Sola Fide teaches that believers are justified or declared righteous by faith alone. I will use the same scripture that I used with Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

You can see above again that we are saved though faith, and that not of ourselves. It is through our belief in Christ that justification comes. If we believe that we have any part in it, then we are saying that we had to help the atoning work of Christ and that his death was not sufficient.

The CARM website puts it like this:

Roman Catholics often mention that the Bible never says we are saved by faith alone and that the phrase “faith alone” occurs only once in James where it says that we are not saved by faith alone. If this is so, then why do the Protestants say we are justified by faith alone and not by works? Because the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith alone, and not by works.

The following is a list of verses about being saved by faith. Please take note that faith and works are contrasted. In other words, we are saved by faith “not by works” and “apart from works,” etc. The point is that there are only two options. We are saved by faith alone or we are not. Since we have faith and works (both conceptually and in practice), then we are either saved by faith alone or by faith and works. There is no other option.

If we see that the Scriptures exclude works in any form as a means of our salvation, then logically we are saved by faith alone. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about faith and works. Then, afterwards, we will tackle James’ statement about “faith alone.”

  1. Rom. 3:28-30, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”
  2. Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.”
  3. Rom. 5:1, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  4. Rom. 9:30, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.”
  5. Rom. 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
  6. Rom. 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
  7. Gal. 2:16, nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
  8. Gal. 2:21, I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
  9. Gal.3:5-6, “Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”
  10. Gal. 3:24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”
  11. Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any man should boast.”
  12. Phil. 3:9, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Again, works/Law is contrasted with faith repeatedly and we are told that we are not justified by works in any way. Therefore, we are made right with God by faith, not by faith and our works; hence, faith alone.

Related Posts:

The Five Solas – Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone)

The Five Solas – Solas Christus (Christ Alone)

The Five Solas – Solas Gratia (Grace Alone)

The Five Solas – Soli Deo Gloria (Glory To God Alone)

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Comments
  1. Anon says:

    What about the examples in e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_fide#Passages_used_to_oppose_sola_fide

    For example:

    Matthew 7:21 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

    …strongly suggests faith alone is insufficient.

    And also more disparaging of faith like

    1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

  2. Alan Higgins says:

    I have looked at the scriptures and there is no contradiction. Have a look at https://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/the-five-solas-sola-gratia-by-grace-alone/

    We do the works AS A RESULT of being saved, but our works cannot save us. When Paul was speaking in 1 Cor 13:13, who was he speaking to. 1 Cor2 will tell you

    To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours

    So again, thse are people who were already christians. Nevertheless, that scripture is not talking about salvation at all in any case.

    I hope that clarifies things

  3. Paul says:

    Sola Fide is a manmade doctrine, invented by Martin Luther.
    To all the scriptures you cite, I say, AMEN ! I believe in them 100% .

    However, I don’t necessarily believe your fallible interpretation. Notice that in none of those scriptures is the word – “ALONE”.

    You might also try reading James 2:14-26.
    You cannot deny the truth.

    Also, why is it that every verse talking about judgment in the New Testament talks about what you have DONE or failed to DO? NOT how much “faith” you had upon your death.

    For example: Romans 2:5-6? “By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God who will repay everyone according to his WORKS.

  4. Alan Higgins says:

    Paul, check out https://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/the-five-solas-sola-gratia-by-grace-alone/ where I explain what James was saying. It is not a contradiction at all

    You fail to understand the gospel properly. In a nutshell we ALL have failed to keep God’s laws and there is no way we can do it by ourself and therefore deserve God’s punishment but Chriost made a way so that he could take our punishment for us if we repent and put our trust in him. If we do not, then we will incur God’s wrath for our works and breaking God’s laws

  5. Paul says:

    Sorry,
    I take it you believe in Sola Scriptura, that Everyone can interpret the Bible, guided by the Holy Spirit.

    You can tell me you disagree, you cannot tell me I am wrong.

    It’s MY interpretation. It’s also very interesting that you, and many Protestants cite Eph 2:8,9 and you always leave out verse 10. I suggest you read that, along with
    Matt 7:21.

    Also, I suggest you read 1 Cor 13:13 and 1 Cor 13:2.

    Catholic teaching is, in a nutshell, Gal 5:6, Faith, WORKING thru LOVE.

    Faith & Works,,,,,NOT Faith or Works.,,,ALL through Grace Alone, which we agree on.

    James 2 cannot be ignored. Luther tried to throw it out of his version of the Bible because he knew what it meant.

    C.S. Lewis, when asked about Faith and Works, which was more important, said, “That is like asking which blade on a pair of scissors is more important”.

    Based on YOUR logic, I could say that we are saved by Baptism ALONE because 1 Pet 3:21, says that Baptism saves you.

    It doesn’t say “ALONE” though, does it?

    I could also make a case, based on your logic that eating his body and blood, ALONE saves you, because John 6:54 says , whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

    Sorry, your interpretation does not hold water.

  6. Alan Higgins says:

    As I stated before, good works are not a REQUIREMENT of salvation,but EVIDENCE of it’!

    I recommend you look at https://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/ten-rules-of-biblical-interpretation/ especially point 5

  7. Paul says:

    Where in the Bible does it say: “Works are evidence of Salvation?”

    Where does it say the Bible ALONE is the sole Rule of Faith?

    Try 2 Tim 2:2 and 2 Thess 2:15

    If works are “evidence” of salvation, then it can’t be “Faith ALONE”. You still have to do works, out of grace.

    There are 2 types of works, works of Law, or old Mosaic works, which are NOT required, and Works of Grace, which ARE required.

    Jesus never wrote anything down, nor did he tell his Apostles to. The word of God was taught Orally for almost 400 years after Christ died, until the Catholic Church decided which books belonged in the Bible, and by the way, it’s 73 books, not 66.

    Martin Luther removed 7 books from the Old Testament and tried to remove several New Testament books that didn’t agree with his theology, like James.

  8. Paul says:

    What would you say, that as a Christian, is the pillar and foundation or bulwark (defender) of the truth?

    the Bible?

  9. Alan Higgins says:

    Yes I would say that the bible is the final authority

    James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I WILL SHOW YOU MY FAITH BY MY WORKS”. If you say that your works are needed also, then in essence you are saying that Christ’s sacrificial death was not enough by itself and we have to help God out and we get some of the credit where I believe that we can do NOTHING to earn our salvation and it all rests on the atoning work of Christ

    I believe that traditions here means the truths of the Gospel and not just the traditions of men. If it was just the traditions of men, then the Bereans would have no reason in Acts 17:11 to see if what Paul was teaching matched up to scripture. They would have or should have just taken his word as fact

  10. Paul says:

    The Bereans were talking about strictly the Old Testament to see if Jesus’ teaching, matched the prophecies, which it did. The New Testament did not exist at that time.

    And if you say the Bible is the Pillar and fojndation of Truth, you are going against the Bible.

    1 Tim 3:15 says, “The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth”.

    Matt 18:15-18 says, “If your brother continues to sin,etc, tell it to the CHURCH,” NOT – take it to the Bible.

    Also, have you read 2 Peter 1:20 and 2 Peter 3:16?

  11. Paul says:

    Also,
    Have you read James 2:24?

  12. Paul says:

    Jesus condemned the traditions of men that nullified his word. Traditions , (big ‘T’) of the Church as taught by people like Paul and Timothy, are something altogether different.

    Also, since there was no “Bible” til about the year 400, and most people back then were illiterate anyway,,,,how were people taught? By ORAL Tradition.

    Jesus did not teach his Apostles to pass on his word Orally and then “Stop guys, now that a book has been written”.

  13. Laura says:

    Paul, where does it say in the Bible that we are to go to a Priest to confess our sins? And where does it say that the man whom which we have confessed to has the right to say ‘Ten Hail Mary’s and you’re forgiven.’? – I thought it was ‘repent and be forgiven’ not ‘repent and earn back your forgivness through devotion to the mother of Jesus Christ’…..!

    Where does it say it is right to pray to Mary? Or fill our homes with ‘idols’ of the Pope? Or wear scapulars and miraculous medals?

    I’m sorry I’ve gone totally off topic but I noticed Paul several times said ‘Where does it say in the Bible…?’ and I felt the need to bring these things up.

    My mother has not long come out of the Catholic church after being an adament defender of it for many years. Through the Bible and the guidance of the Lord she came to see the light. The real light.

    Back on topic – I believe it’s by faith alone. A person displaying true faith will be compelled to begin doing ‘good works’ for the Lord – one not displaying any good fruit seemingly does not have a proper relationship with the Lord. Good works are a natural progression, the Lord begins to show us His heart once we truely know Him. But it’s by faith that we are saved. As Alan said – the works are evidence.

    Also:

    “Catholic teaching is, in a nutshell, Gal 5:6, Faith, WORKING thru LOVE.”

    Want to know who the least active denomination are in our town? That’s right, the Catholics. They do the least outreach, have the shortest services (or masses) – the least actual teaching – since when is reading off the same sheet each week furthering anyone’s faith or understanding? The vast majority of Catholics that I know, and I know a lot, are Sunday Christians – literally. Lastly I’m not speaking from an ignorant point of view, I was brought up a Catholic but got fed up of tirelessly trying to ‘earn’ my salvation, every night repeating the same prayers over and over. I took my first holy communion and was confirmed and finally asked.. ‘Where in the bible did Jesus command this?’

    I was baptized in water this year.

  14. Paul says:

    Laura,
    Such hostility on the search for truth,,,,,
    I’m off to work, but I will be happy to talk to you on one subject at a time, starting with confession.

    I’ll give you a little food for thought until next time. Tell me what this means to you:

    John 20:23, this is JESUS talking to his Apostles.

    Gotta run, talk to you soon.

    Peace.

  15. Paul says:

    James 5:16 – James clearly teaches us that we must “confess our sins to one another,” not just privately to God. James 5:16 must be read in the context of James 5:14-15, which is referring to the healing power (both physical and spiritual) of the priests of the Church. Hence, when James says “therefore” in verse 16, he must be referring to the men he was writing about in verses 14 and 15 – these men are the ordained priests of the Church, to whom we must confess our sins.

    John 20:21 – before He grants them the authority to forgive sins, Jesus says to the apostles, “as the Father sent me, so I send you.” As Christ was sent by the Father to forgive sins, so Christ sends the apostles and their successors forgive sins.

    John 20:22 – the Lord “breathes” on the apostles, and then gives them the power to forgive and retain sins. The only other moment in Scripture where God breathes on man is in Gen. 2:7, when the Lord “breathes” divine life into man. When this happens, a significant transformation takes place.

    John 20:23 – Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” In order for the apostles to exercise this gift of forgiving sins, the penitents must orally confess their sins to them because the apostles are not mind readers. The text makes this very clear.

    Matt. 9:8 – this verse shows that God has given the authority to forgive sins to “men.” Hence, those Protestants who acknowledge that the apostles had the authority to forgive sins (which this verse demonstrates) must prove that this gift ended with the apostles. Otherwise, the apostles’ successors still possess this gift. Where in Scripture is the gift of authority to forgive sins taken away from the apostles or their successors?

    1 Tim. 2:5 – Christ is the only mediator, but He was free to decide how His mediation would be applied to us. The Lord chose to use priests of God to carry out His work of forgiveness.

  16. Paul says:

    Laura,
    If you were raised Catholic, which I am suspicious about, I fear you sure didn’t pay much attention to what you were taught.

    If you did you would know that Catholics don’t “Worship” Mary. We honor her as the mother of our Lord. Don’t you?
    We ask her to pray for us, just like we ask the Saints to pray for us. Just like I would ask you to pray for me. Or you might ask me to pray for you?

    Disagree with Catholics all you like, but make sure it’s what we REALLY believe that you disagree with, not what you THINK we believe.

    Do you seriously think we “worship” Mary or “idols” of statues, and not GOD alone? Surely you cannot be that foolish.

  17. Paul says:

    Regarding Faith “ALONE”, I would ask you to read
    James 2:24 about 10 times, then close your Bible and say out loud: We are NOT justified by works, but by Faith Alone.

    Can you actually claim to believe the Bible ALONE and not believe what it plainly says in James 2:14-26?

    If you can show me just ONE verse that says we are saved by Faith “ALONE”, I will renounce my Catholic Faith and join your Church this Sunday.

    However, If I can show you just ONE verse that says we are NOT saved by Faith ALONE, you must return to the Catholic Church.

    Will you take that Challenge?

    Here’s mine: James 2:24

    What’s yours?

  18. Laura says:

    “Laura,
    If you were raised Catholic, which I am suspicious about, I fear you sure didn’t pay much attention to what you were taught.

    If you did you would know that Catholics don’t “Worship” Mary. We honor her as the mother of our Lord. Don’t you?
    We ask her to pray for us, just like we ask the Saints to pray for us. Just like I would ask you to pray for me. Or you might ask me to pray for you?

    Disagree with Catholics all you like, but make sure it’s what we REALLY believe that you disagree with, not what you THINK we believe.

    Do you seriously think we “worship” Mary or “idols” of statues, and not GOD alone? Surely you cannot be that foolish.”

    My Mum used to state all of the above. The Catholic faith goes way further than just honouring Mary. Catholics see her as an intercessor, which she is not. For every ten Hail Marys you pray, do you also pray the same amount to Jesus?

    The Catholic church bases way to much on tradition and way too little on the Bible and the words Jesus spoke. They go running for miles to see the Pope, who is a man, elected by men, yet you believe he is appointed by God. Isn’t the vatican one of the richest cities in the World?

    I don’t really mind whether or not you believe I was raised a Catholic, the fact is I was and left as a teenager. If I truely am ignorant to what the catholic faith is based upon maybe you should take that up with my liturgy teacher (Catholic Sunday school for you other guys). I was one of about 50 kids in the whole Cathederal, which is Northampton’s largest Catholic church. By the time I was about 12 I was the only one my age still there. In my current church there are over 200 kids, I teach a groups of 11 to 14 yr olds, there are 25 of them alone, the 14-18 age group is even bigger, after that they are offered the chance to play an active part in the church.

    If the Catholic faith is the true faith it’s needs to start making a bit of effort where the kids are concerned. There is nothing in my town for Catholic youth, and I’m sure we all agree that children are the future. Down with pomp and circumstance and up with spreading the Gospel.

    Sorry, gone off on a tandum again, will get back to your other questions later as I’m off to a dress fitting!

  19. Alan Higgins says:

    Paul here is a question. If the Pope or tradition say one thing and the bible says another thing, who or what has the final authority?

  20. Paul says:

    Alan,
    The Catholic Church and the Pope have never taught anything contrary to the Bible, and the Bible teaches nothing against the Catholic Church or Sacred Tradition.

    Remember, the Bible itself in 1 Tim 3:15 tells you,
    The CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of truth.

    Which came first? The Church or the Bible?

    The Church existed, purely on Oral Tradition for 400 years before it gave you your Bible.

    So, if you believe in the Bible, which I assume we all do, 100%,
    then you believe, whether you know it or not, in Catholic TRADITION – because the Bible itself is the greatest of ALL Traditions.

    Please ponder this, pray about it and think very carefully about it.

  21. Paul says:

    Laura,
    I noticed you had no comments whatsoever on my answer to you about Confession .

    I also noticed you did not answer my challenge.

    Why is that?

  22. Alan Higgins says:

    So I ask the question again. If (and I stress ‘if’ ) the Pope or tradition say one thing and the bible says another thing, who or what has the final authority?

  23. Paul says:

    I’m afraid you are going to have to give me an example my friend. The Pope will never teach anything contrary to the Bible and the Bible does not teach anything contrary to the Pope, and the same thing goes for Tradition that has been handed down from the beginning.

    You set up a false dichotomy – it’s NOT either/or
    as in either the Bible or the Pope/Tradition

    With us, it’s Both/And, as in Both the Bible AND Tradition along with the Pope & Bishops.

    Both/And, as in Faith & Works, NOT Faith OR Works.

    Like I said, the Bible itself, whether you realize it or not, agree or not,,,IS a Catholic Tradition !

  24. Laura says:

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” Image worship is unscriptural and will end with the eternal damnation of those who practice it (Rev. 14:11).

    Here is you answer regarding grace/works:

    8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

    (Notice I didn’t miss out verse 10 – I don’t believe in any way shape or form this says we have to work towards our salvation, I believe it says we are saved by faith, and that once we are saved God will use us to do good works which He has already prepared for us)

    Are good works infant baptism, keeping sacraments, church membership, going to mass and praying to Mary? Or are good works sharing the Gospel of Salvation to many, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless etc etc???

    Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

    Finally:

    In the Bible there are no popes or priests to rule over the church. Jesus Christ is our High Priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:5; 8:1; 9:11), and all true Christians make up a spiritual priesthood (I Pet. 2:5). Jesus Christ has sanctified all Christians who believe on Him (Heb. 10:10-11), so all priests today are unnecessary and unscriptural. Furthermore, the practice of calling a priest “father” is forbidden by Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:9. There is only ONE mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5).

    The Catholic church teaches that Peter was the first Pope and the earthly head of the church, but the Bible never says this once. In fact, it was Peter himself who spoke against “being lords over God’s heritage” in I Peter 5:3. Popes do not marry, although Peter did (Mat. 8:14; I Cor. 9:5). The Bible never speaks of Peter being in Rome, and it was Paul, not Peter, who wrote the epistle to the Romans. In the New Testament, Paul wrote 100 chapters with 2,325 verses, while Peter wrote only 8 chapters with 166 verses. In Peter’s first epistle he stated that he was simply “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” not a Pope (I Pet. 1:1). The Roman papacy and priesthood is just a huge fraud to keep members in bondage to a corrupt pagan church

  25. Laura says:

    The Bible teaches that we pray to God alone. In the primitive church never were prayers directed to Mary, or to dead saints. This practice began in the Roman Church
    (Matthew 11:28; Luke 1:46; Acts 10:25-26; 14:14-18)

    Jesus did not appoint Peter to the headship of the apostles and forbade any such notion. (Luke 22:24-26; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1st Corinthians 3:11).
    Note: Nor is there any mention in Scripture, nor in history, that Peter ever was in Rome, much less that he was pope there for 25 years; Clement, 3rd bishop of Rome, remarks that “there is no real 1st century evidence that Peter ever was in Rome.”

    Canonization of dead saints, first by Pope John XV
    Every believer and follower of Christ is called saint in the Bible. (Read Romans 1:7; 1st Colossians 1:2).

    The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand, Boniface VII
    Jesus imposed no such rule, nor did any of the apostles. On the contrary, St. Peter was a married man, and St. Paul says that bishops were to have wife and children. (Read 1st Timothy 3:2,5, and 12; Matthew 8:14-15).

    The Rosary, or prayer beads was introduced by Peter the Hermit, in the year 1090. Copied from Hindus and Mohammedans
    The counting of prayers is a pagan practice and is expressly condemned by Christ. (Matthew 6:5-13).

    The adoration of the wafer (Host), was decreed by Pope Honorius
    So the Roman Church worships a God made by human hands. This is plain idolatry and absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. (Read John 4:24).

    The Scapular was invented by Simon Stock, and English monk
    It is a piece of brown cloth, with the picture of the Virgin and supposed to contain supernatural virtue to protect from all dangers those who wear it on naked skin. This is fetishism.

    The doctrine of Purgatory was proclaimed as a dogma of faith by Council of Florence
    There is not one word in the Bible that would teach the purgatory of priests. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sins. (Read 1st John 1:7-9; 2:1-2; John 5:24; Romans 8:1).

    The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX
    The Bible states that all men, with the sole exception of Christ, are sinners. Mary herself had need of a Savior. (Read Romans 3:23; 5:12; Psalm 51:5; Luke 1:30,46,47).

    In the year 1870 after Christ, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of Papal Infallibility
    This is a blasphemy and the sign of the apostasy and of the antichrist predicted by St. Paul. (Read 2nd Thessalonians 2:2-12; Revelation 17:1-9; 13:5-8,18).
    Many Bible students see the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18), 666 in the Roman letters of the Pope’s title: “VICARIVS FILII DEI.” — V-5, I-1; C-100, I-1; V-S, I-1; L-50, I-1; I-1; D-500, I-l — Total, 666.

    In the year 1931 the same pope Pius XI, reaffirmed the doctrine that Mary is “the Mother of God”
    This doctrine was first invented by the Council of Ephesus in the year 431. This is a heresy contrary by Mary’s own words. (Read Luke 1:46-49; John 2: l-5).

  26. Laura says:

    Paul as you can see from above – hardly ANY of the Catholic ‘tradition’ was handed down from the ‘beginning’ – infact MOST Catholic practices were added (via several different Popes) between 300 and 1,950 years after Christ.

    OF ALL THE HUMAN TRADITIONS taught and practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, which are contrary to the Bible, the most ancient are the prayers for the dead and the sign of the Cross. Both began 300 years after Christ. – as we can see there is a sunstantial gap there.

  27. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Roman Catholicism from its actual conception loves to headbutt Scripture – here is my case why I believe so. Read Laura’s comments and Alan’s posts again – Catholicism is paganism packaged for a pseudo-Christian perspective.

    SOLA SCRIPTURA – not Sola Ecclesia: The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice and it says that we are saved BY faith THROUGH faith and NOT OF WORKS (Ephesians 2:8-9)

  28. Paul says:

    Well,
    I don’t know why I bothered to try reasoning with you anyway.
    It’s obvious poor Laura that you have such a gross misunderstanding of the Catholic Faith that the scales are glued permanently to your eyes.

    Yes, we have statues in our Churches. But do you really, honestly think we “Worship” them? They are reminders to us, just like pictures of your family in your wallet are a reminder. Do you worship them?

    I would like to give you more credit than that.

    Infant Baptism? Please show me how that is not scriptural. I see nothing in scripture forbidding that. As a matter of fact, the Bible talks about entire Families being baptized. And if you bother to study any history, then you know that in that ancient culture, a “family” consisted of the master, his family, including the kids, the servants and their kids, and the slaves and their kids.

    As for the Bible ALONE and Faith ALONE, I fail to see anything from you showing where either is Biblical.

    You have also ignored my challenge.

    If you are a Bible believer, why don’t you believe James 2:24?

    Have you ever read 2 Tim 2:2? or 2 Thess 2:15?

    The Catholic Church has not “made up” anything. It has safeguarded and protected the word of God, the deposit of Faith, from the beginning.

    You also ignored everything I showed you about confession.

    Many Popes throughout history, when a controversy came up on some issue, proclaimed the Truth, as it has been from the beginning. Your misunderstanding is that they somehow “made it up” at that time. You are terribly wrong about that.

    You say Purgatory is not in the Bible.
    I can go into that and show you plenty of scripture implying it. The “word” Purgatory isn’t there. That is why God gave us the Church to instruct us.

    Let me ask you this. Do you believe in the “TRINITY”?

    Where is that word in the Bible? It’s not there.

    I guess the Catholic Church made that up too?

    You have a LOT to learn.

  29. Alan Higgins says:

    OK, here is a simple one. Catholics make people ‘saints’ or elevate then to sainthood. The bible teaches that all christians are saints. Who is right? And please some me how purgatory is implied in the bible?

  30. Paul says:

    I will be happy to answer, yet you haven’t answered my questions.

    Here is something for you to contemplate while I answer your questions, regarding interpretation of scripture. Let’s pretend this sentence is in the Bible:

    I never said you stole money.

    How do we interpret it properly? How do we decide the TRUE meaning of say, Paul, if he wrote it?

    Here’s what I mean:

    It could be: I never SAID you stole money. (Maybe I thought it)

    It could be: I never said YOU stole money. (Maybe I said someone else stole it)

    It could be: I never said you STOLE money. (Maybe I said you borrowed it)

    It could be: I never said you stole MONEY. (Maybe I said you stole a TV)

    So, who is to say which interpretation is correct?
    That is why you have 30,000+ Protestant denominations – each one interprets it a different way !

    I refer you to 2 Peter 1:20, and 2 Peter 3:15-16.
    I refer you to 1 Tim 3:15.

    We (Catholics) have a 2,000 year old Church, the Church referred to in 1 Tim 3:15, to help guide us with the proper interpretation.

    Sola Fide people have nothing more than the limits of their imagination to use to interpret. See the problem it presents?

    Answers to your questions to follow.

  31. Paul says:

    Is Purgatory in the Bible?

    OBJECTOR: The Catholic Church claims to follow the teachings of the Bible, but I can find no mention of it in Scripture.

    CATHOLIC: Before I show you some biblical references, tell me what you understand by the Catholic teaching on purgatory, because I often find that it is misunderstood.

    OBJECTOR: Purgatory is like a second chance for people who have not been good disciples of Jesus in this world. If they didn’t follow him, they can work off their sins in purgatory and go to heaven. I see purgatory as another instance of the Catholic dependence on good works as a means of salvation. Purgatory is not heaven or hell but an in-between state in which people are punished for their wrongs in this life that were not forgiven.

    CATHOLIC: Your understanding is not what the Catholic Church teaches. It may surprise you to know that the Church makes very few binding statements about what purgatory is. The sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church are very short. The most important statement is: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030). So, you see, purgatory is not a second chance after this life. It is only for those who “die in God’s grace and friendship.”

    OBJECTOR: What does it mean to “die in God’s grace and friendship”? Romans 10:9 says that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. It doesn’t say anything about undergoing a purification after death. All the holiness we need to enter heaven is in Christ. If we trust him, we will be saved.

    CATHOLIC: The language of dying in God’s grace is another way of saying that when we die we must have faith in Christ, as Romans 10:9 says. But Paul did not intend his words in this text to be taken as the complete story. We have to interpret one text in the Bible in the light of the whole Bible.

    OBJECTOR: I agree, but there is not one word about purgatory in the Bible.

    CATHOLIC: Look at 1 Corinthians 3:14–15: “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” You see, the Latinate word purgatory means a purgation or burning by fire. Paul in these verses refers to a purgation process whereby a man is saved even though his works are burned away. This is precisely what the Catholic Church teaches. A person at death who still has personal faults is prevented from entering into heaven because he is not completely purified. He must go through a period of purgation in order to be made clean, for nothing unclean will enter heaven (cf. Rev. 21:27).

    OBJECTOR: You said we need to interpret verses of the Bible in context, but you left out verse 13: “Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” You see it speaks about “the Day.” That means the Day of Judgment, not some intermediate state of purgatory.

    CATHOLIC: Of course we don’t really know what day Paul is talking about, so it would be arbitrary to limit it to the final Day of Judgment. I take it that we both believe in a personal judgment after death and a general judgment at the end of history.

    OBJECTOR: Yes, but it makes much more sense to me to read this as referring to the general judgment. It speaks about a day that brings one’s work to light, not about a process of purification. Even if this text could refer to the personal judgment, it doesn’t show that the Catholic notion of purgatory is true.

    CATHOLIC: Assuming that the text could refer to the personal judgment, what do you see in the idea of purgatory that’s not found in this passage?

    OBJECTOR: Well, the most obvious difference is that it doesn’t mention anything like praying for the dead, which is a major part of the Church’s teaching on purgatory.

    CATHOLIC: I agree that these verses don’t mention prayers for the dead, but other passages in the Bible do. The most obvious is 2 Maccabees 12:40–45. When Judas prays and has sacrifices offered for soldiers who died in battle, he is commended for acting “very well and honorably.”

    OBJECTOR: The book of 2 Maccabees isn’t inspired, so you can’t say that this shows scriptural support for purgatory.

    CATHOLIC: We’ll have to discuss the inspiration of Maccabees some other time, but at least this passage shows that even before Christ the Jewish people recognized the need for purification from sins after death and believed that the prayers and sacrifices of those still living could aid in this purification. The Catholic Church didn’t make up this idea.

    OBJECTOR: Well, even if the Catholic Church didn’t make it up, that doesn’t mean it’s true. We are under the New Covenant, so many of the precepts of the Old Law, such as dietary laws, no longer apply. This need for purification after death could be one of those things.

    CATHOLIC: I agree that we cannot say that everything present in Judaism before Christ is something that applies to our state after Christ. Even so, the indication in Maccabees of purification after death is not a precept but a belief, and so it is not in the same category as dietary laws. Furthermore, the New Testament shows a continuity with this idea. For example, Matthew 12:32 says that some people who sin “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” This suggests that there are some sins that will be forgiven in the age to come. If there is no purification after death, then this passage doesn’t make much sense.

    OBJECTOR: Jesus wasn’t speaking about the distinction between this life and the next; rather, he was making a distinction between the age under the Old Covenant and the age under the New Covenant.

    CATHOLIC: That interpretation doesn’t make sense, though, because it doesn’t fit with the context of the verse. Right before this, Jesus had been casting out demons, and he announced that the kingdom of God had come. He’s saying that the kingdom of God is already present; it would make little sense for him to then refer to the dominion of the kingdom as an “age to come.”

    OBJECTOR: Even so, this could just mean that at the moment of our death, we are purified and forgiven. The testing in 1 Corinthians 3:14–15 could be instantaneous. I don’t see any evidence in the Bible that souls actually exist after death in a state of existence that is neither heaven nor hell.

    CATHOLIC: The Church doesn’t exclude the possibility that purgatory could be an instantaneous purification, but there are indications in the Bible that souls do exist in some state that is neither heaven nor hell. Look at 1 Peter 3:19–20. These verses show Jesus preaching to “to the spirits in prison.” The “prison” cannot be heaven, because the people there do not need to have the Gospel preached to them. It cannot be hell, because the souls in hell cannot repent. It must be something else. As you can see, there is nothing unbiblical about the claim that those who have died might not immediately go to heaven or to hell.

    OBJECTOR: Even if the passages you cite do refer to some state other than heaven or hell, this doesn’t automatically imply purgatory, because the “spirits in prison” died before Christ’s sacrifice opened the way to heaven. The condition in 1 Peter is not necessarily the same as purgatory.

    CATHOLIC: It is certainly possible that the state mentioned here, often called “the limbo of the fathers,” is a state other than that of purgatory, but at least we’ve established that there is nothing contrary to Scripture in asserting that those who have died can be in a temporary state other than heaven or hell.

    OBJECTOR: Well, I can understand why people who died before Christ might have been in a state other than heaven or hell, but the idea of purgatory seems inconsistent with the love of God. If God really loves us, why would he want us to go to purgatory and suffer for our sins?

    CATHOLIC: On the contrary, the idea of purgatory, when properly understood, is entirely consistent with the love of God. God wants us to be perfect (cf. Matt. 5:48). If we are not perfected by the time we die, we will be perfected in purgatory. He loves us too much to allow us to be less than what he created us to be. Purgatory is not about an angry God inflicting punishment upon his creatures. It is about a loving Father who “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).

  32. Paul says:

    Veneration / Honor of the Saints

    Matt. 18:10 – the angels in heaven always behold the face of God. We venerate them for their great dignity and union with God.

    Matt. 15:4; Luke 18:20; Eph. 6:2-3 Exodus 20:12; Lev. 19:3; Deut. 5:16 – we are instructed to honor our father and mother.

    Luke 1:28 – the angel Gabriel venerates Mary by declaring to her “Hail, full of grace.” The heavenly angel honors the human Mary, for her perfection of grace exceeds that of the angels.

    Romans 13:7 – we are to give honor where honor is due. When we honor God’s children, we honor God Himself, for He is the source of all honor.

    1 Cor. 4:16 – the most important form of veneration of the saints is “imitating” the saints, as Paul commands us to do.

    1 Cor. 11:1 – again, Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” The ultimate objective of veneration is imitation.

    Phil. 2:25-29 – Paul teaches us to honor Epaprhoditus who almost died for the faith. How much more honor is owed to the saints that did die for the faith!

    Phil. 3:17 – Paul says to imitate him and others, which is the goal of veneration. Veneration is not worship.

    1 Thess. 1:6 – Paul says to the Thessalonians, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord.” This is the goal of veneration.

    2 Thess. 3:7 – Paul says that the Thessalonians should imitate him and the other bishops.

    Hebrews 3:3 – Jesus is worthy of “more” glory and honor than Moses. This does not mean that the saints are worthy of no glory and honor. Instead, it proves that saintly people are worthy of glory and honor out of God’s goodness.

    Heb. 6:12 – the author teaches us to be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

    Heb. 13:7 – we must imitate the faith of our faithful leaders. We ask for their intercession and venerate them for their holiness.

    James 5:10-11 – James teaches us to take heart in the examples of the prophets and Job, who endured suffering.

    1 Peter 2:17 – Peter teaches us to honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the emperor. Don’t those living with Christ in heaven deserve honor? Catholics believe they do, and honor them with special feast days, just as we honor those living by celebrating their birthdays.

    Gen. 19:1 – Lot venerates the two angels in Sodom, bowing himself with his face to the ground.

    Gen. 42:6 – Joseph’s brothers bow before Joseph with the face to the ground. This is veneration, not worship.

    Exodus 28:2 – it is especially important to honor religious leaders. Sacred garments for Aaron give him dignity and honor.

    Lev. 19:32- we should also honor “the face of an old man.” When the elderly die in Christ, we should continue honoring them, because death does not separate them from us or the love of Christ.

    1 Sam. 28:14 – Saul bows down before Samuel with his face to the ground in veneration.

    2 Chron. 32:33 – Hezekiah was honored at his death. We honor our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    Sir. 44:1-2 – we should praise and give honor to those who the Lord apportioned great glory. It is our family in Christ.

  33. Laura says:

    “I don’t know why I bothered to try reasoning with you anyway.
    It’s obvious poor Laura that you have such a gross misunderstanding of the Catholic Faith that the scales are glued permanently to your eyes.”

    Please Paul, I do not consider myself ‘poor’ so please don’t patronise me or speak down to me.

    I have heard all these ‘reasonings’ before, whether you like it or not I am not ignorant to the teachings of your faith. I once followed them and used the same arguements that you are. I now see the light.

    As you said regarding confession – the Bible tells us to confess to ‘others’ – then why don’t you just confess amongst friends?

    Regarding purgatory, since the Bible refers to our judgment in such a slight way, why does the Catholic church appear to know exactly how and when it works? And how to shorten our time there?? With money!?

    Why has your focus gone so far from Jesus that you spend a higher amount of time ‘honouring’ Mary?? Spend it with your Saviour for crying out loud!

    Luke 1:28 – the angel Gabriel venerates Mary by declaring to her “Hail, full of grace.” The heavenly angel honors the human Mary, for her perfection of grace exceeds that of the angels

    How do we know from this that her grace exceeds that of the angels? I just see that Mary is full of grace – does this say she is sinless? No. Does it says anywhere in the Bible that she remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth? No.

    What we have to ask ourselves is this.. is it wrong to ‘venerate’ saints? And if not, should we focus more on this act, or on Jesus? Therein lies the answer.

    Jesus gave us the best example of the way to live. He didn’t act in a way which would fit the Catholic doctrine. Infact when the disciples said to Him that His mother was waiting outside – He said ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ not ‘Spend hours each day honouring my mother rather than sharing the Good News of the Gospel’

    It all comes down to focus – if something is pointing away from Jesus, or taking our eyes from Him – it is not of God.

  34. Paul says:

    What you say is all well and good. But it’s not enough.

    And you don’t know how much effort or time I put in “honoring” or “venerating” Mary.

    Are you so blind as to think that Catholics don’t know who is #1, spiritually speaking? We love Jesus. We have the most personal relationship with Jesus that is possible. We eat his body and blood. And yes, it’s real. Or I suppose you also ignore John Chapter 6 and 1 Cor 11? The same way you ignore James 2:14-26 when it comes to Sola Fide? Or the same way you ignore 1 Tim 3:15 when it comes to Sola Scirptura?

    It’s very interesting the way “Bible” Christians like to pick and choose what to believe in the Bible.

    I see you are still completely ignoring my challenge to show me a verse telling us we are saved by Faith Alone.

    Based on your logic, I can show you verses that say Baptism saves you. So it must be “Sola Baptism”.

    Based on your logic I can show you verses that say you are saved by following the Commandments. So it must be
    “Sola Commandments”

    Based on your logic, I can show you verses which say you are saved by eating his body and blood, So it must be
    “Sola Eucharist”.

    Catholics use the WHOLE Bible, not just the bits and pieces you decide to read and choose from.

    I’m sorry that someone has brainwashed you so badly that you have left the glorious Church God created in Matt 16:18.

    Apparently you also ignore verses such as this:

    1 Cor 12:28, “Some people God has designated IN THE CHURCH to be, first Apostles, second Prophets, third teachers, then mighty deeds, then gifts of healing, assistance, ……..etc”

    and

    2 Peter 2:1, “there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies…”

    I’m sad that you follow the false teachings of people like Martin Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.

    I pray that you come home, go to confession, and start taking the Eucharist again.

  35. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Paul,

    The Catholic system revolves around popery, not Scripture. The Pope canonizes a doctrine and it becomes law – then they go to the Bible to validate it. Eucharistic adoration is idolatry – just as much as the Catholic version of the communion of saints. If you wish, I will e-mail you a complete debate between Dr. James White (Baptist) and Patrick Madrid (Catholic) on the issue of the communion of saints.

    Moving on, Rome is a false church with a false head who elevates himself above Christ and worships His mother and not Him! I will go home alright…home to the Word of God, and not to confession and the blasphemous Mass…

  36. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    One more thing – try Ephesians 2:8-10 and Galatians 2:14-22 in response to your challenge…

  37. Paul says:

    My friend Douglas,

    I am saddened by your lack of knowledge and your prejudice toward the Catholic Church.

    Here is a good example of your lacking.

    Where is the word: “ALONE” that I challenged you , or anyone on.

    It is not there, yet you seem to think it is. Is it there in your mind’s eye or something?

    Did you not understand plain English?

    Your antiCatholicism is sad to me. Also, I’ve seen that debate and Patrick Madrid blows him out of the water.

  38. Paul says:

    My Friend Douglas,

    Please read John 6 and 1 Cor 11 and tell me how the Eucharist is idolatry when it says plainly and clearly:

    This IS my body, this IS my blood.

    Again, do you not understand such plain language?

    It’s amazing how you can twist the scriptures.

    Please read 2 Peter 3:15-16
    and 2 Peter 1:20.

    You need it.

  39. Paul says:

    My friend Douglas,

    where on earth do you get this idea that the Pope, which means “servant”, elevates himself above God and worships Mary?

    You can’t honestly believe these things.

    We love Mary. I think you do to. Doesn’t the Bible say that all generations shall call her “Blessed”?

    That’s all we do.

    You can’t really believe we are that crazy and stupid as to worship Mary or statues.

    I give you and Laura more credit than that.

  40. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    You make a lot of points so I will begin to post my rebuttal in multiple parts.

    Firstly I have nothing against Catholic people – it’s Catholic doctrine that I despise. Briefly, here are 5 reasons why:

    1. The Pope clearly usurps the Trinity – calls himself the Holy Father when we have but one Father (John 17:11, Matthew 23:9), calls himselfs the Head of the Church when Jesus is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 5:23) and is styled the Vicar of Christ [lit. in place of Christ] when the Holy Spirit is defined as such in Scripture (John 14:26)

    2. The Church re-defines the unique mediatory work of Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 clearly says that there is ONE mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, yet…

    a. Rome claims that in her masses she can repeat the sacrifice of the cross and change the wafer and wine into the very body and very blood of Christ. She claims that she perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross (Eucharisticum Mysterium, Intro. C, 1). Again, “In the sacrifice of the Mass our Lord is immolated” [killed as a victim] (Ibid, C, 2). HOWEVER Scripture teaches that Jesus’ sacrifice was to be performed ONCE for all time – John 19:30, Hebrews 9:25-26; 10:12

    b. Rome has elevated Mary to the place of mediation. John Paul II states that “in Mary is effected the reconciliation of God with humanity” (On Reconciliation and Penance. St. Paul Editions, p. 139), which is an open attack on the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ

    3. Rome refuses to believe in the sole authority of the Bible. She has consciously added the Deuterocanonicals to the canon, refused the common man the right to read and interpret Scripture with the guidance of the Spirit and made tradition a co-arbiter on the truth.

    4. Rome has rejected the Biblical understanding of repentance and replaced with a pagan concept of repentance. John Paul II states “It would be foolish and presumptuous … to claim to receive forgiveness while doing without the sacrament” of penance (On Reconciliation and Penance p.115).

    He further insists that the individual confession to a priest to receive absolution from him “constitutes the only ordinary way in which the faithful who are conscious of serious sin are reconciled to God” (Ibid, p.132).

    The Bible shows us that the way to true remission of sins is clearly contrary to that of the way of Popes, earthly priests, absolutions, and penances:

    Ezra 10:11 “Make confession unto the Lord God.”

    Psalm 32:5 “I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”

    Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    The Lord Jesus never put any earthly priest or Pope between Himself and the sinner.

    5. Rome has anathematized the Bible’s own teaching on salvation:

    “If any man says that it is by the righteousness of Christ itself that men are formally justified – let him be accursed” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Canon 10).

    “Sins must be expiated. This must be done in this earth through the sorrows, miseries, and trials of this life and above all through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments of purifying punishments” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina, I para. 2).”

    Rome thereby removes all assurances a sinner may hope to receive of their eternal salvation. However, the Bible paints for us a very different picture in which “the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

    1 Corinthians 1:30 “Jesus Christ is made unto us … righteousness.”

    Romans 5:18 “By the obedience of one (Our Lord Himself) shall many be made righteous.”

    1 John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

    Purgatory is not found in the Bible. There is no future wrath for justified sinners.

    Romans 5:9 “Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

    You can be saved now and have full assurance of faith in the certainty that you know you have eternal life. You require no priest but Christ alone (Hebrews 4:15). You require no sacrifice but Christ alone (1 John 1:7). You require no mediator but Christ alone (1 Timothy 2:5).

    The Pope’s “bad news” points you to Purgatory – a non-existent place! The Lord Jesus Christ’s good news (or gospel) points you to Paradise by simple faith in Himself. Good news indeed!

    Remember what Peter said in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

    On that basis, I take extreme issues with the teaching of Rome…

  41. Paul says:

    My friend Douglas,

    You seem to not read anything I write.
    If you do read it, then you are not on a serious search for the truth. I have explained each belief in simple terms and you ignore each thing.

    I’ll give you another simple example.

    You claim Purgatory is not Biblical, (I guess you didn’t read the explanation about it above).

    Do you believe in the Trinity?

    Please show me the word: TRINITY in the Bible. What verse is that?

    It’s NOT in there. Therefore, according to YOU – the Trinity is not any more Biblical than Purgatory.

    Please explain.

  42. Paul says:

    My friend Douglas,

    What Church/Denomination do you belong to?

    Is there a “leader” or “head” of your church?

    If he dies, is there a process for replacing him?

    You don’t seem to give God much credit for being smart enough to give MAN a method, on Earth, for doing things in a HUMAN way.

    He gave us Peter, the Popes, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons to assist us HERE on earth.

    Of course we are confessing to God, but God gave us Priests to stand, in his stead here, to give us that HUMAN level of communication.

    Jesus gave us the bread and wine, in the Eucharist, containing his body/blood/soul/and divinity, so we could HUMANLY remain in touch with him.

    You obviously don’t read or understand your Bible my friend.
    You are one of the poor ignorant (NOT stupid), souls who twists scripture to his own destruction.

    You claim the bread and wine is NOT his body and blood.
    What does Paul say?

    1 Cor 11:

    26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

    27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

    28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

    29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

    Do you have any concept of what Paul is saying here? If you do NOT recognize that it IS the real BODY and BLOOD of JESUS, you bring JUDGMENT upon yourself !

    I will pray for you my friend.

    I will move on now and pray the scales fall from your eyes.

  43. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Moving on from that to your discussion of the Eucharist…

    Are we to literally take those passages regarding the nature of the Communion table? That would contradict the teaching of Scripture that we abstain from blood! Are we now cannibals in the house of God??? I would think not.

    There is such a thing as symbolic language in Scripture…

  44. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    This is getting nowhere, so I will concede defeat and go back to my deceived Reformed lifestyle since all you do is rehash the same passages over and over and over again…

  45. Alan Higgins says:

    I agree with Doug. The discussion seems to be going into many different directions so as to go off point. All I can say Paul is that for your sake, I pray that you are not relying on your works or ‘helping Christ out’ with the work he did on the cross

  46. Paul says:

    My friends, Alan and Douglas,

    Nowhere in scripture does it say anything about his body and blood being “Symbolic”.

    How can “This IS my body” be “symbolic”?

    That’s not logical.

    Douglas: Cannibalism? You’re kidding right? This is Jesus talking to us. God ! In case you don’t know it, he is the LAMB, the LAMB of the Passover feast.

    Alan,
    Have you not read anything at all that I wrote about
    Faith + Works?

    It’s not Faith ALONE
    It’s not Works ALONE

    It’s Faith + Works, all of it through GRACE !

    Of course Christ’s work is over in dying for us.

    And we DON’T recrucify him at Mass, We re-PRESENT his body and blood which he left with us always until he returns.

  47. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    This is my last post on this before I delete the comments feed out of my Outlook but this has to be said – how do you re-PRESENT

  48. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    This is my last post on this before I delete the comments feed out of my Outlook but this has to be said – how do you re-PRESENT the blood and body of Christ when He already stands before the Father? See the illogical nature of Catholicism?

    Paul, you have a passion for God – I can only pray that the God of Scripture reveals Himself to you through the pages of His holy Word…

  49. Paul says:

    My friend Douglas,

    I wish I could make you understand. I don’t have that power. God is God. He has the power, since he is risen, he is alive, to leave his body and blood with us. That is why he tells us to eat his body and blood.

    Anyway,

    You do not need to “concede defeat” my friend.

    We are not here to WIN Arguments. We are on a search for TRUTH.

    God reveals himself to me through scripture daily.

    Catholics are “Bible People” ! We gave the Bible to the World !

    Peace

  50. Paul says:

    Douglas,

    Here is an example of the Truth that God reveals to me through scripture, the Word of God:

    James 2:24 – “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

    Here is another Truth God has revealed:

    If Faith ALONE is what we need to be saved, why does
    1 Cor 13:13 say this?

    “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.”

    Why isn’t FAITH the greatest of these three?

    You see my friend, Catholic teaching can be summed up in Galatians 5:6 –

    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but FAITH WORKING through LOVE.

    Peace my friend

  51. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    OK, hold up! Didn’t “Holy Mother Church” ban the Bible from public use until after the Reformation? Man, I want to ignore this, but you keep digging a larger hole for yourself…

  52. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Catholics aren’t Bible people – PROTESTANTS ARE…

  53. Laura says:

    OK, hold up! Didn’t “Holy Mother Church” ban the Bible from public use until after the Reformation? – Yes they did! But I’m sure Paul will say that since the more modern Pope is apparently ‘infallible’ they did it for the sake of the believer perhaps!?!

    My last question. Does infallible line up with sinless? I reckon it pretty much must in this circumstance. Isn’t that blasphemous? Since we all know that Jesus is the only sinless one, and surely that would mean the Popes don’t need a Saviour….!?

  54. Paul says:

    My gosh, I don’t know where you people get this stuff.

    Let me give you a little history.

    Christ ——–> Approx 380 – 400, NO Bible, ALL ORAL Tradition.

    400 —- 1440’s,,,,,,,,Hand written Bibles, which took YEARS for Catholic monks to painstakingly write after the CATHOLIC Church decided which books belonged in the Bible.

    Bibles were Chained in Churches so EVERYONE could come and read them and they wouldn’t be stolen.

    1400’s —Printing Press invented – Bibles available for all who could read and afford one.

    1517 — Martin Luther breaks from the Catholic Church and invents False Doctrines like Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide,
    giving us 30,000 different denominations today, all interpreting the Bible differently.

    The Pope? Doesn’t need a saviour? You’re kidding right?

    Popes are human, sinful, men and put their pants on one leg at a time. The ONLY time the Pope is infallible, which does NOT mean perfect or sinless,,,it means he can’t speak in error, is when he is speaking on the narrow issue of Faith and Morals and even then, only making a formal declaration from the Chair of Peter.

    You folks really have some strange, wrong, inaccurate beliefs.

    Let’s get real here.

    And I notice you continually IGNORE the scriptures I give you like James 2:24.

    Why is that?

  55. Alan Higgins says:

    As stated before, if you look at the context and also interpret in view of the whole of scripture, good works are not a REQUIREMENT of salvation,but EVIDENCE of it. That’s why Eph 2:8-9 says that it is NOT OF WORKS lest any man should boast or in simple terms, in case that anybody thinks that their good works has helped them get to heaven but to be honest I think we will have to agree to disagree on this so lets keep the topic specific and talk about the Pope not speaking error. Who decides this? God? Did this current Pope speak error before the previous one died?

  56. Paul says:

    The Catholic Church’s teaching on papal infallibility is one which is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other “Bible Christians” often confuse the charism of papal “infallibility” with “impeccability.” They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.

    Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true. We have this from Jesus himself, who promised the apostles and their successors the bishops, the magisterium of the Church: “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16), and “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matt. 18:18).

    Infallibility belongs in a special way to the pope as head of the bishops (Matt. 16:17–19; John 21:15–17). As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope “enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter.”

    The infallibility of the pope is not a doctrine that suddenly appeared in Church teaching; rather, it is a doctrine which was implicit in the early Church. It is only our understanding of infallibility which has developed and been more clearly understood over time. In fact, the doctrine of infallibility is implicit in these Petrine texts: John 21:15–17 (“Feed my sheep . . . “), Luke 22:32 (“I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail”), and Matthew 16:18 (“You are Peter . . . “).

    Based on Christ’s Mandate

    Christ instructed the Church to preach everything he taught (Matt. 28:19–20) and promised the protection of the Holy Spirit to “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). That mandate and that promise guarantee the Church will never fall away from his teachings (Matt. 16:18, 1 Tim. 3:15), even if individual Catholics might.

    As Christians began to more clearly understand the teaching authority of the Church and of the primacy of the pope, they developed a clearer understanding of the pope’s infallibility. This development of the faithful’s understanding has its clear beginnings in the early Church. For example, Cyprian of Carthage, writing about 256, put the question this way, “Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?” (Letters 59 [55], 14). In the fifth century, Augustine succinctly captured the ancient attitude when he remarked, “Rome has spoken; the case is concluded” (Sermons 131, 10).

    Some Clarifications

    An infallible pronouncement—whether made by the pope alone or by an ecumenical council—usually is made only when some doctrine has been called into question. Most doctrines have never been doubted by the large majority of Catholics.

    Pick up a catechism and look at the great number of doctrines, most of which have never been formally defined. But many points have been defined, and not just by the pope alone. There are, in fact, many major topics on which it would be impossible for a pope to make an infallible definition without duplicating one or more infallible pronouncements from ecumenical councils or the ordinary magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church.

    At least the outline, if not the references, of the preceding paragraphs should be familiar to literate Catholics, to whom this subject should appear straightforward. It is a different story with “Bible Christians.” For them papal infallibility often seems a muddle because their idea of what it encompasses is often incorrect.

    Some ask how popes can be infallible if some of them lived scandalously. This objection of course, illustrates the common confusion between infallibility and impeccability. There is no guarantee that popes won’t sin or give bad example. (The truly remarkable thing is the great degree of sanctity found in the papacy throughout history; the “bad popes” stand out precisely because they are so rare.)

    Other people wonder how infallibility could exist if some popes disagreed with others. This, too, shows an inaccurate understanding of infallibility, which applies only to solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, not to disciplinary decisions or even to unofficial comments on faith and morals. A pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching.

    Even Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who do not have these common misunderstandings often think infallibility means that popes are given some special grace that allows them to teach positively whatever truths need to be known, but that is not quite correct, either. Infallibility is not a substitute for theological study on the part of the pope.

    What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as “truth” something that is, in fact, error. It does not help him know what is true, nor does it “inspire” him to teach what is true. He has to learn the truth the way we all do—through study—though, to be sure, he has certain advantages because of his position.

    Peter Not Infallible?

    As a biblical example of papal fallibility, Fundamentalists like to point to Peter’s conduct at Antioch, where he refused to eat with Gentile Christians in order not to offend certain Jews from Palestine (Gal. 2:11–16). For this Paul rebuked him. Did this demonstrate papal infallibility was non-existent? Not at all. Peter’s actions had to do with matters of discipline, not with issues of faith or morals.

    Furthermore, the problem was Peter’s actions, not his teaching. Paul acknowledged that Peter very well knew the correct teaching (Gal. 2:12–13). The problem was that he wasn’t living up to his own teaching. Thus, in this instance, Peter was not doing any teaching; much less was he solemnly defining a matter of faith or morals.

    Fundamentalists must also acknowledge that Peter did have some kind of infallibility—they cannot deny that he wrote two infallible epistles of the New Testament while under protection against writing error. So, if his behavior at Antioch was not incompatible with this kind of infallibility, neither is bad behavior contrary to papal infallibility in general.

    Turning to history, critics of the Church cite certain “errors of the popes.” Their argument is really reduced to three cases, those of Popes Liberius, Vigilius, and Honorius, the three cases to which all opponents of papal infallibility turn; because they are the only cases that do not collapse as soon as they are mentioned. There is no point in giving the details here—any good history of the Church will supply the facts—but it is enough to note that none of the cases meet the requirements outlined by the description of papal infallibility given at Vatican I (cf. Pastor Aeternus 4).

    Their “Favorite Case”

    According to Fundamentalist commentators, their best case lies with Pope Honorius. They say he specifically taught Monothelitism, a heresy that held that Christ had only one will (a divine one), not two wills (a divine one and a human one) as all orthodox Christians hold.

    But that’s not at all what Honorius did. Even a quick review of the records shows he simply decided not to make a decision at all. As Ronald Knox explained, “To the best of his human wisdom, he thought the controversy ought to be left unsettled, for the greater peace of the Church. In fact, he was an inopportunist. We, wise after the event, say that he was wrong. But nobody, I think, has ever claimed that the pope is infallible in not defining a doctrine.”

    Knox wrote to Arnold Lunn (a future convert who would become a great apologist for the faith—their correspondence is found in the book Difficulties): “Has it ever occurred to you how few are the alleged ‘failures of infallibility’? I mean, if somebody propounded in your presence the thesis that all the kings of England have been impeccable, you would not find yourself murmuring, ‘Oh, well, people said rather unpleasant things about Jane Shore . . . and the best historians seem to think that Charles II spent too much of his time with Nell Gwynn.’ Here have these popes been, fulminating anathema after anathema for centuries—certain in all human probability to contradict themselves or one another over again. Instead of which you get this measly crop of two or three alleged failures!” While Knox’s observation does not establish the truth of papal infallibility, it does show that the historical argument against infallibility is weak.

    The rejection of papal infallibility by “Bible Christians” stems from their view of the Church. They do not think Christ established a visible Church, which means they do not believe in a hierarchy of bishops headed by the pope.

    This is no place to give an elaborate demonstration of the establishment of a visible Church. But it is simple enough to point out that the New Testament shows the apostles setting up, after their Master’s instructions, a visible organization, and that every Christian writer in the early centuries—in fact, nearly all Christians until the Reformation—fully recognized that Christ set up an ongoing organization.

    One example of this ancient belief comes to us from Ignatius of Antioch. In his second-century letter to the church in Smyrna, he wrote, “Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8, 1 [A.D. 110]).

    If Christ did set up such an organization, he must have provided for its continuation, for its easy identification (that is, it had to be visible so it could be found), and, since he would be gone from earth, for some method by which it could preserve his teachings intact.

    All this was accomplished through the apostolic succession of bishops, and the preservation of the Christian message, in its fullness, was guaranteed through the gift of infallibility, of the Church as a whole, but mainly through its Christ-appointed leaders, the bishops (as a whole) and the pope (as an individual).

    It is the Holy Spirit who prevents the pope from officially teaching error, and this charism follows necessarily from the existence of the Church itself. If, as Christ promised, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church then it must be protected from fundamentally falling into error and thus away from Christ. It must prove itself to be a perfectly steady guide in matters pertaining to salvation.

    Of course, infallibility does not include a guarantee that any particular pope won’t “neglect” to teach the truth, or that he will be sinless, or that mere disciplinary decisions will be intelligently made. It would be nice if he were omniscient or impeccable, but his not being so will fail to bring about the destruction of the Church.

    But he must be able to teach rightly, since instruction for the sake of salvation is a primary function of the Church. For men to be saved, they must know what is to be believed. They must have a perfectly steady rock to build upon and to trust as the source of solemn Christian teaching. And that’s why papal infallibility exists.

    Since Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church (Matt. 16:18b), this means that his Church can never pass out of existence. But if the Church ever apostasized by teaching heresy, then it would cease to exist; because it would cease to be Jesus’ Church. Thus the Church cannot teach heresy, meaning that anything it solemnly defines for the faithful to believe is true. This same reality is reflected in the Apostle Paul’s statement that the Church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). If the Church is the foundation of religious truth in this world, then it is God’s own spokesman. As Christ told his disciples: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

  57. Paul says:

    Alan,
    Eph 2:8,9 is a great verse,,,ever read 10?

    Every verse in the New Testament dealing with Judgment talk about what you have DONE or failed to DO, NOT how much FAITH you have.

    Try Romans 2:6-8 for example:

    “…he will repay every man for what he has DONE, eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor and immortality by patiently doing right. Wrath and fury for those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness”

    How about 2 Cor 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat,,,,so that each one may receive recompense, according to WHAT HE DID in the body, whether good or evil.

    Faith ALONE is not enough my friend. You cannot show otherwise.

    Faith + Works

  58. Laura says:

    “The rejection of papal infallibility by “Bible Christians”” – I would be proud to be called a ‘Bible Christian’ … what are you guys!?

    “Eph 2:8,9 is a great verse,,,ever read 10?” – Yes, I quoted it earlier INCLUDING berse 10 which you have twisted to fit your corrupt doctrine.

    ““…he will repay every man for what he has DONE, eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor and immortality by patiently doing right. Wrath and fury for those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness”” – Amen! I’m sure anyone ‘selfishly disobeying the truth’ was never truely saved! One who accepts their salvation begins an inward transformation.

  59. Paul says:

    Laura,

    I repeat, why all this hostility?

    “Corrupt Doctrine” ?

    You have a bad, unChristian attitude, it seems like.

    Let me ask you this, Do you believe that each one of us can read and interpret the Bible, guided by the Holy Spirit and be led to all truth?

    I’m guessing you would say “Yes”.

    Well then, what I have written in all these posts, is MY interpretation.

    Are you saying YOUR interpretation is RIGHT and MINE is WRONG? How can that be, if we each are able to read and interpret the Bible ourselves? Or do you believe that only people who AGREE with YOU, can read and interpret themselves?

    If you do, then you are a Hypocrite.

    You can disagree with Catholic teaching all day long.

    But you CANNOT say we are WRONG. We merely interpret it differently than you.

    Otherwise you are lying to yourself and everyone else.

  60. Paul says:

    Laura,
    By the way, Catholics are the original “Bible Christians” since Catholics wrote, assembled, and gave the Bible you read to the world.

  61. Laura says:

    “By the way, Catholics are the original “Bible Christians” since Catholics wrote, assembled, and gave the Bible you read to the world.” – well stop throwing the phrase around as if it’s some kind of abusive tag then, first you use it to ‘name call’ and then claim it back for yourself? Choose one!?!

    Your Pope interprets the Bible differently to me. I don’t reckon if you all seperately read it cover to cover you’d come up with the same guidelines that the papacy chose to create. So in a way I’m saying yes, I agree with you in the fact that we could infact all interpret the Bible differently if we weren’t asking God for guidance and taking the book as a whole rather than basing our whole faith on a couple of select verses. Anyone in a true relationship with Jesus Christ will have His guidance on the Word.

    In the example of the Bereans, if someone – anyone infact, taught me something which was in conflict with the Gospel of Jesus Christ I would refute it, regardless of who they are. I don’t think there are many ways in which you could ‘interpret’ the Gospel message. It’s pretty basic and self explanatory. You either believe and accept Christ died as the ultimate sacrifice so that your sins maybe forgiven, or you don’t. It’s pretty black and white, to me anyway.

    The Lord will guide us all ‘in Spirit and in truth’ – let us follow His guidance and be careful to submit to manmade doctrines and ceremony.

  62. Paul says:

    Laura,

    “…..manmade doctrines”

    Let’s start with Fola Scriptura and Sola Fide, which is what we were talking about to begin with.

    They did not exist prior to 1517 and Martin Luther.

    They are manmade doctrines.

    So you can begin by abandoning them.

    The Pope and Bishops of my Church can trace their line of succession directly back to the Apostles.

    Can your Church leaders do that?

    Jesus gave the Apostles all power on earth that he had.
    He told them to pass it on.

    Have you ever read Luke 10:16?

    ” Anyone who listens to you listens to Me, and anyone who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

    Your fallible interpretation has led you astray.

    Read 2 Peter 1:20, “know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation”

    I can’t figure out why you ignore the plain language of the Bible you claim to believe.

  63. Paul says:

    Jesus’ commandment to the Apostles at the end of Matthew’s Gospel logically assumes the necessity of Sacred Tradition:

    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20)

    Jesus didn’t tell the apostles to write down everything he had taught them. He simply commanded them to teach it. Much of this teaching later made its way into Sacred Scripture, but every bit of it was and still is considered Sacred Tradition.

  64. Paul says:

    Interestingly, a closer look at Acts 17:11 reveals that the people of Berea were not sola scriptura adherents at all. In actuality, they were primarily Jews converting to Christianity through Paul’s use of Sacred Tradition. Here’s the verse within its fuller context:

    The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews 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. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12)

    Luke’s words commend the Bereans for being more noble than the Thessalonians because they eagerly received “the word.” They also examined the scriptures to see if the word was true. So just who were the Bereans? What was “the word” they received and what scriptures did they examine?

    Before the New Testament

    The Bereans, we’re told, were mainly Jews (and some Greeks), not Christians, and they even had a Jewish synagogue. The word they received was Paul’s teaching about Jesus?that same teaching which he sums up in his first letter to the Corinthians, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). The scriptures mentioned here by Paul are the same scriptures which the Bereans examined?the Old Testament scriptures. These were the only scriptures of the day, as no New Testament Scripture existed at the time. Most of the New Testament had not yet been written and what had been written had not yet been canonized so as to attain the status of Scripture. What we see here is a group of people being taught about Christianity by Paul prior to the existence of the New Testament. They eagerly listened to Paul while examining the Old Testament Scripture.

    This all makes sense when we understand this event in its historical context. The event occurred during Paul’s second missionary journey. On his journeys Paul taught the good news of Christianity as Jesus had commissioned him to do. As a Jewish convert to Christianity himself, he knew Jewish Scripture well and he knew that it prophesied about Jesus. He undoubtedly explained this Scripture to enlighten other Jews about the truth of Christianity. These Jews would have to examine their Old Testament Scripture to see if what Paul was saying made sense. It did, and many Jews, including some of the Bereans, became Christians.

  65. Laura says:

    “The Pope and Bishops of my Church can trace their line of succession directly back to the Apostles.” – Yes, and I’m directly related to Noah! The whole basis on the papacy relies on the fact that Peter was a Pope, and unfortunately for you, nothing in the Bible, or in history points towards that being true.

    I think you need to remember also Paul that the Lord created Adam and Eve first, they sinned and were thrown out of the garden of Eden. Regardless of how ‘old’ your faith or tradition, it can be evil from the core, from day one.

  66. Paul says:

    Laura,
    My poor , misinformed friend, I think I finally figured out your problem. You have never encountered a Catholic who answers your problems and objections and who has shown you how wrong you are in your beliefs about what Catholics really believe.

    You keep harping on “The Pope”, who is merely the head of my Church, and I can prove that Jesus left us the Apostles and the “Office of Bishop” to be continued through the generations to aid us here on earth. You just refuse to believe it because of your preconceived notions about Catholicism.

    I don’t think you have ever spoken to a Catholic before who knows what he is talking about.

    That’s why you won’t answer about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

    They are the 2 Main pillars of Protestantism, but they were created by Martin Luther 1500 years after Christ.

    I understand it must be very very hard for you to face the truth.

  67. Paul says:

    OBJECTOR: Doesn’t the Catholic Church believe in the idea of apostolic succession? I find no evidence in the Bible for such an idea.

    CATHOLIC: Yes, the Catholic Church does believe that the New Testament teaches the concept of apostolic succession, and it is not the only church today that espouses such a doctrine. For example, the Orthodox churches believe in apostolic succession, as do some forms of Episcopalianism and Lutheranism. But tell me first what you understand by this term.

    OBJECTOR: Apostolic succession, as I understand it, is the idea that bishops today are successors or descendants of the apostles whom Jesus appointed to go into all the world and preach the gospel. It supposes that the original apostles ordained men as bishops, who in turn ordained others, and that this process continues today.

    CATHOLIC: You have the basic idea down correctly, although I would refrain from using the word descendants, because the bishops, who are successors of the apostles, are not physical descendants of the apostles. They are and were men chosen from among the members of the Church to lead the flock as shepherds. These bishops are the primary pastors of the Church.

    Priests (presbyters), who are ordained by the bishops, are their assistants in ministry. They have valid orders because they are connected to the original apostles through their bishops’ succession. In a secondary sense, they too have apostolic succession. This implies that the local Church is not the individual parish but the diocese of which the bishop is pastor.

    Why is this idea objectionable?

    OBJECTOR: The hierarchical structure that you outline is not in the Bible. Jesus gave us his teachings through the apostles. They handed on that teaching to the next generation, but they themselves died off toward the end of the first century. The only “apostolic succession” in the Bible is a handing on of the truth that Jesus taught. For example, Paul says, “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you” (1 Cor. 11:23). And Jude speaks about “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” in Jude 3. These are the truths contained in the New Testament.

    CATHOLIC: We agree that the apostolic ministry handed on the teachings of Christ. Paul as a faithful servant taught the truth of Jesus Christ, but we Catholics contend that what was passed on was not teaching only. He and the other apostles passed on the office of shepherd for the Church. The function of a bishop is to teach Christ’s gospel and shepherd the Church of a local diocese. This was intended by Christ and faithfully transmitted by the original apostles.

    OBJECTOR: Unwarranted additions like this crop up from time to time in the Catholic Church, but they are not in Scripture.

    CATHOLIC: Let me see if I understand you. You believe that Jesus passed on his teachings to the apostles and then they passed them on to successive generations of Christians? If so, why couldn’t Jesus also have passed on duties or office to the apostles?

    OBJECTOR: He appointed the apostles as the foundation of the Church, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:20, but he did not mean for the office of apostle to continue after their deaths. There is simply no evidence in the New Testament to suggest that the office of the apostle was meant to be continued.

    CATHOLIC: Apostolic succession means that the authority of the apostles was passed on to the early bishops of the Church. You say this is not biblical? I presume that you mean that the early Church had no bishops that were considered successors of the apostles.

    OBJECTOR: That would be one consequence my position. There were pastors in the early Church, of course, but they were not bishops and definitely were not considered as authoritative as the apostles.

    CATHOLIC: I have evidence that that isn’t true. One witness to the structure of the early Church is St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose seven authentic letters are dated no later than A.D. 117 or 118, so he must have known some of the apostles themselves, as Antioch was a center of missionary activity frequented by Paul in Acts 11:26–30 and 13:1–3. Ignatius says, “It is fitting in every way . . . that you be knit together in a unified submission, subject to the bishop and presbytery that you may be completely sanctified” (Letter to Ephesians 2:2). Again he says of the Church, “Jesus Christ . . . is the will of the Father, just as the bishops, who are appointed in every land, are the will of Jesus Christ. So it is proper for you to be in harmony with the will of the bishop” (ibid., 3:2–4:1). He also wrote, “It is clear that one should see the bishop as the Lord himself” (ibid., 6:1). These quotes show first that Ignatius considered the bishops of the Church to be the “will of God” (i.e., their office was appointed by God) and second that obedience to the bishop was considered obedience to God himself. In some sense, the bishop represented God in the same way that the apostles did.

    OBJECTOR: But Ignatius may be expressing only his own view, not one widely shared among the early leaders of the Church. And further, Ignatius is not Scripture.

    CATHOLIC: The idea that Ignatius expressed only his own views is common among modern readers. Today, people tend to read these ancient views atomistically and individualistically. But that is not how ancient Church leaders functioned. They almost always sought to express the faith held in common rather than their own views. You see the importance of this continuity in St. Irenaeus of Lyons (second century): “We can enumerate those who were appointed by the apostles as bishops in the churches as their successors even to our time” (Against Heresies 3.1). And in the next section, Irenaeus begins to list the successors of Peter at Rome with these words: “But since it would be too long, in a work like this, to list the successions in all the churches, we shall take only one of them, the church that is greatest, most ancient, and known to all, founded and set up by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul at Rome while showing that the tradition and the faith it proclaims to men comes down through the successions of the bishops even to us” (ibid., 3.2).

    OBJECTOR: These early leaders, while venerable, are not the same as Scripture.

    CATHOLIC: But they are expressing a tradition that we see in Scripture. In Paul’s teaching, we hear him saying, “what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). Paul envisions four generations of succession here: (1) Paul, (2) Timothy, (3) others taught by Timothy, and (4) others taught by Timothy’s hearers.

    OBJECTOR: But that verse just confirms my point. Paul is telling Timothy to teach what he heard, not to ordain others.

    CATHOLIC: You’re placing an either/or where there should be a both/and. Yes, Paul is telling Timothy to transmit the teaching he has given to him, but he also is saying that this teaching should be committed to faithful men. Both the teaching and the men are important. And it is clear from Titus 1:5 that Paul wanted Timothy and Titus to ordain other men as presbyters (priests) and bishops.

    OBJECTOR: But this does not mean that these men were going to have the same authority as Paul the apostle.

    CATHOLIC: In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul teaches that there is continuity between himself and successive generations. This was envisioned by Jesus himself when he told his original apostles, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21). That same authority is expressed in Matthew 10:1: “He called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.” These texts suggest that Jesus gave his authority to the apostles—the same authority that he had from the Father. What good would that authority be for the successive generations of the Church if it was not passed on, as 2 Timothy 2:2 seems to suggest?

    OBJECTOR: We agree that Jesus gave his authority to the apostles, but we disagree that it was passed on to others. Or, maybe I should say that the authority lies in the teaching, not in the office.

    CATHOLIC: I find that contradicts Acts 1:15–26. There we read about the election of Matthias as Judas’s successor. If you read this passage carefully, you will see that it shows that there was an apostolic college that had to be passed on through ordination. The whole point of the election is that there was a position (or office) vacated by Judas. In verse 16, Peter considers Judas’s betrayal as a fulfillment of Old Testament prediction. And he also quotes from the Greek Septuagint translation of Psalm 109:8 (Psalm 108:8 in the Septuagint numbering) to show that filling the office was foreseen in Scripture. Verse 20 reads, “His office let another take.” The word translated “office” is episkope, which in New Testament language means “episcopal office” (see 1 Tim. 3:1).

    OBJECTOR: This is all very interesting, but all it shows is that Judas’s office had to be filled, not that the apostolic office was passed on after the original apostles died. If you look at Acts 1:21–22, you will see that the man to be chosen had to be an eyewitness to Jesus’ Resurrection. That can’t be said of “the successors of apostles.”

    CATHOLIC: Obviously! That requirement could not last forever, but the passage shows that the office of overseer had to be filled. If we didn’t have other indicators in the New Testament about the office of bishop, your point would be valid. But when we put Acts 1:15–26 in conjunction with the instructions in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus about ordaining men to the office of bishop (i.e., episkope), we must conclude that the office of bishop was intended to continue after the apostles’ deaths.

  68. Laura says:

    “Laura,
    My poor , misinformed friend, I think I finally figured out your problem. You have never encountered a Catholic who answers your problems and objections and who has shown you how wrong you are in your beliefs about what Catholics really believe.” – I’m not sure I like your tone Paul, are you sure you’re speaking in love?

    “preconceived notions about Catholicism” – it is what it is Paul, I’m not making it anymore or any less, just stating facts.

    “That’s why you won’t answer about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide” – I have answered. Twice. So either you didn’t bother thoroughly reading my posts or you chose to ignore them.

    “I understand it must be very very hard for you to face the truth” – once again, speaking out of love? Or is this fruit of anger?

    I really don’t think there’s much point continuing this thread and as we can see from above it’s gotten to calling names, scoring points, sarcasm and anger, none of which any of us should be displaying as ‘true followers’ of the Lord. I think it’s best for all parties involved to call it a day before anyone says something they may later regret.

    Have a good day guys!

    Laura.

  69. Paul says:

    Sorry Laura,
    That won’t fly. You began this whole dialog with hostility toward Catholicism and have continued with it all the way through.

    For people who believe in Sola Scriptura, I do not think it is at all unreasonable to ask that what they believe say so EXPLICITLY, since that is what they claim to believe.

    The Bible says we are saved by Faith. AMEN !
    It does NOT say we are saved by Faith ALONE.

    The Bible says it is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, etc. AMEN !
    It does NOT say it is the SOLE rule of Faith.

    If you don’t want to have this dialog anymore, I’m content to move on.

    I only pray the Lord lifts the scales from your eyes and you someday see the real Truth for what it is.

    1 Tim 3:15
    James 2:24
    2 Tim 2:2
    2 Thess 2:15

    If you read these verses and can deny their truth, then maybe you need to pray and think about why you deny them.

  70. Laura says:

    “Sorry Laura,
    That won’t fly. You began this whole dialog with hostility toward Catholicism and have continued with it all the way through.” – I may have been hostile towards a particular thesis, but I will not begin being hostile towards other people, especially not other Christians.

    Yes. Lets move on.

  71. Paul says:

    I’m sorry you feel you cannot continue.

    Someday you may see the light and the truth.

  72. Alan Higgins says:

    I read verse 10 Paul and heres what it says

    “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

    Nothing about us being saved through those good works

  73. Paul says:

    Alan,
    Come on now, use some common sense. He says we are created for good works. They go along with our Faith, as I keep telling you. Faith + Works, NOT Faith OR Works. I’ve never claimed we are saved by works alone.

    And there is no passage, NO passage in the new Testament saying you will be judged by how much “Faith” you have. There are however, multiple passages saying you will be judged by what you DO or fail to DO.

    You have failed, and continue to Fail to show where the Bible tells us we are saved by Faith ALONE.

    And you have faile to show , and continue to Fail, to show where the Bible says it is the SOLE rule of Faith.

  74. Alan Higgins says:

    Well considering I have shown scriptures (which i know you disagree with) which say not by works, that leaves faith alone but I remember now why I decided to not comment anymore because we were going round in circles so I will gracefully (again) bow out of this

  75. Paul says:

    Alan,
    As soon as you explain James 2:24 we could move on.

  76. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Jas 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

    OK, YOU define what the terms justified and works mean and let us work from there…

  77. Paul says:

    Douglas,
    Do not “Justified” and “Saved” mean the same thing to most people, Catholic and NonCatholic?

    To most Christians I know, Catholic and nonCatholic, “works” are what you “DO” in following what Jesus commands you to do – like following the Commandments, Loving one another, forgiving others their trespasses, eating his body and blood (whether you believe it to be real or not), etc.

    How do YOU define these things?

  78. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    You have just clearly demonstrated a lack of contextual understanding. Was Jesus in a state of justifying grace? No – but the Bible says he was “justified” (1 Tim 3:16). You need to determine the meaning based on the context of the Book of James as a whole.

    “Saved” has so meanings in Scripture – look them up before we continue…

  79. Paul says:

    Douglas,

    Let me quote 1 Tim 3:16 to you:

    “Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,
    Who was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated in the spirit,
    seen by angels,
    proclaimed to the gentiles,
    believed in throughout the world,
    taken up in glory”

    I stand by all of the scriptures and arguments I have made, showing you Faith ALONE is not Biblical.

    Neither is the Bible ALONE.

    Some day you may come to see the Fullness of Truth in the Catholic Church my friend.

  80. Paul says:

    I would suggest you read the whole 2nd Chapter of James.
    It’s pretty plain, especially James 2:24.

  81. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    The Greek word translated “vindicated” is “dikaioo” – else translated “justified” throughout the New Testament.

    Please think of this: If salvation is not of faith alone, then what good was the death of Christ? Could we not save ourselves and then add a little faith in our work?

    Salvation by faith gives all the glory to God. If you wish to remain a Catholic, I will leave that to your conscience. I cannot, in good faith, accept a religion that is so pagan in nature that it cannot be called Biblically Christian.

  82. Paul says:

    Douglas,
    It’s sad that you misunderstand the Catholic Church, the Church created by Jesus himself, in Matt 16:18, and have been reduced to name-calling.

    I am sad and pray for you to see the light some day, like Laura.

    I fail to understand why you don’t believe the plain language in the Bible.

    Peace my friend

  83. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Hold on for a minute before we bow out. Jesus said he’d build the church on HIMSELF (petra in the Greek, not petros – Peter). There is no light in the Catholic system, just traditions of men…

  84. Paul says:

    Douglas,

    Just like in James 2, that is YOUR FALLIBLE, interpretation.

    You don’t even know the simple difference between “Traditions of Men”, like Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura, which are Martin Luther’s “Tradition”.,,

    and Apostolic and Sacred Tradition, like your BIBLE which is a Tradition of the Catholic Church which gave it to you. What do you think was taught to people the first 400 years after Christ ascended into heaven?

    ORAL/SACRED/APOSTOLIC Tradition. There was NO Bible.

    Have you EVER read 2 Tim 2:2 or 2 Thess 2:15?

    If you have, then you apparently can’t understand this simple language either, just like James 2:24.

  85. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    That’s a false dichotomy…

  86. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    And after the text, then what???

  87. Paul says:

    I. The Word of God is Transferred Orally
    Mark 13:31 – heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus’ Word will not pass away. But Jesus never says anything about His Word being entirely committed to a book. Also, it took 400 years to compile the Bible, and another 1,000 years to invent the printing press. How was the Word of God communicated? Orally, by the bishops of the Church, with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit.

    Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to preach the Gospel to every creature. But Jesus did not want this preaching to stop after the apostles died, and yet the Bible was not compiled until four centuries later. The word of God was transferred orally.

    Mark 3:14; 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to preach (not write) the gospel to the world. Jesus gives no commandment to the apostles to write, and gives them no indication that the oral apostolic word he commanded them to communicate would later die in the fourth century. If Jesus wanted Christianity to be limited to a book (which would be finalized four centuries later), wouldn’t He have said a word about it?

    Luke 10:16 – He who hears you (not “who reads your writings”), hears me. The oral word passes from Jesus to the apostles to their successors by the gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit. This succession has been preserved in the Holy Catholic Church.

    Luke 24:47 – Jesus explains that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached (not written) in Christ’s name to all nations. For Protestants to argue that the word of God is now limited to a book (subject to thousands of different interpretations) is to not only ignore Scripture, but introduce a radical theory about how God spreads His word which would have been unbelievable to the people at the time of Jesus.

    Acts 2:3-4 – the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the form of “tongues” of fire so that they would “speak” (not just write) the Word.

    Acts 15:27 – Judas and Silas, successors to the apostles, were sent to bring God’s infallible Word by “word of mouth.”

    Rom. 10:8 – the Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart, which is the word of faith which is preached (not just written).

    Rom. 10:17 – faith comes by what is “heard” (not just read) which is the Word that is “preached” (not read). This word comes from the oral tradition of the apostles. Those in countries where the Scriptures are not available can still come to faith in Jesus Christ.

    1 Cor. 15:1,11 – faith comes from what is “preached” (not read). For non-Catholics to argue that oral tradition once existed but exists no longer, they must prove this from Scripture. But no where does Scripture say oral tradition died with the apostles. To the contrary, Scripture says the oral word abides forever.

    Gal. 1:11-12 – the Gospel which is “preached” (not read) to me is not a man’s Gospel, but the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Eph. 1:13 – hearing (not reading) the Word of truth is the gospel of our salvation. This is the living word in the Church’s living tradition.

    Col. 1:5 – of this you have “heard” (not read) before in the word of truth, the Gospel which has come to you.

    1 Thess. 2:13 – the Word of God is what you have “heard” (not read). The orally communicated word of God lasts forever, and this word is preserved within the Church by the Holy Spirit.

    2 Tim. 1:13 – oral communications are protected by the Spirit. They abide forever. Oral authority does not die with the apostles.

    2 Tim. 4:2,6-7 – Paul, at the end of his life, charges Timothy to preach (not write) the Word. Oral teaching does not die with Paul.

    Titus 1:3 – God’s word is manifested “through preaching” (not writing). This “preaching” is the tradition that comes from the apostles.

    1 Peter 1:25 – the Word of the Lord abides forever and that Word is the good news that was “preached” (not read) to you. Because the Word is preached by the apostles and it lasts forever, it must be preserved by the apostles’ successors, or this could not be possible. Also, because the oral word abides forever, oral apostolic tradition could not have died in the fourth century with all teachings being committed to Scripture.

    2 Peter 1:12, 15 – Peter says that he will leave a “means to recall these things in mind.” But since this was his last canonical epistle, this “means to recall” must therefore be the apostolic tradition and teaching authority of his office that he left behind.

    2 John 1:12; 3 John 13 – John prefers to speak and not to write. Throughout history, the Word of God was always transferred orally and Jesus did not change this. To do so would have been a radical departure from the Judaic tradition.

    Deut. 31:9-12 – Moses had the law read only every seven years. Was the word of God absent during the seven year interval? Of course not. The Word of God has always been given orally by God’s appointed ones, and was never limited to Scripture.

    Isa. 40:8 – the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God (not necessarily written) will stand forever.

    Isa. 59:21 – Isaiah prophesies the promise of a living voice to hand on the Word of God to generations by mouth, not by a book. This is either a false prophecy, or it has been fulfilled by the Catholic Church.

    Joel 1:3 – tell your children of the Word of the Lord, and they tell their children, and their children tell another generation.

    Mal. 2:7 – the lips of a priest guard knowledge, and we should seek instruction from his mouth. Protestants want to argue all oral tradition was committed to Scripture? But no where does Scripture say this.

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    II. Learning through Oral Apostolic Tradition
    Matt. 15:3 – Jesus condemns human traditions that void God’s word. Some Protestants use this verse to condemn all tradition. But this verse has nothing to do with the tradition we must obey that was handed down to us from the apostles. (Here, the Pharisees, in their human tradition, gave goods to the temple to avoid taking care of their parents, and this voids God’s law of honoring one’s father and mother.)

    Mark 7:9 – this is the same as Matt. 15:3 – there is a distinction between human tradition (that we should reject) and apostolic tradition (that we must accept).

    Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:22 – Paul also writes about “the traditions of my fathers” and “human precepts and doctrines” which regarded the laws of Judaism. These traditions are no longer necessary.

    Acts 2:42 – the members obeyed apostolic tradition (doctrine, prayers, and the breaking of bread). Their obedience was not to the Scriptures alone. Tradition (in Greek, “paradosis”) means “to hand on” teaching.

    Acts 20:7 – this verse gives us a glimpse of Christian worship on Sunday, but changing the Lord’s day from Saturday to Sunday is understood primarily from oral apostolic tradition.

    John 17:20 – Jesus prays for all who believe in Him through the oral word of the apostles. Jesus protects oral apostolic teaching.

    1 Cor. 11:2 – Paul commends the faithful for maintaining the apostolic tradition that they have received. The oral word is preserved and protected by the Spirit.

    Eph. 4:20 – Paul refers the Ephesians to the oral tradition they previously received when he writes, “You did not so learn Christ!”

    Phil. 4:9 – Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. This refers to learning from his preaching and example, which is apostolic tradition.

    Col. 1:5-6 – of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you. This delivery of the faith refers to the oral tradition the Colossians had previously received from the ordained leaders of the Church. This oral tradition is called the gospel of truth.

    1 Thess.1:5 – our gospel came to you not only in word, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul is referring to the oral tradition which the Thessalonians had previously received. There is never any instruction to abandon these previous teachings; to the contrary, they are to be followed as the word of God.

    1 Thess. 4:2 – Paul again refers the Thessalonians to the instructions they already had received, which is the oral apostolic tradition.

    2 Thess. 2:5 – Paul yet again refers the Thessalonians to the previous teachings they received from Paul when he taught them orally. These oral teachings are no less significant than the written teachings.

    2 Thess. 2:15 – Paul clearly commands us in this verse to obey oral apostolic tradition. He says stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, either by word of mouth or letter. This verse proves that for apostolic authority, oral and written communications are on par with each other. Protestants must find a verse that voids this commandment to obey oral tradition elsewhere in the Bible, or they are not abiding by the teachings of Scripture.

    2 Thess. 2:15 – in fact, it was this apostolic tradition that allowed the Church to select the Bible canon (apostolicity was determined from tradition). Since all the apostles were deceased at the time the canon was decided, the Church had to rely on the apostolic tradition of their successors. Hence, the Bible is an apostolic tradition of the Catholic Church. This also proves that oral tradition did not cease with the death of the last apostle. Other examples of apostolic tradition include the teachings on the Blessed Trinity, the hypostatic union (Jesus had a divine and human nature in one person), the filioque (that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son), the assumption of Mary, and knowing that the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew.

    2 Thess. 3:6 – Paul again commands the faithful to live in accord with the tradition that they received from the apostles.

    2 Thess. 3:7 – Paul tells them they already know how to imitate the elders. He is referring them to the tradition they have learned by his oral preaching and example.

    1 Tim. 6:20 – guard what has been “entrusted” to you. The word “entrusted” is “paratheke” which means a “deposit.” Oral tradition is part of what the Church has always called the Deposit of Faith.

    2 Tim. 2:2 – Paul says what you have heard from me entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. This is “tradition,” or the handing on of apostolic teaching.

    2 Tim. 3:14 – continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it (by oral tradition).

    1 John 2:7 – John refers to the oral word his disciples have heard which is the old commandment that we love one another.

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    III. Examples of Jesus’ and the Apostles’ Reliance on Oral Tradition
    Matt. 2:23 – the prophecy “He shall be a Nazarene” is oral tradition. It is not found in the Old Testament. This demonstrates that the apostles relied upon oral tradition and taught by oral tradition.

    Matt 23:2 – Jesus relies on the oral tradition of acknowledging Moses’ seat of authority (which passed from Moses to Joshua to the Sanhedrin). This is not recorded in the Old Testament.

    John 19:26; 20:2; 21:20,24 – knowing that the “beloved disciple” is John is inferred from Scripture, but is also largely oral tradition.

    Acts 20:35 – Paul relies on the oral tradition of the apostles for this statement (“it is better to give than to receive”) of Jesus. It is not recorded in the Gospels.

    1 Cor. 7:10 – Paul relies on the oral tradition of the apostles to give the charge of Jesus that a wife should not separate from her husband.

    1 Cor. 10:4 – Paul relies on the oral tradition of the rock following Moses. It is not recorded in the Old Testament. See Exodus 17:1-17 and Num. 20:2-13.

    Eph 5:14 – Paul relies on oral tradition to quote an early Christian hymn – “awake O sleeper rise from the dead and Christ shall give you light.”

    Heb. 11:37 – the author of Hebrews relies on the oral tradition of the martyrs being sawed in two. This is not recorded in the Old Testament.

    Jude 9 – Jude relies on the oral tradition of the Archangel Michael’s dispute with satan over Moses’ body. This is not found in the Old Testament.

    Jude 14-15 – Jude relies on the oral tradition of Enoch’s prophecy which is not recorded in the Old Testament.

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    Tradition / Church Fathers
    I. The Word of God in Oral Apostolic Tradition
    ‘If I do not find it in the ancient Scriptures, I will not believe the Gospel; on my saying to them, It is written, they answered me, That remains to be proved. But to me Jesus Christ is in the place of all that is ancient: His cross, and death and resurrection, and the faith which is by Him are undefiled monuments of antiquity…’ Ignatius ofAntioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians 8,2 (c. A.D. 110).

    ‘Follow the bishop, all of you, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the presbyterium as the Apostles. As for the deacons, respect them as the Law of God. Let no one do anything with reference to the Church without the bishop. Only that Eucharist may be regarded as legitimate which is celebrated with the bishop or his delegate presiding. Where the bishop is, there let the community be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.’ Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Symyrnaens 8 (c. A.D. 110).

    ‘The apostles at that time first preached the Gospel but later by the will of God, they delivered it to us in the Scriptures, that it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith.’ Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3,1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    ‘Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him.’ Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3,5,1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Through none others know we the disposition of our salvation, than those through whom the gospel came to us, first heralding it, then by the will of God delivering to us the Scriptures, which were to be the foundation and pillar of our faith…But when, the heretics are Scriptures, as if they were wrong, and unauthoritative, and were variable, and the truth could not be extracted from them by those who were ignorant of Tradition…And when we challenge them in turn what that tradition, which is from the Apostles, which is guarded by the succession of elders in the churches, they oppose themselves to Tradition, saying that they are wiser, not only than those elders, but even than the Apostles. The Tradition of the Apostles, manifested ‘on the contrary’ in the whole world, is open in every Church to all who see the truth…And, since it is a long matter in a work like this to enumerate these successions, we will confute them by pointing to the Tradition of that greatest and most ancient and universally known Church, founded and constituted at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, a tradition which she has had and a faith which she proclaims to all men from those Apostles.’ Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3,1-3 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    ‘For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us their writings? Would it not be necessary to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those whom they did commit the Churches?’ Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3, 4:1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church…those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the certain gift of truth…” Irenaeus, Against Heresies 26:2 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the Apostles until now, and handed in truth.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3,3:3 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Then I have pointed out the truth, and shown the preaching of the Church, which the prophets proclaimed (as I have already demonstrated), but which Christ brought to perfection, and the apostles have handed down, from which the Church, receiving, and throughout all the world alone preserving them in their integrity, has transmitted them to her sons. Then also-having disposed of all questions which the heretics propose to us, and having explained the doctrine of the apostles, and clearly set forth many of those things which were said and done by the Lord in parables…that they may preserve steadfast the faith which they have received, guarded by the Church in its integrity, in order that they be in no way perverted by those who endeavor to teach them false doctrine…” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Preface V (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Now all these [heretics] are of much later date than the bishops to whom the apostles committed to the Churches; which fact I have in the third book taken all pains to demonstrate. It follows, then, as a matter of course, that these aforementioned, since they are blind to the truth, and deviate from the [right] way, will walk in various roads; and therefore the footsteps of their doctrine are scattered here and there without agreement or connection. But the path of those belonging to the Church circumscribes the whole world, as possessing the sure tradition of the Apostles, and gives unto us to see that the faith of all is one and the same …And undoubtedly the preaching of the Church is true and steadfast, in which one and the same way of salvation is shown throughout the whole world…For the Church preaches the truth everywhere…” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Preface V 20, 1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Those, therefore, who desert the preaching of the Church, call in question the knowledge of the holy presbyters…It behooves us, therefore, to avoid their doctrines, and take careful heed lest we suffer any injury from them; but to flee to the Church, and be brought up in her bosom, and be nourished with the Lord’s Scriptures.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Preface V 20, 1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church, those who as I have shown, possess succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of bishops, have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession of the succession, and assemble themselves…But those who cleave asunder, and separate the unity of the Church, shall recieve from God the same punishments as Jeroboam did.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4, 26:2 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “Heretics assent neither to Scripture nor to Tradition.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3,2,1 (inter A.D. 180/199).

    “We do not take our scriptural teaching from the parables but we interpret the parables according to our teaching.” Tertullian, Purity 9,1 (c. A.D. 200).

    ‘Let them show the origins of their churches, let them unroll the list of their bishops, through a succession coming down from the very beginning that their first bishop had his authority and predecessor someone from among the number of Apostles or apostolic men and, further, that he did not stray from the Apostles. In this way the apostolic churches present their earliest records. The church of Smyrna, for example, records that Polycarp was named by John; the Romans, that Clement was ordained by Peter. In just the same way, the other churches show who were made bishops by the Apostles and who transmitted the apostolic seed to them. Let the heretics invent something like that. ‘ Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics 32 (c. A.D. 200).

    ‘But they, safeguarding the true tradition of the blessed teaching, which comes straight from the Apostles Peter, James, John and Paul and transmitted from father to son have come down to us with the help of God to deposit in us those ancestral and apostolic seeds’ Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1,11 (c. A.D. 205).

    ‘For us…having grown old in the Scriptures, preserving the Apostolic and ecclesiastical correctness of doctrine, living a life according to the Gospel, is led by the Lord to discover the proofs from the Law and the prophets which he seeks.’ Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7,104 (c. A.D. 205).

    “The Church’s preaching has been handed down through an orderly succession from the Apostles and remains in the Church until the present. That alone is to be believed as the truth which in no way departs from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition.” Origen, First Principles 1,2 (c. A.D. 230).

    ‘It is not by drawing on the Holy Scriptures nor by guarding the tradition of some holy person that the heretics have formulated these doctrines.’ Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation of All Heresies 1, Preface (c. A.D. 230).

    ‘After all this, they yet in addition, having had a false bishop ordained for them by heretics, dare to set sail, and to carry letters from schismatic and profane persons to the Chair of Peter, and the principle Church, whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise. They fail to reflect that those Romans are the same as those who faith was publicly praised by the apostle, to whom unbelief cannot have access” Cyprian, Letter to Pope Cornelius, Epistle 59:14 (c. A.D. 252).

    ‘We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” Council of Nicea I, Nicene Creed, (A.D. 325). ‘But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to thee by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures.’ Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 5,12 (c. A.D. 347).

    ‘Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testaments, and what are the books of the New.’ Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 5,33 (c. A.D. 347).

    “forcing on the divine oracles a misinterpretation according to their own private sense.” Athanasius, Orations 1,37 (c. A.D. 350).

    “However here too they (the Arians) introduce their private fictions, and contend that the Son and the Father are not in such wise ‘one,’ or ‘like,’ as the Church preaches, but as they themselves would have it” Athanasius, Orations 3,10 (c. A.D. 350).

    “If we now consider the object of that faith which we Christians hold, and using it as a rule, apply ourselves, as the Apostle teaches to the reading of inspired Scripture. For Christ’s enemies, being ignorant of this object, have wandered from the way of truth, and have stumbled on a stone of stumbling, thinking otherwise than they should think.” Athanasius, Orations 3,28 (c. A.D. 350).

    “Had Christ enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognized the ecclesiastical scope and an anchor for the faith, they would not have made shipwreck of the faith…” Athanasius, Orations 3,58 (c. A.D. 350).

    “But after him (the devil) and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power” Athanasius, Festal Letter 2 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘Scarcely, however, did they begin to speak, when they were condemned, and one differed from another; then perceiving the straits in which their heresy lay, they remained dumb, and by their silence confessed the disgrace which came upon their heterodoxy. On this the Bishops, having negatived the terms they had invented, published against them the sound and ecclesiastical faith…And what is strange indeed, Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine, who had denied the day before, but afterward subscribed, sent to his Church a letter, saying that this was the Church’s faith and the Tradition of the Fathers.’ Athanasius, De Decretis 3, (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘Are they not then committing a crime in their very thought to gainsay so great and ecumenical a Council’? Athanasius, De Decretis 4 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘For, what our Fathers have delivered, this is truly doctrine; and this is truly the token of doctors, to confess the same thing with each other, and to vary neither from themselves nor from their Fathers…Thus the Greeks, as not witnessing to the same doctrines, but quarreling one with another, have no truth of teaching; but the holy and veritable heralds of truth agree together, and do not differ…preaching the same Word harmoniously.’ Athanasius, De Decretis 4 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘…and it is seemingly and most irreligious when Scripture contains such images, to form ideas concerning our Lord from others which are neither in Scripture, nor have any religious bearing. Therefore let them tell us from what teacher or by what tradition they derived these notions concerning the Saviour?…But they seem to me to have a wrong understanding of this passage also; for it has a religious and very orthodox sense, which had they understood, they would not have blasphemed the Lord of glory.’ Athanasius, De Decretis 13 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘…and in dizziness about truth, are full set upon accusing the Council, let them tell us what are the Scriptures from what they have learned , or who is the saint by whom they have been taught…’ Athanasius, De Decretis 18 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘Must needs hold and intend the decisions of the Council, suitably regarding them to signify the relation of the radiance to the light, and from thence gaining the illustration to the truth.’ Athanasius, De Decretis 20 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘Of course, the holy Scriptures, divinely inspired are self-sufficient for the proclamation of the truth. But there are also numerous works composed for this purpose by blessed teachers. The one who reads them will understand the interpretation of the Scriptures and will be able to gain knowledge he desrires.’ Athanasius, Gentes 1 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘But the sectaries, who have fallen away from the teaching of the Church, and made shipwreck concerning the faith.’ Athanasius, Gentes 6 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘But that the soul is made immortal is a further point in the Church’s teaching which you must know…’ Athanasius, Gentes 33 (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘But what is also to the point, let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian.’ Athanasius, Ad Serapion 1,28 (c. A.D. 350).

    “Wherefore keep yourselves all the more untainted by them, and observe the traditions of the Fathers, and chiefly the holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, which you have learned from the Scripture, and of which you have often been put in mind by me.” Anthony of Egypt, Vita S. Antoni 89, (c. A.D. 350).

    ‘We are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father, but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to your phrases? Not one of the understandings and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone; none but he is your father in this apostasy, who both in the beginning sowed you with the seed of this irreligion, and now persuades you to slander the Ecumenical Council, for committing to writing, not your doctrines, but that which from the beginning those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us. For the faith which the Council has confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the blessed Fathers so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy…’ Athanasius, De Decretis 27 (c. A.D. 350).

    “We are content with the fact that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor did the Fathers hold this.” Athanasius, Epistles 59 ( A.D. 356).

    “But our faith is right, and starts from the teaching of the Apostles and tradition of the fathers, being confirmed both by the NT and the Old.” Athanasius, Epistles 60 (A.D. 356).

    ‘…For they dissent from each other, and , whereas they have revolted from their Fathers, are not of one and the same mind, but float about with various and discordant changes’ Athanasius, De Synodis 13 (A.D. 359).

    ‘For it is right and meet thus to feel, and to maintain a good conscience toward the fathers, if we be not spurious children, but have received the traditions from them, and the lessons of religion at their hands.’ Athanasius, De Synodis 47 (A.D. 359).

    ‘Such then, as we confess and believe, being the sense of the Fathers…’ Athanasius, De Synodis 48 (A.D. 359).

    ‘…but do you, remaining on the foundation of the Apostles, and holding fast the traditions of the Fathers, pray that now at length all strife and rivalry may cease and the futile questions of the heretics may be condemned…’ Athanasius, De Synodis 54 (A.D. 359).

    ‘It behooves us not to withdraw from the Creed which we have received…nor to back off from the faith which we have received from through the prophets … or to back-slide from the Gospels. Once laid down, it continues even to this day through the tradition of the Fathers.’ Hilary of Poitiers, Ex. Oper. Hist. Fragment 7,3 (c. A.D. 365).

    “The confession arrived at Nicea was, we say more, sufficient and enough by itself, for the subversion of all irreligious heresy, and for the security and furtherance of the doctrine of the Church.” Athanasius, Ad Afros 1 (c. A.D. 369).

    “But the Word of the Lord which came through the Ecumenical Synod at Nicea, abides forever.” Athanasius, Ad Afros 2 (c. A.D. 369).

    “Let us now investigate what are our common conceptions concerning the Spirit, as well those which have been gathered by us from Holy Scripture as well those which have been gathered concerning it as those which we have received from the unwritten tradition of the Fathers.” Basil, Holy Spirit 22 (c. A.D. 370).

    “Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the Apostles by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force.” Basil, Holy Spirit 27 (c. A.D. 370).

    “The day would fail me, if I went through the mysteries of the Church which are not in Scripture. I pass by the others, the very confession of faith, in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, from what written document have we?” Basil, Holy Spirit 67 (c. A.D. 370).

    “While the unwritten traditions are so many and their bearing on ‘the mystery of godliness’ is so important, can they refuse us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers;–which we found, derived from untutored custom, abiding in unperverted churches;–a word for which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery.” Basil, Holy Spirit 67 (c. A.D. 370).

    “In answer to the objection that the doxology in the form ‘with the Spirit’ has no written authority, we maintain that if there is not other instance of that which is unwritten, then this must not be received. But if the great number of our mysteries are admitted into our constitution without written authority, then, in company with many others, let us receive this one. For I hold it apostolic to abide by the unwritten traditions. ‘I praise you,’ it is said, ‘that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you;’ and ‘Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word, or our Epistle.’ One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us, which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their successors, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time.” Basil, Holy Spirit 71 (c. A.D. 370).

    “…and I have not allowed my judgment concerning them to rest wholly with myself, but have followed the decisions given about them by our Fathers.” Basil, Epistles 204,6 (c. A.D. 370).

    “…considering myself bound to follow the high authority of such a man and of those who made the rule, and with every desire on my part to win the reward promised peacemakers, did enroll in the lists of communicants all who accepted that creed. The fair thing would be to judge of me, not from one or two who do not walk uprightly in the truth, but from the multitude of bishops throughout the world, connected with me by the grace of the Lord… you may learn that we are all of one mind and of one opinion. Whoso shuns communion with me, it cannot escape your accuracy, cuts himself off from the whole Church.” Basil, Epistles 204,6-7 (c. A.D. 370).

    ‘Not to accept the voice of the Fathers as being of more authority than their opinion deserves reproof as something filled with pride!’ Basil, Epistle to Canonicas (c. A.D. 370).

    ‘But for all the divine words, there is no need of allegory to grasp the meaning; what is necessary is study and understanding to know the meaning of each statement. We must have recourse to tradition, for all cannot be received from the divine Scriptures. That is why the holy Apostles handed down certain things in writings but others by traditions. As Paul said:” Just as I handed them on to you.”‘ Ephiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 61, 6 (A.D. 377).

    ‘Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of the Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of command…’ Jerome, Dialogue Luciferians 8 (c. A.D. 379).

    ‘And let them not flatter you themselves if they think they have Scripture authority sinc the devil himself has quoted Scripture texts…we could all, while preserving in the letter of Scripture, read into it some novel doctrine.’ Jerome, Dialogue Luciferians 28 (c. A.D. 379).

    “It suffices for proof of our statement that we have a tradition coming down from the Fathers, an inheritance as it were, by succession from the Apostles through the saints who came after them.” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 4:6 (c. A.D. 384).

    “…I say, that the Church teaches this in plain language, that the Only-begotten is essentially God, very God of the essence of the very God, how ought one who opposes her decisions to overthrow the preconceived opinion?” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 4:6 (c. A.D. 384).

    “They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of their arguments in abundance, if they were to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish ad so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense.” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 4:6 (c. A.D. 384).

    “My sheep hear my voice, which I heard from the oracles of God, which I have been taught by the Holy Fathers, which I have taught alike on all occasions, not conforming myself to the opportune, and which I will never cease to teach; in which I was born, and in which I will depart.” Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations 33,15 (c. A.D. 385).

    “I desire to learn what is this fashion of innovation in things concerning the Church. But since our faith has been proclaimed, both in writing and without writing, here and in distant parts, in times of danger and of safety, how comes it that some make such attempts, and that others keep silence?” Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistles 101 (c. A.D. 385).

    “But if they will not believe the doctrines of the priests, let them believe Christ’s oracles, let them believe the admonitions of angels who say, “For with God nothing is impossible”. Let them believe the Apostles Creed which the Roman Church as always kept undefiled.” Ambrose, Letter to Sircius (c. A.D. 387).

    “To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you.” Augustine, C. Cresconius I:33 (c. A.D. 390).

    ‘So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word, or by our epistle of ours’. Hence it is manifest, that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition seek no farther.” John Chrysostom, Homilies on Second Thessalonians (c. A.D. 392).

    “We may answer, that what is here written, was sufficient for those who would attend, and that the sacred writers ever addressed themselves to the matter of immediate importance, whatever it might be at that time: it was no object with them to be writers of books: in fact, there are many things which have been delivered by unwritten tradition. Now while all that is contained in this Book is worthy of admiration, so is especially the way the Apostles have of coming down to the wants of their hearers: a condescension suggested by the Spirit who has so ordered it, that the subject on which they chiefly dwell is that pertains to Christ as man. For so it is, that while they discourse so much about Christ, they have spoke little concerning His Godhead: it was mostly of the manhood that they discoursed, and of the Passion, and the Resurrection, and the Ascension.” John Chrysostom, Homilies on Acts 1,1 (c. A.D. 392).

    “Not in vain did the Apostles order that remembrance should be made of the dead in the dreadful mysteries” John Chrysostom, Homilies on Philippians 3,4 (c. A.D. 392).

    “It is obvious; the faith allows it; the Catholic Church approves; it is true.” Augustine, Sermon 117:6 (c. A.D. 397).

    “If therefore, I am going to believe things I do not know about, why should I not believe those things which are accepted by the common consent of learned and unlearned alike and are established by most weighty authority of all peoples?” Augustine, Letter called Fundamentals 14:18 (A.D. 397).

    “For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty…The consent of peoples and nations keep me in Church, so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave it in charge to feed his sheep, down to the present episcopate… For my part, I should not believe the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manicheus, how can I but consent?” Augustine, Epistle of Manichaeus 5,6 (A.D. 397).

    “The authority of our Scriptures, strengthened by the consent of so may nations, and confirmed by the succession of the Apostles, bishops and councils, is against you.” Augustine, Letter to Faustus 8:5 (c. A.D. 406)

    “No sensible person will go contrary to reason, no Christian will contradict the Scriptures, no lover of peace will go against the Church.” Augustine, Trinitas 4,6,10 (c. A.D. 410).

    “Wherever this tradition comes from, we must believe that the Church has not believed in vain, even though the express authority of the canonical scriptures is not brought forward for it.” Augustine, Letter 164 to Evodius of Uzalis (A.D. 414).

    “Will you, then, so love your error, into which you have fallen through adolescent overconfidence and human weakness, that you will separate yourself from these leaders of Catholic unity and truth, from so many different parts of the world who are in agreement among themselves on so important a question, one in which the essence of the Christian religion involved..?” Augustine, Letter to Juliana 1:7,34 (A.D. 416).

    ‘When anyone asks one of these heretics who presents arguments: Where are the proofs of your teaching that I should leave behind the world-wide and ancient faith of the Catholic Church? He will jump in before you have finished with the question: “It is written” He follows up immediately with thousands of texts and examples…’ Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith 1,26 (A.D. 434).

    “Here perhaps, someone may ask: Since the canon of the Scripture is complete and more than sufficient in itself, why is it necessary to add to it the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation? As a matter of fact, [we must answer] Holy Scripture, because of its depth, is not universally accepted in one and the same sense. The same text is interpreted different by different people, so that one may almost gain the impression that it can yield as many different meanings as there are men. Novatian, for example, expounds a passage in one way; Sabellius, in another; Donatus, in another. Arius, and Eunomius, and Macedonius read it differently; so do Photinus, Apollinaris, and Priscillian; in another way, Jovian, Pelagius, and Caelestius; finally still another way, Nestorius. Thus, because of the great distortions caused by various errors, it is, indeed, necessary that the trend of the interpretation of the prophetic and apostolic writings be directed in accordance with the rule of the ecclesiastical and Catholic meaning.” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith 2 (A.D. 434).

    ‘This teaching has been handed down to us not only by the Apostles and prophets but also by those who have interpreted their writings, Ignatius, Eustathius, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory…and other lights of the world and before them, by the holy Fathers gathered at Nicea whose confession of faith we have kept intact, as the inheritance from a Father, while those who dare to violate their teachings, we call corrupt and enemies of truth.’ Theodoret of Cyrus, Epistles 89 (c. A.D. 436).

    ‘We confess that (we) hold and declare the faith given from the beginning by the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ to the Holy Apostles, and preached by them in the whole world; which the sacred Fathers confessed and explained, and handed down to the holy churches, and especially (those fathers) who assembled in the four sacred Synods, whom we follow and accept through all things and in all things…judging as at odds with piety all things, indeed, which are not in accord with what has been defined as right faith by the same four holy Councils, we condemn and anathematize.’ Council of Constantinople II (A.D. 553).

    ‘I have no private opinion, but only agree with the Catholic Church.’ Maximus the Confessor (c. A.D. 638).

    ‘So, then in expectation of His coming we worship toward the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten.’ John Damascus, Orthodox Faith 4,12,16 (c. A.D. 745).

    ‘Moreover that the Apostles handed down much that was unwritten, Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, tells us in these words: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught of us, whether by word or epistle” And to the Corinthians he writes, “Now I praise your brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you.’ John Damascus, Orthodox Faith 4,16 (c. A.D. 745).

    ‘He who does not believe according to the tradition of the Catholic Church is an unbeliever.’ John Damascus, Letter to the Nestorians (c. A.D. 745).

    ‘If anyone rejects all ecclesiastical tradition either written or not written…let him be anathema.’ Council of Nicea II, (A.D. 787).

  88. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    And this proves…?

  89. Paul says:

    It obviously proves Sola Scriptura to be a FALSE, MANMADE, Doctrine, to anyone with common sense enough to read all of the above and honestly understand it instead of denying the truth with their preconceived ideas that they have been taught falsely for years.

  90. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    I’d rather believe Sola Scriptura and worship and adore JESUS ALONE than to follow men into the deception of putting the words of men on a par with the Bible, God’s PERFECT self-revelation…

  91. Paul says:

    Douglas, my friend,

    You continue to misunderstand. Catholics worship Jesus and Jesus ALONE.

    Jesus left us a Church – see Matt 16:18 , to aid us in that quest while we are here on earth.

    1 Tim 3:15 tells us , the Church is the Pillar and foundation of truth.

    Read it. And see Matt 18:15-18,,,the Church is the last resort we consult,,,NOT the Bible.

    It’s the Bible and Sacred Tradition , 2 Thess 2:15,

    NOT the Bible ALONE, which is NOT in the Bible, as you continue to FAIL to show.

    Same with Faith ALONE.

  92. Paul says:

    Douglas,
    How can you claim to be a “Bible” believing person when you believe things that aren’t Biblical?

    Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are not in the Bible.

    That makes no sense.

    If you believe in the Bible “ALONE” then logic dictates that what you believe should be stated EXPLICITLY IN THE BIble!

    Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are NOT there.

    I think you need to do some serious, HONEST, praying and reflecting on these issues.

  93. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    You make it sound as though the five solas are some sort of insult to God. Aren’t they more God-glorifying than simply believing that man has some say in our faith?

  94. Paul says:

    Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura ARE an insult to God, because they are MAN – MADE and not from GOD !

    That’s the problem my friend.

    That’s why I worry about your soul. You are on the wrong path unfortunately, but it’s not too late.

  95. Paul says:

    You folks unfortunately have a bad misunderstanding of “Works” also.

    When in places like Romans 3:28 or Eph 2:8,9, Paul talks about “Works”, he is referring to the Old Testament, Mosaic, “Works of Law”.

    We agree, that will not save you.

    But later in the NewTestament, like in James for example and in Eph 2:10, he is talking about “Works of GRACE”, which ARE required, along with Faith.

    That’s why, nowhere does the Bible say anything about Faith ALONE, yet for some reason, you refuse to believe what the Bible plainly says.

  96. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Please itemise how the five solas are an insult…

  97. Paul says:

    I did NOT say the 5 Solas are an insult.

    We agree on Grace Alone, Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone.

    What we Don’t agree on is Bible Alone and Faith Alone.

    I’ve repeatedly shown you where they are NOT scriptural.

    The Burden is on YOU to show that they are.

  98. jim says:

    One should not encourage people to trust in NON-Bible sources and put their confidence in unbiblical man-made traditions especially since the Bible explicitly warns us that “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man”. So for those who intends to take seriously the Biblical admonition to “prove all things” they should not be simply repeating the opinions of men but rather they should be looking to scripture and searching the scriptures to see if what they believe holds up to Biblical scrutiny.

    It is hardly honoring to God for one to assume that an idea is BIBLICAL (or promote it as such) if they cannot cite a single verse that would justify teaching that idea. But here you do just that.

    You wrote: “John 19:26; 20:2; 21:20,24 – knowing that the “beloved disciple” is John is inferred from Scripture” however only the logical fallacy of circular reasoning can lead to the false conclusion that the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John — since the facts in the plain text of scripture prove that WHOEVER this person was he could not possibly have been John. This idea comes from the hand-me-down ideas of men found in NON-Bible sources, but scripture says otherwise.

    Scripture encourages believers to “prove all things” and explicitly says “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” so why would you put your trust in the NON-Bible sources on which this man-made tradition is based?

    Clearly the author of the fourth gospel repeatedly identifies himself with the anonymous terms “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, “the other disciple” and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved” but it is also equally clear that this author NEVER identifies himself as John. Yet in Revelation John exhibits a totally different behavior as he repeatedly refers to himself by name. So why not heed the Biblical admonition to “prove all things” when it comes to the man-made tradition regarding the beloved disciple?

    The truth is there is not a single verse in scripture that would justify teaching the idea that John was the one whom “Jesus loved” and yet most simply assume that this man-made tradition cannot be wrong and then interpret scripture to fit this idea. But if one will heed Ps. 118:8 then the NON-BIBLE sources on which this man-made error is based will give way to the facts stated in scripture which prove that NO MATTER WHO this anonymous author was he most certainly was not John.

    Since you will discover that you cannot cite even one verse of scripture that would justify promoting the idea that John was this unnamed “other disciple”, you may be led to take another look at what the Bible has to say on this matter. If so instead of looking to the writings of men try a Bible-only based strategy – examine the facts stated in scripture and compare what the Bible says about “the disciple whom Jesus loved” with what it says about John. The Bible evidence proves that whoever the one who “Jesus loved” was he could not have been John — because the Bible cannot contradict itself.

    Unfortunately the urge to follow the traditions of men often leads us to accept without question those ideas that are taught to us AS IF they were Biblical even though we have not searched the scriptures to see if these things are so.

    Those who promote the erroneous John tradition of men use circular reasoning to sell the idea that John is referred to in passages that never mention him but that rather talk about the anonymous author of the fourth gospel. Defenders of this tradition can choose to ignore the facts stated in the plain text of scripture if they prefer to quote the words of men who quote other men who quote other men but one thing that neither they nor their non-Bible sources cannot do is cite even a single verse that would justify this idea. No one ever has — not those who originated this unbiblical idea and not those who repeat their error unto this day.

    The Bible says what it says. So no matter how many men one can find parroting the ideas of men found in non-Bible sources the fact is the Biblical evidence proves that John was not the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” (the anonymous author of the fourth gospel).

    Testing our ideas against the text of scripture is even more important when one understands that the word of God says “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter”. Moreover if someone says that they respect the word of God but then they turn-a-blind-eye to the plain facts in the Biblical record that would truly be the mark of a hypocrite.

  99. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Hold on…

    So we can pick and choose the ones which work for us, but we can ignore the ones that don’t work for Catholicism. Talk about inconsistency…

  100. Paul says:

    Jim,
    I’m not sure from your ramblings who you are talking to.

    You talk about searching scriptures, which, by the way, Catholics believe in 100%.

    Tell me, is YOUR interpretation of scripture Infallible?

    Have you ever read 2 Peter 1:20?
    How about 2 Peter 3:16?

    Did you ever read 2 Tim 2:2? How about 2 Thess 2:15?

    Since the Catholic Church existed for about 400 years before it put the Bible together for you in its present form, tell me please sir, which came first, the Church or the Bible?

    Where in Scripture does Jesus tell us to depend EXCLUSIVELY on a Book that came 400 years after his death and resurrection?

    Where in the Bible is the list of Books that belong in the Bible? How did the Bible determine which books were inspired and belonged in it?

    Let’s go back in time. Before there were 35,0000 Protestant Denominations, to , oh, let’s say, the 10th Century. What was THE Christian Church then?
    How about the 9th Century? the 8th? 7th? 6th?,,,,on back to the first?

    Answer: The Catholic Church

  101. Paul says:

    Douglas,
    Pick and choose what?

  102. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Firstly, please quit with the assertion that the Bible we have is the product of Catholicism – other groups of Scripture copied and preserved Scripture.

    Secondly, why are Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria and Solus Christus good and the others aren’t? What is your measure for doing so? Because I feel I can’t itemise why all 5 are Biblical…”tradition” passages or not.

  103. Paul says:

    You have not studied your history.
    The Catholic Church, the ONLY Church in existence in the late 300’s, decided what books belonged in the New Testament and put them together with the Old Testament.

    YOUR Bible is a Catholic Tradition.

    Get used to it.

  104. Laura says:

    Secondly, why are Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria and Solus Christus good and the others aren’t?

  105. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Dude this is bad Catholic advertising…

  106. Paul says:

    Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria, and Solus Christus come from the word of God.

    Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide come from Martin Luther.

    Apparently you can’t see the difference.

    I can’t make you understand it.

    Only the Holy Spirit can.

    All I can do is show you the truth. You can choose to believe it or not.

  107. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    The Bible is not a product of Catholic origin – why does it ignore its teachings if it “gave” it to us…

  108. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    BTW on comment 102, I meant “…CAN itemise why all 5…” Sorry for the typo 😛

  109. Paul says:

    Sorry Douglas my friend,

    Whether you believe it or not, the canon of the Bible, what books belong in the Bible was decided by the Catholic Church.

    You can choose to believe history or not.

    There is nothing in the Bible contrary to Catholic teaching and nothing in Catholic teaching contrary to the Bible.

  110. Paul says:

    The Church made the Bible

    Christ nowhere told men to go to a book to learn his doctrine. He himself wrote nothing down. But he did say to Peter, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18), and to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Go ye teaching therefore all nations” (Matt. 18:19). “He that heareth you, heareth me, he that despiseth you, despiseth me, he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:16).

    The apostles went forth and taught according to Christ’s command: They ordained others to succeed them. Much of his teaching they handed down in their tradition only – that “divinely protected living memory of the Church.” Much they committed to writing and collected together by degrees.

    Though collections of sacred writings, varying in extent, existed in the various local churches of Christendom, the canon or official list of Scripture was only compiled by the Church toward the end of the fourth century – at Hippo in 393, Carthage 397, whence it was sent to Rome for confirmation in 419. The Bible may be called the note-book of the Church, and she has always claimed to be the guardian, exponent, and interpreter of it.

    The early Fathers – the disciples of Christ’s disciples – take this view: We find it in the writings that remain to us of the Fathers in each succeeding century – a few instances may be quoted:

    St. Irenaeus of Lyons (140-202?a disciple of St. Polycarp who was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist): “Paul says that ‘God hath set in the Church first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers.’ Where then the gifts of God have been set, there we must learn the truth from them with whom is the succession from the apostles…. For these guard our faith, both that which is toward God who made all things and that which is toward the Son of God… and they expound the Scriptures to us without peril, neither blaspheming God, nor dishonoring the patriarchs, nor despising the prophets” (Iren. iv. 26,5).

    Tertullian (160-220?): “They who affirm that the truth is with them must say that the corruptions in the Scriptures and the falsities in the expositions of them have been rather introduced by us. To the Scriptures, therefore, we must not appeal…. For the order of things would require that this question should be first proposed: ‘To whom belongeth the very faith; whose are the Scriptures; by whom, and through whom, and when; and to whom was that rule delivered whereby men became Christians?’ For wherever both the true Christian rule and faith shall be shown to be, there will be the true Scriptures and the true expositions and all the true Christian traditions” (De Praescrip. 19).

    “If these things be such that the truth be adjudged to belong to us [viz.] as many as walk according to this rule, which the churches have handed down from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, Christ from God, the reasonableness of our proposition is manifest, which determines that heretics are not to be allowed to enter upon an appeal to the Scriptures. F or if they be heretics they cannot be Christians [and] can have no claim to Christian writings” (De Praescrip. 19,37).

    And again. “Who shall understand the marrow of Scripture better than the school of Christ itself, whom the Lord adopted as his disciples to be taught all things and set as masters over us to teach us all things?” (ibid. 37; Scorp. 12).

    St. Augustine (354-430): “For myself, I would not believe the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church moved me thereto” (Contra Ep. Fund. 5).

    St. Vincent of Lerins (434): “Here, perhaps, some will inquire: ‘Since the canon of the Scriptures is perfect and more than suffices to itself for all things what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s mind?’ ” And he answers: “Because on account of its depth, all do not take the Scripture according to one and the same sense, but this man and that man interpret it severally in their own fashion, so that as many men so many opinions may seem deducible from it. For Novatian understands it one way, Sabellius after this sort, Donatus after that, in a different sense, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, in another Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, in another Jovinian, Pelagius, Caelestius, in another, last of all Nestorius. Therefore, it is exceedingly necessary, because of such great deviations of so varying an error, that the line of prophetic and apostolic interpretation should be guided by the rule of ecclesiastical and Catholic sense” (Commonitor. 2).

    Private judgment = chaos

    As then, so today, private judgment leads to wild chaos in interpretation. But further, the rejection of the Bible has come directly from the claim of heretics to make it the sole rule of faith. The Bible is often obscure – a daily rule of faith and action must be clear – hence arose impatience of delays and obscurities.

    Two schools came from Protestantism:

    (a) Believers in an almost wooden theory of verbal inspiration making no allowance for the human instrument (e.g. various translations, slight discrepancies in different accounts of the same scene, texts from the Old Testament quoted with slight verbal inaccuracies in the New Testament, etc.).

    (b) Believers in absolutely unchecked freedom of criticism, neglecting the divine inspiration.

    The Church insists on both the divine and human. “In interpreting the Bible scientifically, its twofold character must always be kept in view: It is a divine book, insofar as it has God for its author; it is a human book, insofar as it is written by men for men. In its human character the Bible is subject to the same rules of interpretation as profane books, but in its divine character it is given into the custody of the Church to be kept and explained, so that it needs special rules of hermeneutics” (Catholic Encyclopedia 5:696).

    Again, the eternal Church can demand from her children, to whom she has given so rich a treasure, a patience which these little systems of a day could never claim. (It is well to remember, as G. K. Chesterton puts it, that our age is only an age; we are too apt to look on it as the day of judgment).

    The Church the sole interpreter

    The [First] Vatican Council thus defines it: “These books are held by the Church as sacred and canonical, not as having been composed by merely human labor and afterwards approved by her authority, nor merely because they contain revelation without error, but because, written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and have been transmitted to the Church as such.”

    She maintains also the sovereignty of truth in every sphere “All truth is orthodox.” Truths cannot be contradictory. But time and patience are sometimes needed to bring home their full bearing and mutual harmony.

    (a) We must remember that the Church is often asked to accept as truth theories which are only imperfectly worked out or are full of errors. She rightly insists on waiting until the chaff and wheat have been sifted. She will not accept hypotheses as proved facts.

    (b) For a Christian face to face with a Bible passage the question “Is it true?” does not arise, for God wrote it, and he cannot lie. The question in every instance is only, “What does it mean, what did the biblical author, inspired by God, wish to convey and teach?” Now to ascertain this the guidance of the Church is essential, and time and patience are often needed.

    (c) Leo XIII’s encyclical on Scripture (Providentissimus Deus) tells us that it is not the aim of the inspired writers to teach us science or history: “[The Holy Ghost] who spoke by them did not intend to teach men these things, things in no way profitable to salvation. Hence they described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which, in many instances, are in daily use to this day even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses, and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers (as the Angelic Doctor reminds us) ‘went by what visibly appeared’ or put down what God, speaking to men, signified in a way men could understand and were accustomed to.”

    It is the office of the Church’s theologians and Scripture students to ascertain how far statements in the Bible apparently scientific are bound up with those sacred truths which the writer is inspired to deliver and in what sense they are to be understood. Until any question arises we accept these statements in their simple meaning. When question arises we await the Church’s interpretation. Thus the troubles about the Copernican system struck a severe blow to Protestant dependence on the Bible, but have not affected Catholic belief. Galileo’s condemnation was a mere incident, which had no permanent result on Catholic belief in inspiration, because Catholics had the Church behind the Bible and knew that, whether quickly or slowly, she would give them an interpretation and explanation.

    Thus, finally, while outside the Church excessive dependence on the unsupported letter of Scripture has led to such a reaction that people are giving up the Bible altogether, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, keeps for her children the treasure she originally gave them.

  111. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Does it not bother you that you cannot substantiate your position solely from the Bible, but all you do is copy and paste what soandso and whatshisface said? What if (and I appreciate this is a big if) these men were wrong?

  112. Paul says:

    Does it bother you that you cannot substantiate

    Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide from the Bible, yet you claim to believe in “The Bible ALONE” ?

    You are sadly living a lie, made up by Martin Luther and your soul is at risk my friend.

    You continue to ignore my questions.

    Sure, I cut and paste some ideas and positions for you to read. It saves me a lot of typing.

    But at least I am trying to show you why.

    You just ignore it all and don’t even TRY to prove your position.

    Shouldn’t Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide be IN the Bible?

    They are NOT !

  113. Paul says:

    It’s also amazing to me that you call the early Church Fathers, many of whom were there being taught IN PERSON by the Apostles themselves, “So and So”.

    St. Augustine is a “So and So”?

    Now I understand.

    You are just Closed Minded and refuse to search for the REAL Truth.

    It is very very sad.

  114. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    They were men – men make mistakes. The Bible is inerrant and infallible, Rome is run by men, and thus is not infallible.

    You are right that I have wasted much time trying to cross-examine my way to making a point, so I will put together my positive case for the two solas. However, before I launch into that positive presentation, I would be grateful if you could provide a Bible-based answer to the following questions:

    – Please explain why 2 Tim 3:16-17 says the Scriptures are made to make the man of God perfect (Gk. artios – complete, perfect) when Rome says that the Bible alone is not enough.

    – Why does Paul the Apostle say to the overseers of the church of Ephesus, that he commended them to the “word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among those who are satisfied” (Acts 20:32).

    – Why does Peter tell his readers that they have a more sure prophetic word than what they (the Apostles) had seen in the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:19-21).

    Sure you will not find the two words “Bible alone” or “Scripture alone” but then again neither will you find the word “trinity” but the teaching is found all throughout the pages of Holy Writ.

    The Biblical teaching of faith alone is again not found explicitly in the pages of Scripture, just as the Trinity is not explicitly taught. However, again the bedrock of that belief is taught throughout the Scriptures:

    – Why does Habakkuk and Paul explicitly say that the just shall live by faith? (Hab 2:4, Romans 1:17)

    – Why is it that the only times that the Bible speaks of works as taught by the Lord Jesus they are in reference to the work of God? (John 6:29)

    – Why is it that Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it painfully obvious that salvation is by grace only through faith alone (please note that there are no additions to that faith in text, just faith…) in Christ alone?

    – Why is it that Rome seeks to make the post-justification works of Ephesians 2:10 works which contribute to that justification, when Isaih 64:6 speaks of the works of men as “filthy rags”?

    Some answers to these questions would be appreciated before delving into my positive case for the two rejected Solas.

  115. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Please ignore the smiley BTW…the computer is formatting my text wrong.

  116. Paul says:

    Were the men who wrote the books of the Bible infallible?
    Were the men who decided which books to include in the Bible infallible?
    Do you know what “infallible” means? Infallible does not mean “perfect” or sin-free.

    You ask for “Bible based” answers, which I have given you all along, even though Sola Scriptura is MAN-MADE and a false doctrine.

    You also prove my point in needing an outside Authority, like the Church to guide us in interpretation, because even though the Bible does not contradict itself, when there are verses that appear to conflict, you need an Authority, outside the Bible, in other words, the Church, to guide you.

    If you believe in The Bible ALONE, why do you believe in the Trinity? It’s not in there.
    But then you tell me that something like “Purgatory” is not in the Bible and use that as your reasoning.

    You are being hypocritical and using circular reasoning.

    2 Tim 3:16, is the first scripture that Protestants use to try to “prove” Sola Scriptura. To that, Catholics say, AMEN. Scripture is wonderful for training, correction, etc., but nowhere in there does it say, “Scripture is SUFFICIENT”.

    Also, at the time this was written, there was NO New Testament, so it only refers to the Old Testament, not the BIBLE.

    Why won’t you admit that if something is supposedly based on the Bible ALONE, that it should say so IN THE BIBLE?

    It makes no logical sense .

    I understand it must be very hard to look in the mirror and admit you have been taught wrong for many years.

    You claim to abhor “man made” beliefs, yet cling to 2 things invented out of thin air by Martin Luther.

  117. Paul says:

    “If a teaching isn’t explicit in the Bible, then we don’t accept it as doctrine!” That belief, commonly known as sola scriptura, was a central component of all I believed as a Protestant. This bedrock Protestant teaching claims that Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith and morals for Christians. Diving deeper into its meaning to defend my Protestant faith against Catholicism about twenty years ago, I found that there was no uniform understanding of this teaching among Protestant pastors and no book I could read to get a better understanding of it.

    What role does tradition play? How explicit does something have to be in Scripture before it can be called doctrine? Does Scripture tell us what is absolutely essential for us to believe as Christians? How can we determine the canon using sola scriptura? All these questions and more pointed to the central question: Where is sola scriptura itself taught in the Bible?

    Most Protestants find it in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

    All scripture 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.
    The fact is that this passage (or any other) does not even hint at Scripture being the sole rule of faith. It says that Scripture is inspired and necessary—a rule of faith—but in no way does it teach that Scripture alone is all one needs to determine the truth about faith and morals in the Church. My attempt to defend this bedrock teaching of Protestantism led me to conclude that sola scriptura is unreasonable, unbiblical, and unworkable.

    Unreasonable

    The Protestant appeal to the sole authority of Scripture to defend sola scriptura is a textbook example of circular reasoning, and it betrays an essential problem with the doctrine itself: It is contrary to reason. One cannot prove the inspiration of Scripture, or any text, from the text itself. The Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, the Qur’an, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and other books all claim inspiration, but this does not make them inspired.

    Closely related to this is the question of the canon. After all, if the Bible is the sole rule of faith, we first have to know which books are included in the Bible. Many books were believed to be inspired and, therefore, canonical in the early Church. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff? The Protestant must use the principle of sola scriptura to answer the question of the canon. It simply cannot be done.

    I recall a conversation with a Protestant friend about this. He said, “The Holy Spirit guided the early Christians and helped them gather the canon of Scripture and declare it to be the inspired word of God, as Jesus said in John 16:13.” I thought that that answer was more Catholic than Protestant. John 16:13 does tells us that the Spirit will lead the apostles, and by extension, the Church, into truth. But it has nothing to say about sola scriptura or the nature or number of books in the canon.

    The Bible does not and cannot answer questions about its own inspiration or about the canon. Historically, the Church used sacred Tradition outside of Scripture as its criterion for the canon. The early Christians, many of whom disagreed on the issue, needed the Church in council to give an authoritative decree to settle the question. Those are the historical facts.

    To put my friend’s argument into perspective, imagine a Catholic making a similar claim to demonstrate that Mary is the Mother of God. “We believe the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and guided the early Christians to declare this truth.” Would the Protestant respond with a hearty amen? No. He would be more likely to say, “Show me where it says in the Bible that Mary is the Mother of God!” The same question, of course, applies to Protestants concerning the canon: “Show me where the canon of Scripture is in the Bible!”

    Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

    The issues of the inspiration and canon of Scripture are the Achilles heel of any intellectual defense of sola scriptura. So weak are the biblical attempts at an answer that often the Protestant response just turns the argument against the Catholic. “How do you know Scripture is inspired? Your reasoning is just as circular. You say the Church is infallible because the inspired Scripture says so, then you say that Scripture is inspired and infallible because the Church says so!”

    Not only is this not an answer, but it also misrepresents the Catholic position. Catholics do not claim the Church is infallible because Scripture says so. The Church is infallible because Jesus said so. The Church was established and functioning as the infallible spokesperson for the Lord decades before the New Testament was written.

    It is true that we know Scripture to be inspired and canonical only because the Church has told us so. That is historical fact. Catholics reason to inspiration of Scripture through demonstrating first its historical reliability and the truth about Christ and the Church. Then we can reasonably rely upon the testimony of the Church to tell us the text is inspired. This is not circular reasoning. The New Testament is the most accurate and verifiable historical document in all of ancient history, but one cannot deduce from this that it is inspired.

    The testimony of the New Testament is backed up by hundreds of works by early Christian and non-Christian writers. We have the first-century testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the Church Fathers—some of whom were contemporaries of the apostles—and highly reliable non-Christian writers such as Suetonius, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and others, all testifying to the veracity of the Christ-event in various ways. It is on the basis of the historical evidence that we can say it is a historical fact that Jesus lived, died and was reported to be resurrected from the dead by over 500 eyewitnesses (1 Cor. 15:6). Many of these eyewitnesses went to their deaths testifying to the truth of the Resurrection of Christ (Luke 1:1-4; John 21:18-19; 24-25; Acts 1:1-11).

    The historical record also tells us that Jesus Christ established a Church—not a book—to be the foundation of the Christian faith (Matt. 16:15-18; 18:15-18; cf. Eph. 2:20; 3:10, 20-21; 4:11-15; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 13:7, 17). Christ said of his Church, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

    The many books that comprise the Bible never tell us that they are inspired, nor do they answer many other essential questions about their canonicity. Who can or cannot be the human authors of the texts? Who wrote them in the first place? But Scripture does tell us—remarkably clearly—that Jesus established a kingdom on earth, the Church, with a hierarchy and the authority to speak for him (Luke 20:29-32; Matt. 10:40; 28:18-20). If we did not have Scripture, we would still have the Church. But without the Church, there would be no New Testament Scripture. It was members of this kingdom, the Church, who wrote Scripture, preserved its many texts, and eventually canonized it. Scripture alone could not do any of this.

    The bottom line is that the truth of the Catholic Church is rooted in history. Jesus Christ is a historical person who gave his authority to his Church to teach, govern, and sanctify in his place. His Church gave us the New Testament with the authority of Christ. Reason rejects sola scriptura as a self-refuting principle.

    Unbiblical

    There are four problems with the defense of sola scriptura using 2 Timothy 3:16. First, it does not speak of the New Testament at all. The two verses preceding 2 Timothy 3:16 say:
    But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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.
    This passage does not refer to the New Testament. In fact, none of the New Testament books had been written when Timothy was a child. Claiming this verse as authentication for a book that had not been written yet goes far beyond what the text claims.

    Second, 2 Timothy 3:16 does not claim Scripture to be the sole rule of faith for Christians. As a Protestant, I was guilty of seeing more than one sola in Scripture that simply did not exist. The Bible teaches justification by faith, and we Catholics believe it, but we do not believe in justification by faith alone, as Protestants do. Among other reasons, the Bible says that we are “justified by works and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). There is no sola in 2 Timothy 3:16 either. The passage never claims Scripture to be the sole rule of faith.

    James 1:4 illustrates the problem:
    And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
    If we apply the same principle of exegesis to this text that the Protestant does to 2 Timothy 3:16, then we would have to say that all we need is patience (steadfastness) to be perfected. We don’t need faith, hope, charity, the Church, baptism, or anything else.

    Of course, any Christian knows this would be absurd. But James’s emphasis on the central importance of patience is even stronger than Paul’s emphasis on Scripture. The key is to see that there is not a sola in either text. Sola patientia would be just as wrong as sola scriptura.

    Third, the Bible teaches that oral Tradition is equal to Scripture. It is silent when it comes to sola scriptura, but it is remarkably clear in teaching that oral Tradition is just as much the word of God as Scripture is. In what most scholars believe was the first book written in the New Testament, Paul said:
    And we also thank God . . . 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. (1 Thess. 2:13)
    According to Paul, the spoken words of the apostles were the word of God. In fact, when Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians, he urged Christians there to receive the oral and written Traditions as equally authoritative. This would be expected because both are the word of God:
    So, then, brethren stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thess. 2:15)
    Finally, 2 Timothy 3:16 is specifically addressed to members of the hierarchy. It is a pastoral epistle, written to a young bishop Paul had ordained. R. J. Foster points out that the phrase “man of God” refers to ministers, not to the average layperson (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1149). This title was used in the Old Testament to describe those consecrated to the service of God (Deut. 33:1; 1 Sam. 2:27; 1 Kgs. 12:22). Not only does the text not say Scripture sola, but Paul’s exhortation for Timothy to study the word of God is in the context of an exhortation to “preach the word” as a minister of Christ. To use this text to claim that sola scriptura is being taught to the average layperson is—to borrow a phrase from Paul—going far “beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6).

    Unworkable

    The silence of Scripture on sola scriptura is deafening. But when it comes to the true authority of Scripture and Tradition and to the teaching and governing authority of the Church, the text is clear:
    If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. . . . But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you. . . . If he refuses to listen . . . tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matt. 18:15-17)
    According to Scripture, the Church is the final court of appeal for the people of God in matters of faith, morals, and discipline. It is telling that since the Reformation of almost 500 years ago—a Reformation claiming sola scriptura as its formal principle—there are now over 33,000 Protestant denominations. In John 10:16, Jesus prophesied there would be “one flock, one shepherd.” Reliance on sola scriptura has not been effective in establishing doctrine or authority.

  118. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    I believe the Trinity because it is found in the pages of the Bible – if Rome believed it without so much as an ink drop of evidence, then I’d reject it, but since I can independently study and see it, it remains. The same cannot be said for Rome and its continual amendment of Scripture right up to the 1950s.

    Moving on, here is a dictionary definition on the word “infallible”:

    INFAL’LIBLE, a. [L. fallo.]

    1. Not fallible; not capable of erring; entirely exempt from liability to mistake; applied to persons. No man is infallible; to be infallible is the prerogative of God only.

    2. Not liable to fail, or to deceive confidence; certain; as infallible evidence; infallible success.

    (taken from Webster’s Dictionary)

    Hmm, perfection seems to be screaming out from this secular dictionary’s definition and please note that it says it is to be “entirely exempt from liability to mistake”. Rome has had to apologise for mistakes before – in 1992, the late Pope John Paul II formally admitted the church was…WRONG in regards to its teaching of geocentrism. If Rome has been given infallibility, why was it wrong? It would seem that even Rome knows when it’s wrong.

    In response to your question of whether the writers of Scripture were infallible, I pose this question: when those men wrote, did they write their own ideas or did they write as they superintended by the Holy Spirit?

    As to the right to private interpretation, I will concede that it is heavily abused by some, however I still defend it and this is why. If one cannot interpret the Bible for themselves, then why did the Bereans not go to Paul and say, “O wise apostle, tell us the Bible” – rather they went to search the Scriptures themselves (Acts 17:11)? Didn’t the Bible say that the Holy Ghost will guide me into all truth? (John 16:13) The Church is never said to be the one to lead us to all truth – it is said to preach the truth?

    Purgatory is not taught explicitly or implicitly in the Bible text – rather the Bible says that man must die once and then face judgement (Heb 9:27). I do not wish to go into a discussion on death and intermediate state as we are looking at the Bible and faith alone.

    BTW please stop cutting and pasting other people’s words – I am not moved by them. God’s Word is sufficient – He inspired it, surely he would put all the truth we’d need in there? And one more – never, ever refer to the sacred Word of God as “the Church’s notebook”; it is the height of arrogance…

  119. Paul says:

    You are not moved or inspired by the Truth either, my words, the Bible’s words, or anyone else’s words.

    I could go into a long proof, from the Bible right now on Purgatory, yet you would not believe it.

    That’s why I cannot reason with you.

    The word, “Trinity” is not in the Bible, yet you believe in it.
    I believe in it too.

    The word, “Purgatory” is not in the Bible , and you DON’T believe in it. I do.

    That is why logic does not effect you for some reason.

    You have TOTALLY ignored ALL of my questions as to where the proof, FROM THE BIBLE is on Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

    They DO NOT EXIST, except in your mind. They are not in the Bible, except where you TWIST scripture to make it mean whatever you want it to mean.

    I GIVE UP ! GOOD LUCK IN ALL OF YOUR ENDEAVORS !

  120. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Very well.

  121. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Before you finally bow out, I will like to point you to “Sola Scriptura”, a three volume work documenting the Biblical basis and historicity of Sola Scriptura.

    I am grieved that I never got as far as making my positive presentations, but I hope that God will reveal Himself to you through the Word.

    Grace and peace,

    Douglas

  122. josh says:

    very well said paul! God go with you! FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD!

  123. Santaro says:

    I have a question:

    How were the Jews justified before God?

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