Sola Scriptura=Unconditional Election?

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LushMojo
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Post by LushMojo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:04 am

I think Christ was without error when it comes to sin. However, if you're making the analogy between text and a human body, I believe he had the same genetic shortcomings and defects as any of us.

Beyond that I fail to see how his sinless perfection (genetic imperfections aside) reflect on whether or not the bible has errors in it.

Here's a question for you - do you believe that all translations of the bible are without error? If so, why? If not, which ones fail and which one/ones are perfect and why?

I should point out that I'm fine either way - if the bible is truly inerrant, then great. If it does have error (as I suspect), I'm fine with that as well.
PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.
Do you believe that Christ was fully God & fully man, yet without sin?
Unquestionably.
If Christ the living Word can be fully divine, fully man, yet without error - is not possible that the same can be true of the written Word?

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Post by Del » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:31 am

I'm content to believe that modern translations of the Bible are "without error".... although this is a trust in good human scholarship, not just in Divine protection.

Of course, some translations are "better" than others... but this depends on what I want to achieve by my Bible reading. Scholarship, inspiration, or teaching... but this is a small issue, and can be solved by keeping several different translations around so I can find the one that works best for my present purposes.

Even though I believe that the Bible in my hands is inerrant, I do NOT believe that every person reading any verse automatically understands it correctly. A lot of people get it wrong. They are not infallible.

When I see folks stacking random Bible verses and saying "See, the Bible says blah blah blah..." I am not often convinced. Their individual interpretations do not have any authority, and I can easily find Bible verses to refute them (of course, they don't listen to my Bible quotes, either).

This is why Sacred Tradition is so important to Catholics. The Bible was meant to be read within the Traditions that gave us the Bible... either Jewish, or Catholic/Orthodox. This is the only way we can understand the meaning that the Sacred writers intended.

If you ask a Muslim or a Buddhist to read the Bible, they won't understand it correctly. (Recall the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts, admitting that he did not understand and wishing that someone could explain the Scriptures to him)

Protestants have a plethora of conflicting Biblical interpretations, for the same reason.
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Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:36 am

LushMojo wrote:I think Christ was without error when it comes to sin. However, if you're making the analogy between text and a human body, I believe he had the same genetic shortcomings and defects as any of us.

Beyond that I fail to see how his sinless perfection (genetic imperfections aside) reflect on whether or not the bible has errors in it.
I'm making the analogy between the living and the written Word. Not between a text or a physical body. Your original statement was that you didn't think it was possible to avoid error when people are involved. My point is that if error can be avoided in the person of Christ, it is not unreasonable to believe it can be true of the words of Scripture - which were breathed out by that sinless person through his Holy Spirit.
LushMojo wrote:Here's a question for you - do you believe that all translations of the bible are without error? If so, why? If not, which ones fail and which one/ones are perfect and why?

I should point out that I'm fine either way - if the bible is truly inerrant, then great. If it does have error (as I suspect), I'm fine with that as well.
Aside from zealous fundamentalists with their KJVs (and Catholics with their Vulgate), I don't know anybody who would claim that a translation of Scripture is inspired. The Scriptures are inerrant as originally written - in the Hebrew & Greek. A translation is more or less valuable as it reflects the original.

The problem with allowing for error in Scripture is you then have to determine which is erroneous and which is not. And that puts one (or one's church) into a position over Scripture - and ultimately, since Scripture is taken to be God's word - over God himself. I would not be fine with that.
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Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:58 am

+JMJ+
+JMJ+
PipeAndPint wrote:Aside from zealous fundamentalists with their KJVs (and Catholics with their Vulgate), I don't know anybody who would claim that a translation of Scripture is inspired. The Scriptures are inerrant as originally written - in the Hebrew & Greek. A translation is more or less valuable as it reflects the original.
PnP,

I don't think that your statement exactly reflects the Catholic view:
"To establish uniformity the Council of Trent, 1546, declared the Vulgate 'is to be held authentic in public readings, disputations, preachings and expositions' (Sess. IV) and ordered it's careful revision. This decree declares the Vulgate to be the official text of the Church and valid proof, consequently also free from substantial error in faith and morals... Since it is not free from textual mistakes, Pius X, 1907, entrusted the systematic restoration of Jerome's Vulgate to the Benedictines." - The New Catholic Dictionary, pg. 1010; The Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1929; (emphasis added)




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Post by LushMojo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:35 pm

Yes, error was avoided in the person of Christ, but not in another man before or since. Based on that logic, if Jesus himself wrote the entirety of the bible I could believe in it being inerrant.

And to imply that the bible is inerrant ONLY as originally written in the Hebrew or Greek just goes way beyond the character of God in a social justice way. What you're implying is that only those who can read the original languages or have access to a lexicon or some fairly sophisticated academic tools could understand it as it was MEANT to be understood (i.e. without error). God doesn't work that way. He wants everyone to understand his word and have availability to it in its current modern form - errors and all.

The bottom line is that we can contend this point back and forth ad infinitum and neither of us will ever know the true facts. We can believe by faith, but our belief and faith could be wrong. Beyond that we have no evidence to prove it is inerrant. All historical documents are subject to error.

And again, I'm perfectly okay with there being some error. Do I think John 3:16 is in error? No. Do I think a word in Leviticus or Revelations might have been substituted for what God actually wanted there? Perhaps. I think the "heart" of what God wants us to know is there. I don't question that. He simply wanted to reveal his nature and tell us how he feels about us and how he wanted to reconcile our nature back to him.

I can see how an error in your world of seminary starts to make the walls fall in around you though. I'm just pragmatic about my relationship with Jesus and how I feel about the bible.
PipeAndPint wrote:snip: My point is that if error can be avoided in the person of Christ, it is not unreasonable to believe it can be true of the words of Scripture - which were breathed out by that sinless person through his Holy Spirit.

Aside from zealous fundamentalists with their KJVs (and Catholics with their Vulgate), I don't know anybody who would claim that a translation of Scripture is inspired. The Scriptures are inerrant as originally written - in the Hebrew & Greek. A translation is more or less valuable as it reflects the original.

The problem with allowing for error in Scripture is you then have to determine which is erroneous and which is not. And that puts one (or one's church) into a position over Scripture - and ultimately, since Scripture is taken to be God's word - over God himself. I would not be fine with that.

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Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:01 pm

LushMojo wrote:Yes, error was avoided in the person of Christ, but not in another man before or since. Based on that logic, if Jesus himself wrote the entirety of the bible I could believe in it being inerrant.
If the Scripture is God-breathed by the Holy Spirit, then Jesus himself did write the entirety of it. Scripture makes this claim: we should accept it.
LushMojo wrote:And to imply that the bible is inerrant ONLY as originally written in the Hebrew or Greek just goes way beyond the character of God in a social justice way. What you're implying is that only those who can read the original languages or have access to a lexicon or some fairly sophisticated academic tools could understand it as it was MEANT to be understood (i.e. without error). God doesn't work that way. He wants everyone to understand his word and have availability to it in its current modern form - errors and all.
That's not what I'm implying. It is true that those with training in the original languages will have the most accurate access. That's why ministers are trained to know Greek & Hebrew. As to the ability of all to utilize the original languages: perhaps we cannot all learn them, but we can all sit under the preaching of well-trained ministers.

I fail to see how any of what I'm saying impugns God's character. God spoke to his people in the language common at the time of his revelation. We don't speak those languages today, so we use faithful translations to translate his words from the original language to ours.
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Post by LushMojo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:13 pm

I believe the scripture is inspired by God's spirit, yes. No problem there. But "Jesus himself" writing the entirety of it? Your implication makes no sense - you're saying he physically possessed all of the writers?

How about this? I subscribe to the bible being infallible. And not infallible as in "incapable of error", but as in incapable of misleading or deception.

Ultimately, I believe God's word is true. Isn't that the heart of any requirement to follow him and believe what he says? I just don't believe that the words that he gave us THROUGH MEN arrived without some form of problem. Call it error. Call it whatever you like. We're clearly not here to convince each other. I believe what I believe and you believe as you do. Perhaps one day I'll believe the way you do, but for now.....I doubt it.
PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Yes, error was avoided in the person of Christ, but not in another man before or since. Based on that logic, if Jesus himself wrote the entirety of the bible I could believe in it being inerrant.
If the Scripture is God-breathed by the Holy Spirit, then Jesus himself did write the entirety of it. Scripture makes this claim: we should accept it.
LushMojo wrote:And to imply that the bible is inerrant ONLY as originally written in the Hebrew or Greek just goes way beyond the character of God in a social justice way. What you're implying is that only those who can read the original languages or have access to a lexicon or some fairly sophisticated academic tools could understand it as it was MEANT to be understood (i.e. without error). God doesn't work that way. He wants everyone to understand his word and have availability to it in its current modern form - errors and all.
That's not what I'm implying. It is true that those with training in the original languages will have the most accurate access. That's why ministers are trained to know Greek & Hebrew. As to the ability of all to utilize the original languages: perhaps we cannot all learn them, but we can all sit under the preaching of well-trained ministers.

I fail to see how any of what I'm saying impugns God's character. God spoke to his people in the language common at the time of his revelation. We don't speak those languages today, so we use faithful translations to translate his words from the original language to ours.

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Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:22 pm

+JMJ+
PnP,
I hate to say it, but Lush is just applying the same train of logic that the Protestant reformers used when rejecting the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

When you claim that, once man is involved, the inerrancy of Sacred Tradition and the infallibility of Magesterium are suspect, then next falls the inerrancy of Scripture for the same reason.




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Post by LushMojo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:56 pm

And here I was telling Dug just this week how I've toyed with the idea of becoming Catholic for several years now. Guess I'll have to reform before I can make the leap. ;-)

PS - I seriously was having the discussion with Dug.
wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
PnP,
I hate to say it, but Lush is just applying the same train of logic that the Protestant reformers used when rejecting the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

When you claim that, once man is involved, the inerrancy of Sacred Tradition and the infallibility of Magesterium are suspect, then next falls the inerrancy of Scripture for the same reason.

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Post by Del » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:31 pm

LushMojo wrote:And here I was telling Dug just this week how I've toyed with the idea of becoming Catholic for several years now. Guess I'll have to reform before I can make the leap. ;-)

PS - I seriously was having the discussion with Dug.
Please, continue to enjoy the discussion!

GK Chesterton was also a convert, and he talked about those wonderful years -- many years in his case -- as he enjoyed learning about the Church that Christ founded.

In Chesterton's case, it was the question of Authority that kept him apart from the Church he loved so much. It was one thing to discover that Catholicism has it right, on issue after issue. It is another thing entirely to accept that the Church is always right, in a divine sort of way.

Anyhow, you have a humble spirit. Keep it, and the Spirit will lead you on a marvelous journey!
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Post by Dug » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:42 pm

Dug wrote:The Holy Scriptures didn't float down on a cloud, but were the product of the Holy Spirit working through human agency, both in their writing and in their definitive recognition as canonical. (Although not all of us may think of it in those terms, all Christians who affirm the inerrancy of Scripture subscribe to a doctrine of infallibility. Protestants believe that the human authors of the God-breathed Scriptures were preserved from error by the Holy Spirit in their writing of those particular books. The Catholic doctrine is different in degree, not in kind.)
To grasp the Catholic view of Sacred Scripture, it's worth reading Article 3 of the Catechism on that subject. Because of our emphasis on the Word as Jesus Christ and on the Spirit-led teaching Magisterium of the Church as authoritatively teaching the deposit of faith (of which Sacred Scripture is a key part), there isn't the same emphasis or particularity in defining a theory of verbal inerrancy as for Protestants who hold to Sola Scriptura.

A couple key paragraphs:
Catechism of the Catholic Church wrote:106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."

107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living".73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures."
If you have time for or interest in a longer read, you could also have a look at the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum).

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Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:10 pm

LushMojo wrote:I believe the scripture is inspired by God's spirit, yes. No problem there. But "Jesus himself" writing the entirety of it? Your implication makes no sense - you're saying he physically possessed all of the writers?
What I am saying is that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The Scriptures themselves say this in Phillipians 1:19. So if the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit proceeds from Christ, then the Scriptures themselves proceed from Christ.
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Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:07 pm

wosbald wrote:When you claim that, once man is involved, the inerrancy of Sacred Tradition and the infallibility of Magesterium are suspect, then next falls the inerrancy of Scripture for the same reason.
Maybe if that is what I claimed, you would have a point. But it's not. To be accurate, my position is not that human involvement destroys the possibility of inerrancy per sé. My position is that the lack of Scripturally-guaranteed, direct divine intervention means error is inevitable.

The thinking goes as follows:

1) From Scripture, we have proof that both the Lord Jesus and the Scriptures are fully divine, fully human - without error.

2) Scripture does not extend this guarantee of inerrancy to Magisterial Tradition.

3) As a result, those of us who require Scriptural support place the Magisterium in the category of normal human activity - subject to all the corruptions thereof.

Of course I know you would dispute this last point. But we claim that history bears this out: that once Scripture is set aside as the only rule of faith and life, all sorts of corruptions creep in - things such as indulgences, Marian devotion, etc.

And now I really am done arguing (or is it re-arguing?) this thread.
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Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:50 pm

+JMJ+
Well... from a Catholic POV, it really is a logical extension of the same argument since we don't believe that the Scriptures can attest to themselves.

But I understand where you're coming from.

However, to say that Indulgences or Marian devotion are proof of Magesterial corruption is to start either with the assumption that such teachings are corrupt or with the assumption that the Magesterium is corrupt.

So the two syllogisms would read thusly:
  1. Marian devotion is corrupt.
  2. The Magesterium teaches Marian devotion.
  3. Therefore, the Magesterium is corrupt.
or
  1. The Magesterium is corrupt.
  2. Marian devotion is taught by the Magesterium.
  3. Therefore, Marian devotion is corrupt.




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Post by Dug » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:42 pm

At the risk of earning JB's animated "dead horse" gif, you can find an excellent summary/compendium of Catholic teaching on Scripture, Tradition, Canon, inerrancy, and interpretation atthe St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (Wosbald will be pleased to note that, in addition to Vatican II, it also quotes from Trent, Florence, Pius XII, and Leo XIII, among others).

The Resource Library at that site also contains a lot of great, free material.

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Post by Del » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:48 pm

Biting my tongue here!

Great job, all you guys!

Of course, when you set aside Sacred Tradition and Apostolic Teaching, you get all sorts of errors, such as Sola Scriptura, Total Depravity, Millenarianism and Rapture....

D'oh!
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Post by Dug » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:52 pm

It's either impressive or disturbing how much you can say while biting your tongue, Del.

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Post by Del » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:19 pm

Dug wrote:It's either impressive or disturbing how much you can say while biting your tongue, Del.
Yes... I'm kinda like Homer Simpson. I get confused between what my brain is thinking and what my mouth is saying...
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Post by wosbald » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:23 pm

+JMJ+
The salient points, as I see them, from this thread are:
  • Total Depravity = Unconditional Election
  • Sola Scriptura = or ≠ Unconditional Election
I do echo colton's desire to see those adhering to a cohesive theology which holds that "Sola Scriptura ≠ Unconditional Election" to chime in.

Otherwise, this thread is dead.




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Post by PipeAndPint » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:56 pm

Dug wrote:It's either impressive or disturbing how much you can say while biting your tongue, Del.
His secret is the use of italics. :wink:
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