Some thoughts on Sola Scriptura

(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.

 

This entry was posted on June 30, 2016. 5 Comments

He is risen!

 

[My apologies for the lack of posting. Now that something that was taking up a huge amount of my time isn’t in the picture anymore, I’ll have more time to start posting regularly. So stay tuned.]

The Resurrection of Jesus

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag′dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb;12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-bo′ni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”18 Mary Mag′dalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus and Thomas

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

(St John 20:1-29, RSV-CE)

A girl’s thoughts on football

 

[ Just a note to say that this isn’t a serious post. Someone I know found my explanation of football to be very amusing and told me I should post it, so I found a way to religi-tize it.]

So the Super Bowl is on right now: It’s the Carolina Panthers vs the (?) Broncos. I’m not watching it myself, but I’m hearing about it from someone who is rooting for the Broncos 😋… (having grown up in the Carolinas, I’m rooting for the Panthers… and apparently they’re losing. 😋) I don’t really care about football, or even understand it… A play usually lasts for like, 2 seconds, then the players wander around twiddling their thumbs for ages while the tv people watch the video over and over again to try and figure out what just happened, then they do it again. Weird stuff 😋

Either way, it’s important for us to keep in mind that these things don’t really matter in the end. Entertainment, money, prestige, popularity, our jobs/careers, etc ad nauseam. We can’t take any of that with us when we die. It won’t amount to anything. The only thing that will matter is whether or not we were pleasing to God, whether we make it through this crazy life with our souls intact and Heaven-bound, and whether we did whatever we could to help others get there too.

God help me (us) to remember that…

 

This entry was posted on February 8, 2016. 4 Comments

The Protestant’s Dilemma: Divine Authority

 

This post is the first in a series of posts that I’m doing about a book called “The Protestant’s Dilemma: How the Reformation’s Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism,” written by Devin Rose (which can be purchased from Amazon here). (For an explanation, please read my page about it before finishing this post, if you haven’t already.) The first chapter is about Divine Authority.

The author doesn’t waste any time here: the very first sentence of the chapter says this:

If Protestantism is true, Christ revoked the authority that he gave to the Church when he founded it.

I don’t think there’s any doubt, either by Catholics or Protestants, that Christ gave authority to His 12 while he was still walking the earth 2,000 years ago, and by extention, His Church. But what there is disagreement on is whether or not the Catholic Church (as we know it today) still has that authority.

A few quotes from the chapter:

The vast majority of Protestants believe that the visible Church did in fact lose God’s authority at some point in time; that Christ revoked it when corruption entered into its teachings. Many fundamentalist Protestants believe that the date when the Church became corrupted and lost God’s divine authorization was the year 313, when Constantine proclaimed the Edict of Milan, which ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire and began (they say) the mixture of pagan corruption with the true gospel.

But Protestants in general are usually not so exact in their dating estimates, and instead claim that corruption entered into the Church somewhere between the second and sixth centuries. The dates vary according to when a particular Protestant, in studying the historical evidence, discovers a doctrine or practice of the Church that he belives is heretical.

(….)

No matter the particular date given for the corruption, it is common Protestant wisdom that by the fifteenth century, the Catholic Church had devolved in to such a disaster of human traditions and theological errors that the only solution was a clean break: to make clear the difference between the true Church of the Bible and the corrupted impostor.

So the basis of the Protestant belief that the Catholic Church no longer holds Divine authority is simply that God revoked that authority when the Church became corrupted. But yet, they have not universally agreed upon a date and instance of when and how exactly She became corrupted in the first place. From the year 313 to the 15th century is quite a big gap of possibilities there, isn’t it? So if they haven’t even agreed upon this, then how are they so sure that God revoked the authority that he gave Her? Moving on to the next quote:

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (10:16). Notice the direct line of authority: The Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the apostles with his authority, such that listening to them (and the men whom they in turn authorize) is equivalent to listening to Jesus and the Father.

(….)

Likewise, in order to make sense, the promises that Christ made to the Church must be understood as permanent; nowhere does Jesus say that at some point He would abandon His Church to let the gates of hell prevail against it (indeed He says the opposite) or that the authority He had given its leaders would be revoked.

Jesus said “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” – St Matthew 16:18, RSV-CE. (Some versions say “the gates of hell” rather than “powers of death”). For those who aren’t aware, Peter was the first Pope. You can trace the line of Popes all the way back to Peter, and the Popes are also known as the Successors of Peter. I don’t see how anyone could read that verse as anything other than Jesus basically announcing that the Catholic Church is the true Church. And if that is the case, and if He gave Divine authority to His Church, then how is it that the Catholic Church doesn’t have the same authority today? Another quote:

Since Christ established a visible Church in the first century and gave it rightful authority, the burden of proof falls on Protestants to demonstrate that He revoked this authority universally from the Church at some point in time. What event can they point to that caused Christ to take away His authority, and which Church leaders were involved in it? Where is the historical evidence for the claim? (….) The fact is, no event or even century can be pinpointed that can carry the wight of such a momentous claim, so the fall back is the idea that false teachings crept slowly into the Church and eventually tainted the gospel beyond recognition.

Seems like a tall order to me. I don’t have any idea of a particular time and place where this would’ve happened. Does anybody else? Next quote:

There is another problem with the Protestant version of events. Realizing the problematic nature of asserting that Christ’s Church became corrupted, most Protestants will fall back to the claim that the true Church remained pure but was simply invisible. We know from history, however, that Christ founded a visible Church, and the members of His Church were unified together as His mystical Body, of which He is the head. A body is both visible and alive; if you found a severed hand, a foot, an arm, and a toe on the ground, you would not say, “here is a body,” but rather, “here are parts that were severed from a body.”

Why is this part so important? Because if there is no visible Church that still has authority, but rather, the authority now belongs to the scattered individuals in the invisible true church, then how can anyone be excommunicated if they are found to be heretics? Mr. Rose goes on to say this:

If the true Church is invisible, it becomes impossible to determine who has authority to excommunicate another. Christ directed the apostles on how and when to excommunicate someone from the Church (see Matt. 18:17), but what does this mean when the Church is invisible and spread out across numerous denominations? A Christian “excommunicated” from one church just goes to another down the street, both a part of the “invisible Church,” rendering these Biblical passages meaningless. Being excommunicated from the Church makes sense only if the Church is a visible unity that one can be cut off from.

This only covers a portion of the arguments that Mr. Rose makes in this one chapter alone; there’s so much more that I had to leave out. I highly recommend that you get and read the book for yourself.

Now, let the (friendly!) games begin…

 

This entry was posted on November 23, 2015. 34 Comments