Scriptura believers know from& #8230;tradition? When exactly did the authority that the leaders of the early Church had, which is clearly displayed in the pages of Scripture, give way to the authority of each individual reading the Bible on their own to decide between true and false doctrine? And who told everyone that they no longer had to listen to their Church leaders in regard to doctrinal disputes, that they only had to pick up their Bible and read it for themselves?

In other words, this argument about Sola Scriptura not being “operational” during periods of “enscripturation” is an argument not found in the Bible – which makes it a tradition – and it is an argument that simply cannot hold up under any level of scrutiny.

The other argument I hear to counter the historical perspective is this: “There are as many divisions within the Catholic Church as there are within Protestantism.” The point being that one cannot, therefore, pin the blame fo r the divisions within Protestantism on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, seeing as how there are just as many divisions within Catholicism, and Catholics do not believe in Sola Scriptura.

This argument does not hold, however, because there is a fundamental difference between the divisions within Protestantism and the division within the Catholic Church. Each division within Protestantism has its own particular “official” set of beliefs and practices. These differing sets of beliefs and practices from one denomination to another are generally viewed within Protestantism as being acceptable. If a Baptist disagrees with a Methodist who disagrees with a Presbyterian who disagrees with an Episcopalian on doctrinal matters…well, that’s all okay. There are thousands of sets of beliefs, all of which are generally accepted as legitimate within Protestantism itself.

Not so in the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, there is one, and only one, se t of beliefs that is recognized as “official” Church teaching, and everyone knows it. There actually is just one division within the Church – between those who accept Church teaching in its entirety, and those who do not.

The historical argument that links Sola Scriptura to the divisions within Protestantism is valid, therefore, because the thousands of different belief sets – from which the divisions stem – are a result of each individual reading Scripture on their own to decide what is true doctrine and what is false doctrine. For every “new” interpretation of Scripture that someone comes up with, you have the possibility of a new denomination forming.

Questions to Ask:

1) Did the early Christians believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura?

2) When there was a doctrinal dispute in early Christianity, did they simply consult the Bible to decide the dispute?

3) Is it possible that the Holy Spirit is guiding some Christians into beliefs that contradict the beliefs He is guiding other Christians into? If not, how do we tell which Christians are really guided by the Holy Spirit and which ones are not? How do we tell which Christians are really interpreting the Bible correctly and which ones are not?

4) Has the doctrine of Sola Scriptura proven historically to be a unifying factor or a dividing factor within the Body of Christ?

Strategy: Again, this is essentially the “How to be Offensive (Aw–fensive) Without Being Offensive (Uh–fensive) strategy – asking questions.  Since we’re not in Scripture here, there is no need for the “It’s the Principle of the Thing,” or the “But That’s My Interpretation!” strategies.  The ”Ignorant Catholic” strategy could come into play at any time, whether you̵ 7;re talking about Scripture or not, so just always remember: if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, respond with: “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you.”

In Conclusion

As always, all comments, edits, spelling and grammar corrections, etc. are welcomed and will be read and considered.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Posted in Bible, Sola Scriptura, Strategy (Apologetics), THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER | Leave a Comment »

WILES AND TACTICS OF IGLESIA NI CRISTO OF MANALO

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on November 22, 2008

WILES AND TACTICS OF IGLESIA NI CRISTO OF MANALO

By: Bro. Soc C. Fernandez

Catholic Faith Defenders Journal

January 1982, Page 24

The Pasugo, an official magazine of the Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo, July-August, 1980 issue on page 36, a certain writer, Mr. Joventino A. Santua, in his article, “The Other Sheep of Christ” manifested this:

“The Church of Christ which emerged in the Philippines in 1914 was established by our Lord Jesus Christ through prophesy. God’s messenger, Bro. Felix Manalo, was merely instrumental in propagating the Gospel of Christ. This Church truly has connection to our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is a pretentious and imposing claim of Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo that, the Church of Christ (of Manalo) which emerged in the Philippines in 1914 was established by our Lord Jesus Christ… Just to get along with their line of argument, their minister often say, quoting Saint Paul, “ That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written…” (1 Cor. 4:6). And they usually lambaste of some Catholic teachings because, according to them, they are mostly unbiblical or not written in the Bible. For them the Bible is the only source of doctrinal teaching, Bro. Felix Manalo sought to enlighten his fellowmen about salvation through the Church of Christ.” (Pasugo Magazine, Page 12, July-August 1980) So whatever which is not in the Bible they easily dismiss it as fake!

Now let us see, if this Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo principle that “using the Bible as the only source of doctrinal teaching” would not backfire to them: Where in the Bible the Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo minister can read their doctrinal claim, “The Church of Christ which emerged in the Philippines in 1914 was established by our Lord Jesus Christ through prophesy.” They must read that passage literally or else the text which they usually quote, “not to think above which is written” (1 Cor. 4:6) would boomerang against them!

The Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo in the Philippines which according to them, reestablished by our Lord Jesus Christ in 1914 has NO TRUE CONNECTION TO THE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST, because Christ cannot contradict with Himself. Jesus has candidly promised that within the pale of His unfailing truth, He desired that His Church would not be prevailing (and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it) by the enemies. And He also said, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:20. And a great Jewish Scholar Gamalrel also confirmed this, “And if this movement and plan (The Church of Christ) is of human origin, it will disappear but if it comes from God, you cannot possibly defeat them. You could find your self fighting against God (Act 5:38-39). The true Church of Christ is for all men and for all times, and teaches the whole truth, it is Universal or Catholic Church not the Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo which is only man made.

Posted in Bible, CFD Journal, Iglesia ni Cristo-Manalo, Socrates C. Fernandez | 8 Comments »

-Where Did We Get Our Bible?-

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on November 6, 2008

Where Did We Get Our Bible?

By: Bro. Soc C. Fernandez

Catholic Faith Defender

(Catholic Faith Defenders Journal Vol. IV No. 9)

The BOOKS of the Old Testament were written at largely different times and different places. God used different kinds of instruments or instrumental authors. In olden times, there were written by some pseudo religious persons. So there must be an inspired authority that would determine which of the books were really divinely authored by God.

Likewise, in the times of Jesus, there were many spurious books, and there should be a determining factor in recognizing the inspired New Testament books.

That authority that would announce the verdict of which are the genuine or inspired books of the Bible must be infallible and that authority is the true CHURCH founded by Jesus Christ.

“The Council of Trent (1546) Sess. IV declared that all the books at the Old and New Testaments contained in the Catholic Bible were sacred (inspired) and canonical. While, therefore, non-catholic Christian are dependent upon the fallible witness of critical arguments for their canon, Catholics depend upon the divine witness of an infallible teach in Church. The canon solemnly defined by the council of Trent is identified with the list of sacred books promulgated by the Council of Florence (1441), Carthage (397), Laodicea (363), Hormisdas (514-523), Gelasius (494-496) and Pope Damasus (366-384).

“The Deutero-canonical books, called by Protestant apocryphal, were included in these lists. They are Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and the two books of Machabees, together with the fragments of Esther (10:4, 16:24) and Daniel (3:24, 13:14)”. (The Question Box by Fr. Bertrand Conway Page 62-63).

Without the Catholic Church the world couldn’t have a Bible, because it was the Catholic Church who bothered herself in searching and compiling these books contained in the Bible and determined which books are really inspired by Holy Spirit. This can be done only by a Church which was founded by the infallible God. Thus, His Church must be also infallible regarding the declaration of which books are really genuine. That is the reason Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer said, “We are compelled to concede to the papists, that they have the Word of God, without them we have no bible at all.”

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES?

When God sent us His word, He wants that His words shall be understood according to His mind and will. He desires that His words shall be approached by us, with the following:

  1. Humility “God gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6)
  2. Faith and “We believe…. You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68)
  3. Obedience “Blesses are those who hear the word of God and obey it (Luke 11:28)

HERE ARE THE STEPS IN UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE.

  1. Be familiar with facts…

Slowly read the passages…

  1. Determine the sense of the passage, whether it is literal or figurative.
  2. View the passage contextually before any interpretation…
  3. Consult the authority (The True Church) if come across difficulty…
  4. Extract from the passage of what is to believe, or concerning faith…
  5. Draw from the passage of what is to be practiced concerning morals…

Then follow the Word of God and share its message to others especially to those who are ignorant as Saint Paul says… “Devote to public reading of the scriptures…preaching…to teaching…watch your life and doctrine closely…preserve in them because if you do, you save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:13-16)

Posted in Bible, CFD Journal, How to Help others become Catholic, Socrates C. Fernandez | 2 Comments »

The Bible: Myth or History?

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 4, 2008

The Bible: Myth or History?
PETER KREEFT
“Yes and No” is Peter Kreeft’s answer to so many religion texts which leave students thinking of religion as little more than a dull and boring rehash of things everyone already knows. Kreeft’s book asks hard questions, great questions, and then answers them convincingly.

Peter Kreeft
Sal: Chris, I’ve got to ask you something personal.

Chris: Go ahead, Sal: We’re friends, aren’t we?

Sal: How do you know so much about God? Are you a theological brain?

Chris: No, not at all. I’m just an ordinary person.

Sal:You must have taken some high level religion courses somewhere.

Chris: No . . .

Sal: Then you must have read hundreds of books.

Chris: No, Sal. Actually, what I know about God for sure comes from just one book. In fact, what the whole human race knows about God for sure, and not just as a matter of speculation and guesswork, comes from just one book.

Sal: The Bible, you mean?

Chris: Yes.

Sal: You really believe that one book gives you all the facts about God?

Chris: All the facts? Of course not. How could we ever have all the facts about the Infinite One? None of us can have complete knowledge of God, any more than a clam could have complete knowledge of us. Less so, in fact, because the difference between us and clams is only finite, but the difference between us and God is infinite.

Sal: Some facts, then?

Chris: Yes, what he told us.

Sal: So you think you’ve got some hard facts there in the Bible, eh?

Chris: I don’t know what you mean by “hard facts”.

Sal: Like the stuff science gives us.

Chris: No. Science measures things. We can’t measure God.

Sal: So it’s just myth, then.

Chris: No, it’s truth.

Sal: You mean you really think God sits up there in the sky on a golden throne and has a strong right hand, and gets angry?

Chris: No. That’s poetic language. But you can tell the truth in poetic language, you know. God really is exalted — though not physically, in space, in the sky. God really does rule the universe, though not from a physical golden throne. God really does have all power, though he doesn’t have the same kind of strength as Muhammad Ali had in his right hand. And God really does want us to do good and not evil, though he doesn’t get hysterical and red in the face.

Sal: So it’s just symbolism.

Chris: But true symbolism. Not just a made-up story, like Santa Claus.

Sal: So you admit the whole Bible is poetic symbolism, not literal history.

Chris: No, I didn’t say that. I said that the language it uses to describe God has to be symbolic. God can’t be described literally because we can’t see him. He doesn’t have a physical body. But there are a lot of things in the Bible that are described literally -things we can see.

Sal: How can you tell what parts of the Bible to interpret symbolically and what parts to interpret literally? Isn’t it just your personal preference?

Chris: No, there’s an objective standard.

Sal: Well, what is it?

Chris: It’s quite simple, really. Language about visible things is meant literally, language about invisible things is meant symbolically.

Sal: So the story of the creation of the world in Genesis is meant literally? It is about visible things, the universe.

Chris: But before the creation of Adam and Eve there was no human eye around to see it. So the account isn’t an eyewitness account. It’s true, but not literal. The “6 days” of creation, for instance, don’t have to be 24 hour days.

Sal: And the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation — all that stuff about the end of the world, horses and burning mountains going through the sky and angels blowing trumpets — that’s not literal either, right?

Chris: Right. That’s symbolism. But it’s true. It’ll happen, just as the creation happened.

Sal: But it’s not literal because nobody’s there to see it yet. It’s future.

Chris: Well, prophecies of the future can be literal. You could predict something literally. Some passages in the Bible do. For instance, the Old Testament predicts dozens of specific details about the Messiah that happened, literally, to Jesus, like being sold for 30 pieces of silver, and having his clothes gambled for.

Sal: I guess I’m really concerned with whether you interpret the miracle stories literally or not.

Chris: If they’re meant literally, yes.

Sal: Like Noah’s flood and the ten plagues in Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea? And all Jesus’ miracles? And the literal Resurrection?

Chris: Yes.

Sal: Well, I don’t.

Chris: Don’t what?

Sal: Believe the miracle stories. So I don’t interpret them literally, I interpret them symbolically.

Chris: You’re confused, Sal.

Sal: You mean you think I’m wrong. But I’m not confused. I know what I believe and what I don’t believe.

Chris: No, I mean you’re confused. You’re confusing two different questions: interpretation and belief

Sal: What do you mean?

Chris: The question of interpretation is: What did the writer mean? The question of belief is: Do you agree with him? The question of interpretation is: What does the Bible claim to be true? The question of belief is: What do you believe really is true?

Sal: Well, I interpret the Bible according to my beliefs.

Chris: But that’s your confusion, Sal: Suppose I read a speech by Hitler that said we should create a super-race of Germans and kill all the Jews. Suppose I didn’t believe that, so I interpreted the speech according to my beliefs and I said that what the speech really meant was that all races were equal and we should love one another. Do you see how I would be confused?

Sal: Not about race, or love.

Chris: But about what Hitler meant.

Sal: Oh. Yes. I see. But wouldn’t it be good to improve on such a terrible speech?

Chris: If you want to make a speech yourself, yes. If you want to choose what to believe in, yes. But if you want to know what Hitler meant, no. That’s your confusion. You think the Bible’s stories of miracles are false. Why not just say so, clearly? The miracle stories are either lies or true history. They’re not myth. They’re not meant mythically, or poetically, or symbolically.

Sal: But I think they are. What could be more poetic and symbolic than life coming out of death — Jesus’ Resurrection is just like spring. And Moses’ crossing the Red Sea is a perfect symbol for overcoming death, or any obstacle. There are all sorts of poetic, symbolic meanings in the miracles.

Chris: I agree. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t literal too. They’re signs. But if a sign isn’t really there — if there’s no literal piece of wood on a pole — then it can’t symbolize anything, can it? So if Moses didn’t really cross the Red Sea, it’s not a real sign of anything. I believe the miracles are signs and symbols, all right. But I also believe they really happened. They’re not just stories, myths. You think that’s all they are, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: So you agree with the demythologizers.

Sal: What’s that?

Chris: The word was made popular by a German theologian named Rudolf Bultmann. It means that the miracle stories are only myths, and that we should believe the rest of the Bible, but not the myths. A lot of theologians believe that. Many rabbis and priests and ministers do too. Some writers of catechism textbooks too.

Sal: So I’m in good company.

Chris: No, in numerous company. Truth isn’t found by counting noses. I’d rather agree with God even if only a few human beings agreed with me, than agree with millions of humans but disagree with God.

Sal: Well, doesn’t the clergy teach demythologizing? You said a lot of rabbis and ministers and priests believe it. Are they heretics?

Chris: Technically, yes. If they disagree with essential teachings of the Bible. But the word heretic isn’t used much any more.

Sal: You sound sad. Do you want to burn heretics, like the Inquisition?

Chris: Of course not. You can label an idea accurately without wanting to burn the people who hold it.

Sal: I’m glad to hear that. Because I guess I’m a heretic. I think for myself I don’t just swallow whatever line the Church gives me.

Chris: Then you have your reasons for disagreeing?

Sal: Certainly.

Chris: I think you can guess what my next question is going to be.

Sal: We went over those reasons in that conversation we had about miracles.

Chris: Yes. You see, everything is connected. If there’s no supernatural God with the power to work miracles, then miracles can’t happen. If miracles can’t happen, then Christ didn’t really rise from the dead. If Christ didn’t really rise from the dead, the story is only a myth, and the demythologizers are right. (Though they’re still confusing the two questions of interpretation and belief; they should say the story is a lie, not a myth.) Do you have any other reasons, any new reasons for being a demythologizer of the Bible?

Sal: Yes, I do. I’ve been reading some books about this, and I think I’ve found at least four good reasons for being skeptical about the Bible.

Chris: Go ahead. What are they?

Sal: For one thing, there’s what they call “form criticism”. That means you should interpret a text not absolutely but relative to its literary form. If the form is poetry or myth or parable, you just don’t take the story literally.

Chris: That’s a good principle. So apply it to eyewitness descriptions too, and historical narratives, and interpret them literally, just as you interpret symbolism symbolically. The miracle stories have the form of history, not myth.

Sal: No they don’t. And that’s my second point: the resemblances between the Bible’s miracle stories and myth. They’re both full of magic. And things like magic numbers: ten plagues, forty days of fasting, three days in the tomb.

Chris: Do you mean to say no one ever really fasts forty days, and plagues can really come in any number but ten? Or that if Jesus had spent four days in the tomb you’d be more likely to believe it?

Sal: Well, no. But mustn’t we distinguish two different, questions, the question of belief and the question of history? That’s my third point. Whether Moses really crossed the Red Sea or not is not important; that’s the question of history. The important thing is whether or not God was there; the point of the Bible is religion, not history.

Chris: But the Bible’s religion depends on history. Its God works in history. Your distinction between history and religion fits Oriental religions, but not Western religions. It’s not important whether Buddha ever really lived; the only important thing is meditation and practicing Buddha’s way. But Christianity is different: it’s about Christ. If he never lived, or never died and rose again, then Christianity is simply a lie. Aren’t you honest enough to call it that, if that’s what you believe?

Sal: But it has so much good stuff to say about ethics and love and neighborliness.

Chris: Everybody knows that already, even though they don’t practice it. Remember our first conversation? If ethics is all that Christianity means, forget it.

Sal: Why?

Chris: Because then it’s just copying all the other good philosophies and moralities. It claims to be different; it claims to be history, “good news”, Gospel: that God came to earth and died on the cross and rose again to save us from sin and death and Hell.

Sal: That’s what you say it is.

Chris: That’s simply what Christianity is, and always was from the beginning. If you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian. Just agreeing with Jesus’ ethics doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than agreeing with Buddha’s ethics makes you a Buddhist.

Sal: Well, I guess I’ll have to say I’m not a Christian, then.

Chris: Good! That’s the first step to becoming one.

Sal: But I still have another reason for not believing in the stories in the Bible. We haven’t finished my four points, remember?

Chris: Sorry. What’s the fourth one?

Sal: There are contradictions in the Bible, internal in the Bible? consistencies in the stories. They can’t all be true.

Chris: Name one.

Sal: Did Jesus speak the Sermon on the Mount all at once, as Matthew reports, or on different occasions, as Luke reports?

Chris: Why couldn’t it be both? In any case Matthew didn’t say Jesus said it all at once, he just said Jesus said it.

Sal: Well, what about the sign on the cross? How many words were on it? Each of the four Gospels has a different version.

Chris: Why couldn’t they all be right, but some are condensed, sort of Reader’s Digest versions, so to speak? If the sign really read, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”, then the account that says simply “Jesus, King of the Jews” isn’t false, just condensed. The essential point is the same. Show me a single contradiction about an essential point of substance, not just a matter of verbal style.

Sal: Well, they’re different, anyway.

Chris: The very fact that the four Gospels tell the same story in different ways is strong evidence that the story is true — like four witnesses in court telling the story in four different ways. If they agreed word for word, you’d think they had made it up and collaborated beforehand. The differences don’t amount to contradictions. And the four Gospels agree remarkably — more so, much more so, than any other set of ancient documents about any other ancient event.

Sal: But an event so long ago — isn’t it likely that the telling of it got garbled, like the party game where you sit in a circle and tell a message around? — by the time it gets to the tenth person it’s a completely different message.

Chris: That’s why the Church wrote it down in the Bible, and preserved this book with infinite care.

Sal: Well, even so, no matter how carefully the book is preserved, it’s just a book. Written by human beings. Their ideas about God.

Chris: That’s the essential question about the Bible: Is it our ideas about God or is it God’s ideas about us? Is it God’s Word to us or our words about God?

Sal: Yes, that’s the essential question all right. It’s like the question about God: Did he create us in his image or do we create him in our image?

Chris: Yes, and that’s like the essential question about the Christian story too: Is it the story of our search for God or the story of God’s search for us? Is it God coming down in Christ, the “one way” down, or is it us trying to get up to God, with Christ just one of the many human ways up, one of many manmade religions?

Sal: At least we’ve got the questions straight. And I see that all these questions are parts of one question: the question about the Bible being God’s Word or ours, the question about God being Creator or created by us, the question about Christ being God’s way down or our way up, and the question about the Christian religion being the one divine way or just one of many human ways. It all fits together.

Chris: Did I fail to answer any of your reasons for not believing the Bible?

Sal: Well, no, not really.

Chris: Then your reason for not believing it must be something else than what we’ve talked about. We’ve clarified the question, but not your real motive for answering it “no”.

Sal: What do you think my real motive is? Are you going to psychoanalyze me?

Chris: No, but I have a good guess, and I can only ask you to honestly ask yourself whether this guess is accurate or not. You want to believe the demythologizers, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: Why? Because you don’t believe in miracles, right?

Sal: Right.

Chris: And why don’t you believe in miracles? Because if miracles happen, then Christ really did rise from the dead, and then he is not just a human ideal but he is really God — everyone’s God, your God too, Sal. Then he has claims on your soul and on your life, right here and now. Then you have to face him and repent, turn around, beg forgiveness, let him be your Lord rather than you being your own lord. That’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do, and I’m not trying to put you down for not doing it. I’m just trying to help you be honest with yourself and know yourself. Only you can answer the question: Is that really your motive for not believing? The reason I suspect it is, is because none of your arguments seem to stand up. The house of your beliefs doesn’t stand on rational foundations. All your arguments can be answered. You just choose to believe there’s no God, or no miracles, or no Resurrection, or no salvation.

Sal: Maybe so, Chris we’re friends, so we have to be honest with each other. I appreciate your speaking so frankly about this -acquaintances have to be polite, but friends can say hard things to each other. And I have to be as honest with you as you were with me: I just don’t know.

Chris: That’s a wonderful discovery, Sal: that you don’t know. That’s the beginning of wisdom.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Kreeft, Peter. “The Bible: Myth or History?” In Yes or No: Straight Answers to Tough Questions about Christianity (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 1991), 83-94.

Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Yes or No: Straight Answers to Tough Questions about Christianity

THE AUTHOR

Peter Kreeft has written extensively (over 25 books) in the areas of Christian apologetics. Link to all of Peter Kreeft’s books here.

Peter Kreeft teaches at Boston College in Boston Massachusetts. He is on the Advisory Board of the Catholic Educator’s Resource Center.

Copyright © 1991 Ignatius Press

Posted in A Challenge for Skeptics, Bible | 1 Comment »