Clarifying sola Scriptura

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Post by wosbald » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:58 pm

+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:Ack!

So I just ran across this article today and I believe it does an excellent job in clarifying the correct view of sola scriptura. It runs along the lines of something I mentioned earlier...
tuttle wrote:sola Scriptura does not reject tradition. It rejects bad tradition. It seeks to guard tradition, to assure that tradition remains pure.
Are you referring to tradition or to Sacred Tradition?

If you're just referring to tradition, the what's the big deal? Okay. So you prefer roman chasubles over gothic, baroque over rococo, or one liturgical rubric over another. So?

However, if you are talking about Sacred Tradition (that paradigm which provides the Apostolic hermeneutical key and which tells us about those things which were reserved from inclusion in the Bible), then don't you need to know what is "Good Tradition" is before you can reject "Bad Tradition"? And if "Good Tradition" is simply that which jibes your Bible interpretation, then how is this any different than the "popular misconception" of Sola Scriptura?




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Post by tuttle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:56 pm

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:Ack!

So I just ran across this article today and I believe it does an excellent job in clarifying the correct view of sola scriptura. It runs along the lines of something I mentioned earlier...
tuttle wrote:sola Scriptura does not reject tradition. It rejects bad tradition. It seeks to guard tradition, to assure that tradition remains pure.
Are you referring to tradition or to Sacred Tradition?

If you're just referring to tradition, the what's the big deal? Okay. So you prefer roman chasubles over gothic, baroque over rococo, or one liturgical rubric over another. So?

However, if you are talking about Sacred Tradition (that paradigm which provides the Apostolic hermeneutical key and which tells us about those things which were reserved from inclusion in the Bible), then don't you need to know what is "Good Tradition" is before you can reject "Bad Tradition"? And if "Good Tradition" is simply that which jibes your Bible interpretation, then how is this any different than the "popular misconception" of Sola Scriptura?
to be honest, I don't know if I'd be safe using the phrase Sacred Tradition. My fear is that I'd be presumed to be knowing fully what I'm talking about if I referred to 'Sacred Tradition' but I am unaware of the implications I might be making. Sacred Tradition as a concept/philosophy/theology is something I've yet to fully understand.

Pretty much, from what I've gathered here on the forum is that Sacred Tradition is essentially the teaching of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit. As far as that goes, I'd be okay using the term, but I keep bumping up against things said about it that cause me to raise my left eyebrow. As in, 'what?' (ie. the Apostalic hermenutical key - to that I raise my eyebrow because I don't know the full implications of what you mean by that). But for now, that's neither here nor there I suppose.

To address your question straight on though, I am referring to traditions of the church that surpass flying buttresses. 'Good' traditions can't be determined to be 'good' unless there is something which affirms (vocally or silently) its 'goodness' --this, I believe, we both agree on. The Church has this authority, as does the Scripture. But sola scriptura would say that final authority rests with the Word of God. Not through the whims of a private interpreter, but through the guidence by the Holy Spirit. The article I linked says it better than I have attempted here.

So if that explination doesn't refer to the whole of Sacred Tradition as a Roman Catholic understands it, I'm sure that at very least brushes against Sacred Tradition.
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Post by GiantNinja » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:02 pm

tuttle wrote:The Church has this authority, as does the Scripture. But sola scriptura would say that final authority rests with the Word of God. Not through the whims of a private interpreter, but through the guidence by the Holy Spirit. The article I linked says it better than I have attempted here.

So if that explination doesn't refer to the whole of Sacred Tradition as a Roman Catholic understands it, I'm sure that at very least brushes against Sacred Tradition.
1. Outstanding post. (One that I hate snipping, but I felt I needed to in order to make the next point.)

2. I agree with you. That's what Sola Scriptura would say. (Though I'd insert the words 'my interpretation of'. But that's a minor quibble.) But doesn't that contradict the very Sacred Scripture thought to be supported? The Scriptures say that it is the Church that is the pillar and foundation of truth.

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Post by tuttle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:28 pm

GiantNinja wrote:
tuttle wrote:The Church has this authority, as does the Scripture. But sola scriptura would say that final authority rests with the Word of God. Not through the whims of a private interpreter, but through the guidence by the Holy Spirit. The article I linked says it better than I have attempted here.

So if that explination doesn't refer to the whole of Sacred Tradition as a Roman Catholic understands it, I'm sure that at very least brushes against Sacred Tradition.
That's what Sola Scriptura would say...But doesn't that contradict the very Sacred Scripture thought to be supported? The Scriptures say that it is the Church that is the pillar and foundation of truth.
Well I guess we could look at it from two different angles from here: (EDIT: my numbers aren't attempting to correspond to your numbers... :wink: )

1) The Scriptures are God-breathed, given (passed down) to the Church (who submits to the Word of God) is the pillar and foundation of truth who has the God-given right (authority) to wield this two-edged sword.

2) The Church, led by the Holy Spirit, has confessed, as the pillar and foundation of truth, that Scripture has the final authority. (Now, that would at first mean different things to us obviously. Protestants still see themselves as the Church led by the Holy Spirit.) I don't say this to bring up a new argument, but in response to the claim that something has been contradicted.

However, aside from those, I think that if we ponder for a moment that it was the Word of God which declared the Church to be the pillar and foundation of truth, then we see a natural order of submission. The Word declares it, the Church believes it and obeys accordingly. Where we get it wrong is when the Church takes that authority that the Word of God has revealed and then seeks to supplant the Word of God as final authority (willfully or ignorantly).
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Post by GiantNinja » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:48 pm

You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:

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Post by tuttle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:57 pm

GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
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Post by GiantNinja » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:02 pm

tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
My dad can beat up your dad.

The Apostles WERE infallible when writing the Scriptures. Unless you embrace Divine dictation, you should be able to agree with me there. The Successors to the Apostles WERE infallible, too, when they canonized Scripture. Weren't they?

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Post by tuttle » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:08 pm

GiantNinja wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
My dad can beat up your dad.

The Apostles WERE infallible when writing the Scriptures. Unless you embrace Divine dictation, you should be able to agree with me there.
yes! I agree with you here.
GiantNinja wrote:The Successors to the Apostles WERE infallible, too, when they canonized Scripture. Weren't they?
Does one need to be infallible to recognize truth? I don't think so. So I wouldn't say they were infallible. I'd say they were right.
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Post by Onyx » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:11 pm

tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
Now this is pretty interesting. I think you're saying that individuals (like Paul) were not infallible... except in the special case of while penning the works that would become holy scripture. Paul may have written other things, which may have included error. But God knew the writings which would become scripture (and perhaps Paul was aware too), and during those acts, Paul was protected/guided/inspired to avoid any error.

So it is a limited application of an infallibility doctrine. I guess the principle of sola scriptura implies that God did cause infallibility of man while writing scripture, but He does not continue to cause this in church councils today. This leads me to ask - why not?

Was man also protected/prevented from error while assembling the canon? If so, then where else? If not, then how do we know the canon is a faithful one?
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Post by wosbald » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:56 pm

+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
My dad can beat up your dad.

The Apostles WERE infallible when writing the Scriptures. Unless you embrace Divine dictation, you should be able to agree with me there.
yes! I agree with you here.
GiantNinja wrote:The Successors to the Apostles WERE infallible, too, when they canonized Scripture. Weren't they?
Does one need to be infallible to recognize truth? I don't think so. So I wouldn't say they were infallible. I'd say they were right.
If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible. If you assert that they were not infallible, then you must admit the possibility of error and thus, the possibility that the defined canon is in error.

Of course, to get out of admitting this possibility, you could just go whole hog and assert that the truth of the canon is self-evident to all true Christians. And that, thus, you know that they properly selected the canon (and were therefore, true Christians) because it's the canon that you would select. Thus, you simply transfer the infallibility to yourself and, by extension, to everyone that agrees with you.




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Post by tuttle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:17 pm

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
My dad can beat up your dad.

The Apostles WERE infallible when writing the Scriptures. Unless you embrace Divine dictation, you should be able to agree with me there.
yes! I agree with you here.
GiantNinja wrote:The Successors to the Apostles WERE infallible, too, when they canonized Scripture. Weren't they?
Does one need to be infallible to recognize truth? I don't think so. So I wouldn't say they were infallible. I'd say they were right.
If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible. If you assert that they were not infallible, then you must admit the possibility of error and thus, the possibility that the defined canon is in error.

Of course, to get out of admitting this possibility, you could just go whole hog and assert that the truth of the canon is self-evident to all true Christians. And that, thus, you know that they properly selected the canon (and were therefore, true Christians) because it's the canon that you would select. Thus, you simply transfer the infallibility to yourself and, by extension, to everyone that agrees with you.
I reject that getting something right or doing the right thing = "If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible". If I get every question right on my math test does that mean I'm infallible? That I know 2+2=4 and not 8 doesn't mean I'm infallible, it does mean that 2+2 infallibly is 4 whether I recognize it or not.

The Spirit of God led the Church to recognize the books contained in Scripture and the Church felt it necessary to put their 'pillar and foundation of truth' stamp on it. That was right and good for the church to do. They didn't have to do it, but they did. Doesn't mean they were infallible because they did.
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Post by Onyx » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:25 pm

tuttle wrote:I reject that getting something right or doing the right thing = "If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible". If I get every question right on my math test does that mean I'm infallible? That I know 2+2=4 and not 8 doesn't mean I'm infallible, it does mean that 2+2 infallibly is 4 whether I recognize it or not.

The Spirit of God led the Church to recognize the books contained in Scripture and the Church felt it necessary to put their 'pillar and foundation of truth' stamp on it. That was right and good for the church to do. They didn't have to do it, but they did. Doesn't mean they were infallible because they did.
It sounds to me as though you're talking about infallibility, but just don't want to use that word. You'll have noticed that knowing what goes into the Bible is a bit trickier than knowing 2+2. We have several ways to reliably check 2+2. But knowing what goes into the Bible is hardly self-evident to people who haven't seen a completed Bible before.
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Post by tuttle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:34 pm

Onyx wrote:
tuttle wrote:I reject that getting something right or doing the right thing = "If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible". If I get every question right on my math test does that mean I'm infallible? That I know 2+2=4 and not 8 doesn't mean I'm infallible, it does mean that 2+2 infallibly is 4 whether I recognize it or not.

The Spirit of God led the Church to recognize the books contained in Scripture and the Church felt it necessary to put their 'pillar and foundation of truth' stamp on it. That was right and good for the church to do. They didn't have to do it, but they did. Doesn't mean they were infallible because they did.
It sounds to me as though you're talking about infallibility, but just don't want to use that word. You'll have noticed that knowing what goes into the Bible is a bit trickier than knowing 2+2. We have several ways to reliably check 2+2. But knowing what goes into the Bible is hardly self-evident to people who haven't seen a completed Bible before.
I am talking about infallibility and I did use the word. :?

And I didn't say the canon was self-evident.
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Post by Onyx » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:03 pm

tuttle wrote:
Onyx wrote:
tuttle wrote:I reject that getting something right or doing the right thing = "If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible". If I get every question right on my math test does that mean I'm infallible? That I know 2+2=4 and not 8 doesn't mean I'm infallible, it does mean that 2+2 infallibly is 4 whether I recognize it or not.

The Spirit of God led the Church to recognize the books contained in Scripture and the Church felt it necessary to put their 'pillar and foundation of truth' stamp on it. That was right and good for the church to do. They didn't have to do it, but they did. Doesn't mean they were infallible because they did.
It sounds to me as though you're talking about infallibility, but just don't want to use that word. You'll have noticed that knowing what goes into the Bible is a bit trickier than knowing 2+2. We have several ways to reliably check 2+2. But knowing what goes into the Bible is hardly self-evident to people who haven't seen a completed Bible before.
I am talking about infallibility and I did use the word. :?

And I didn't say the canon was self-evident.
Putting together the canon from the enormous range of possible outcomes... they got it just right... in every decision... the sequence, the selection of texts. By natural knowledge, they could not have possibly known what was right. By the normal standards by which a church committee might manage affairs, it is hard to imagine that agreement could even be found, much less that it be the perfect agreement. And yet this enormous task was protected from error. That's pretty much what infallibility is - AFAIK.

I'm saying that your "knowing 2+2" illustration is not really applicable, because we CAN know 2+2 by natural knowledge, and we can check it for errors. The same cannot be said of the canon.

So my point is that (so far as I can see) the sola scriptura principle logically demands a doctrine of infallibility not only in the writing of the scripture, but in the assembling of the canon. Without certainly that no error could have crept in to those tasks carried out by men, there can be no certainty of the authority of scripture.
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Post by wosbald » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:08 pm

+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:
wosbald wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:You say 'the Scriptures declared it', so...'

I say 'the Apostles wrote the Scriptures, so...'

:wink:
so...God made sure it got written down :wink:

The Apostles weren't infallible, but their God-breathed writings are.
My dad can beat up your dad.

The Apostles WERE infallible when writing the Scriptures. Unless you embrace Divine dictation, you should be able to agree with me there.
yes! I agree with you here.
GiantNinja wrote:The Successors to the Apostles WERE infallible, too, when they canonized Scripture. Weren't they?
Does one need to be infallible to recognize truth? I don't think so. So I wouldn't say they were infallible. I'd say they were right.
If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible. If you assert that they were not infallible, then you must admit the possibility of error and thus, the possibility that the defined canon is in error.

Of course, to get out of admitting this possibility, you could just go whole hog and assert that the truth of the canon is self-evident to all true Christians. And that, thus, you know that they properly selected the canon (and were therefore, true Christians) because it's the canon that you would select. Thus, you simply transfer the infallibility to yourself and, by extension, to everyone that agrees with you.
I reject that getting something right or doing the right thing = "If there is no possibility that they were wrong, then they were infallible". If I get every question right on my math test does that mean I'm infallible? That I know 2+2=4 and not 8 doesn't mean I'm infallible, it does mean that 2+2 infallibly is 4 whether I recognize it or not.

The Spirit of God led the Church to recognize the books contained in Scripture and the Church felt it necessary to put their 'pillar and foundation of truth' stamp on it. That was right and good for the church to do. They didn't have to do it, but they did. Doesn't mean they were infallible because they did.
Then maybe you could tell me which principle, whether immanent to the human intellect or derivable from the sensible order, can be used to prove whether or not an object is Divinely Inspired Public Revelation?




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Post by GiantNinja » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:51 pm

Put another way, how do we know that 3 John is Scripture (inspired and inerrant) and the Shepherd of Hermes isn't?

Put another way still, 1 Corintheans wasn't the first letter Paul wrote to the Corintheans. Was his first letter (lost to us) inspired and inerrant? How do you know?

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Post by tuttle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:33 pm

GiantNinja wrote:Put another way, how do we know that 3 John is Scripture (inspired and inerrant) and the Shepherd of Hermes isn't?

Put another way still, 1 Corintheans wasn't the first letter Paul wrote to the Corintheans. Was his first letter (lost to us) inspired and inerrant? How do you know?
First, I myself, and you, only know what has been passed down to us. I am under no illusion thinking that every Christian was 'bing!' all of a sudden aware of what books were inspired and what books weren't. Admittedly, I need to read some more history, but I think it's fair to say that the 'discovery' of the holy texts was a bit more chaotic than you or I might feel comfortable with.

The Church leaders who desired to see an established canon, themselves had certain criteria they used (such as eyewitness authorship...which would exclude The Shepherd of Hermes). This process (and there was obviously more to it than that) was directed by the Holy Spirit. I think we'd all agree with that. Insofar as the Spirit was involved in the process the Church got it right. The infallible Spirit is able to lead and guide fallible men. How do I know that? The Church told me so and I listen to her as an authority. How do I know she has that authority? For the Bible tells me so. :wink:
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Post by jo533281 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:38 pm

tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:Put another way, how do we know that 3 John is Scripture (inspired and inerrant) and the Shepherd of Hermes isn't?

Put another way still, 1 Corintheans wasn't the first letter Paul wrote to the Corintheans. Was his first letter (lost to us) inspired and inerrant? How do you know?
First, I myself, and you, only know what has been passed down to us. I am under no illusion thinking that every Christian was 'bing!' all of a sudden aware of what books were inspired and what books weren't. Admittedly, I need to read some more history, but I think it's fair to say that the 'discovery' of the holy texts was a bit more chaotic than you or I might feel comfortable with.

The Church leaders who desired to see an established canon, themselves had certain criteria they used (such as eyewitness authorship...which would exclude The Shepherd of Hermes). This process (and there was obviously more to it than that) was directed by the Holy Spirit. I think we'd all agree with that. Insofar as the Spirit was involved in the process the Church got it right. The infallible Spirit is able to lead and guide fallible men. How do I know that? The Church told me so and I listen to her as an authority. How do I know she has that authority? For the Bible tells me so. :wink:
Not all used the "criteria" equally. In Antioch they used less than the 27 NT books and in Alexandria they had over 30 including the Shepherd of Hermas. Clearly the criteria was not universal.
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Post by Onyx » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:47 pm

tuttle wrote:First, I myself, and you, only know what has been passed down to us. I am under no illusion thinking that every Christian was 'bing!' all of a sudden aware of what books were inspired and what books weren't. Admittedly, I need to read some more history, but I think it's fair to say that the 'discovery' of the holy texts was a bit more chaotic than you or I might feel comfortable with.

The Church leaders who desired to see an established canon, themselves had certain criteria they used (such as eyewitness authorship...which would exclude The Shepherd of Hermes). This process (and there was obviously more to it than that) was directed by the Holy Spirit. I think we'd all agree with that. Insofar as the Spirit was involved in the process the Church got it right. The infallible Spirit is able to lead and guide fallible men. How do I know that? The Church told me so and I listen to her as an authority. How do I know she has that authority? For the Bible tells me so. :wink:
Your first paragraph is to say things might be a little shaky. Your second paragraph concludes by acknowledging your circular logic with a wink. That stuff rocked my world. Same realization, different response.
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Post by tuttle » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:00 pm

jo533281 wrote:
tuttle wrote:
GiantNinja wrote:Put another way, how do we know that 3 John is Scripture (inspired and inerrant) and the Shepherd of Hermes isn't?

Put another way still, 1 Corintheans wasn't the first letter Paul wrote to the Corintheans. Was his first letter (lost to us) inspired and inerrant? How do you know?
First, I myself, and you, only know what has been passed down to us. I am under no illusion thinking that every Christian was 'bing!' all of a sudden aware of what books were inspired and what books weren't. Admittedly, I need to read some more history, but I think it's fair to say that the 'discovery' of the holy texts was a bit more chaotic than you or I might feel comfortable with.

The Church leaders who desired to see an established canon, themselves had certain criteria they used (such as eyewitness authorship...which would exclude The Shepherd of Hermes). This process (and there was obviously more to it than that) was directed by the Holy Spirit. I think we'd all agree with that. Insofar as the Spirit was involved in the process the Church got it right. The infallible Spirit is able to lead and guide fallible men. How do I know that? The Church told me so and I listen to her as an authority. How do I know she has that authority? For the Bible tells me so. :wink:
Not all used the "criteria" equally. In Antioch they used less than the 27 NT books and in Alexandria they had over 30 including the Shepherd of Hermas. Clearly the criteria was not universal.
Which lends credibility to the Church being infallible in their selection. :no:

This is why we trust in an infallible Spirit leading fallible men.

One thing we should all keep in mind here is that the Church (in whatever tradition) has never really thrown down the 'Here's Exactly What It Is' gauntlet until the 1500's, though the Church throughout the ages has accepted the 27 books of the NT as authoritative.
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"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one" -Mal Reynolds

"Better to die cheerfully with the aid of a little tobacco, than to live disagreeably and remorseful without." -CS Lewis

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