(My apologies for the big gap in posting here. The thing that was taking up so much of my time actually came back into the picture. And he just told me to put up a blog post today, so here it is. 🙂 This will be a bit of a stream of conciousness post that is being put up in haste, so there may be updates in the comments later on.)
One of the biggest differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs is that of Sola Scriptura. To quote Wikipedia: “Sola Scriptura (Latin: by Scripture alone) is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of docrine and practice.” That’s what Protestants believe, at least. (Whether or not they actually behave that way is another matter entirely, and is not meant to be the focus of this post.) Catholics, on the other hand, believe that while Scripture certainly does have plenty of authority, it’s not the end all be all as far as authority goes. Rather, Catholics believe that God bestowed upon His Church (or at least, those in a place of authority within the ranks) the authority to make decisions and to interpret the Scriptures for Her members. Protestants, of course, take issue with this because they think that the individual gets to interpret the Scriptures for themselves (my former self included). But I wonder how many Protestants have ever considered the following thoughts (I never did before I started learning about Church history and applying it logically):
1) Where did the Bible, as we know it today, come from?
I bet you’re thinking, “Duh Cassie, it’s the inspired Word of God. It comes from Him.” Well, yeah, that’s true. But I’m talking about the actual book that you can conveniently hold in your hands and read whenever you want to. Where did that come from? Do you think early Christians had access to one of those? No, they didn’t. Really think about this for a minute: The New Testament books of the Bible weren’t even written until years after Jesus walked the Earth. And the Old Testament Scriptures weren’t readily available to the masses either. They didn’t all have a copy of the Scrolls the Scriptures were written on to carry around for themselves. It wasn’t until about 350 years after Christianity became a thing that the Scriptures were sorted through and chosen… by a Council made up of those in authority positions within the ranks of the Catholic Church.
2) After the books of the Bible were officially chosen, did the masses have Bibles of their own?
Not for a long, long time. Before the printing press came into existence, any copies of the Scriptures had to be done one at a time, written by hand. That was no quick and easy task. It would take us long enough to write it down with a pen today, much less with writing utensils of times past. It was a very long tedious process – too much so to have a copy of the Scriptures for everyone to take home and interpret for themselves. Back then, only those in authority positions within the Church would have had regular access to them. Considering this, the Catholic position on the Bishops, etc having been given the authority to interpret the Scriptures for the masses makes a lot of sense. I mean, how could each individual person do so for themselves (like Protestants think we should be doing) if they didn’t have a Bible of their own? They couldn’t.
This is by no means all there is to the argument against Sola Scriptura, but that’s it for this post. More in future posts.