"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Michael Brown on "Sola Scriptura or Scriptura Solo"

I recently read Michael Brown's "Sola Scriptura or Scriptura Solo". What I say below is a reply to his post. (On a related note, my post on Keith Mathison's The Shape of Sola Scriptura can be found here.)

Michael claims that the sola scriptura position is not "me-and-my-own-interpretation-is-authoritative". He claims that sola scriptura advocates read and interpret the Bible "with the church". Sola scriptura advocates, he claims, are not biblicists. Their position, according to Michael, is not solo scriptura.

But when you ask sola scriptura advocates what exactly they are referring to by 'church', they will eventually answer with something semantically equivalent to "whoever reads and interprets the Bible just like I do, or at least pretty close to just like I do". And if you ask them, "Which creeds, confessions and historical theology are authoritative?", their ultimate answer is semantically equivalent to "those creeds and confessions and historical theology that agree with me-and-my-own-interpretation-of-Scripture." Some will answer this latter question by claiming that they follow those creeds and confessions and historical theology that were put forward by "the church". But, again, when you ask them what exactly they are referring to by 'church', you find eventually that their ultimate answer is semantically equivalent to "whoever reads and interprets the Bible just like I do, or at least pretty close to just like I do."
Sometimes sola scriptura advocates appeal to Protestant confessions like the Westminster Confession or the Belgic Confession. But if you ask them why they believe those confessions to be authoritative, and not, say, the Council of Trent, you will eventually find an answer semantically equivalent to "because those confessions [or those who wrote them] interpret the Bible just like I do, or at least pretty close to just like I do." This is what I have previously called "painting a magisterial target around one's interpretive arrow", like shooting an arrow into a wall, and then painting a target around one's arrow to make it look as if one shot a bullseye.

Advocates of sola scriptura distinguish their position from that of biblicists by claiming that biblicists practice solo scripture. And I imagine that most self-described advocates of sola scriptura are not biblicists in the I-only-use-Scripture sense. But this distinction [between sola scriptura and biblicism/solo scripture] is not relevant to the fundamental authority problem of solo scriptura. That is because for both sola scriptura and solo scriptura/biblicism, the individual remains the final interpretive [of both Scripture and Tradition] authority.

This is more difficult for advocates of sola scriptura to see about themselves, because by claiming that the Church is the final authority [where 'Church' is defined as "whoever reads and interprets the Bible just like I do, or at least pretty close to just like I do"] they create a semantic and social layer between themselves and their treatment of themselves as their own ultimate interpretive authority.

According to Michael, biblicism, but not sola scriptura, encourages people not to "subject themselves to any theological or ecclesiastical authority that might be contrary to their own interpretation." But if you ask sola scriptura proponents to whom they themselves subject their interpretations, you will soon discover that the answer is "those who interpret Scripture mostly or entirely like I do." So in this respect, there is no principled difference between sola scriptura and biblicism.

Michael likewise criticizes biblicists for attempting to restore primitive Christianity. He claims that early-American biblicists wrongly rejected systems of theology because they suspected them as "likely perversion[s] of genuine biblical truth". But sola scriptura advocates typically use quite the same rationale [i.e. restoring primitive Christianity] to reject Catholic doctrines, and have been doing so since leaving the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. They are no less suspicious than biblicists of uniquely Catholic doctrines, generally treating them as "likely perversions of genuine biblical truth". So here again there is no principled difference between the biblicist and the proponent of sola scriptura.

Michael also claims that in the sola scriptura paradigm, "the church does not give individuals license to think and say whatever they want". But apparently this did not apply to the first Protestants, who thought and said whatever they wanted, thumbing their noses at the Pope and the Catholic bishops under whose ecclesial authority they were. Conveniently, once the early Protestant figures had thumbed their noses at the existing ecclesial authorities, they then refused to allow their *own* followers the "license to think and say" whatever those followers wanted. But one can't have it both ways. If it is a disobedient act of rebellion to think and say whatever we want in defiance of ecclesial authority, then Protestantism is built on a disobedient act. But if rebellion against ecclesial authority is permissible for Protestants in the sixteenth century, then there is no non-arbitrary reason why it must be wrong now. Protestantism is built on this fundamental contradiction: "We rebelled, but you [Protestants] mustn't rebel against us. Our rebellion was justified because the Church was wrong, but you must not rebel against us because we are right."

But the obvious question is "Says who?" The Catholic Church of Luther's time also taught that she was right and that Catholics like Luther should obey the Church's Magisterium. So the contemporary Protestant who insists that Protestants should obey [and not rebel against] their Protestant leaders because Protestants "are right", is saying exactly what the Catholic Church of Luther's time said. So why is rebellion in one case wrong and in the other case right? "Because we [Protestants] are right," comes the reply. But that, obviously, just begs the question. If rebellion is justified when the subordinate thinks the superior is incorrect, then, contra Michael, when Protestants disagree with their pastors, they have the license to think and say whatever they want. They may leave and start their own denomination if they want.

So there is a contradiction between the claim by advocates of sola scriptura that Protestants must submit to the Church, and the actions by the first Protestants on which Protestantism is founded. That contradiction manifests itself more and more over time, because people start to realize that the "don't rebel" position as taught by Protestant 'authorities' is ad hoc. If Luther can do it, why can't I? That is why there is no principled difference with respect to one's relation to ecclesial authority between sola scriptura and solo scriptura -- in both, the individual is his own final authority. The former hides it by including lesser 'authorities' (i.e. creeds, confessions, pastors, historical theology) which are hand-picked by the individual in virtue of their agreement with his own interpretation.

Michael claims that "the Bible was never meant to be interpreted apart from pastoral guidance". He claims that "the Reformers denied the autonomy of the conscience in private, subjectivist interpretation." But Luther didn't agree when it came to his own actions; he spurned the pastoral guidance of his bishop and the bishop of Rome. Here is what Luther said at the Diet of Worms:

Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason -- I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other -- my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

Luther is saying there that he has bound his conscience to his own interpretation of the Scripture. So this is the problem for the defender of sola scriptura. If Luther can do it, and Luther is the father of Protestantism, then Luther's heirs can do it. But if it was not right for Luther to do it, then the Protestant separation from the Catholic Church is built on a fundamental error on Luther's part. The Reformers did deny the autonomy of the conscience of private, subjectivist interpretation for their followers, but they did not deny the autonomy of the conscience of private, subjectivist interpretation for themselves. Yet one can't have it both ways; contraries cannot be held together. That is why even if among Protestants submission to ecclesial authority continued for centuries because of a kind of intertia of Catholic practice and thought, the individual-as-authority kept becoming more and more explicit within Protestantism. It dominates the Protestant scene today in the form of individualism and ecclesial consumerism.

Michael writes:

Tragically, however, things have not changed for the better. As Hatch chillingly points out, "Americans continue to maintain their right to shape their own faith and to submit to leaders they have chosen." The result of eighteenth and nineteenth century biblicism has been a church that increasingly looks less like New Testament Christianity and more like the egalitarian culture in which she lives. Populist hermeneutics and privatized, experiential religion has continuously had wide appeal to the American individualistic ethos. The "chronological arrogance," to borrow C.S. Lewis’ maxim, of disparaging tradition and centuries of theologizing persists with cavalier vigor.

What Michael describes is something that belongs to the essence of Protestantism, even though many Protestants do not recognize that to be so. "I am my own interpretive authority" is part of the essence of Protestantism precisely because Protestantism is founded upon such acts [in defiance of the Church] by the early Protestants themselves. The legitimacy of Protestantism and its separation from the Catholic Church hangs on those acts. If those acts were wrong, then Protestantism (as such) should not exist; Protestants should be in the Catholic Church, and not in schism from her.

Michael continues:

It is in this tempestuous sea of autonomy that creeds and confessions act as an anchor to the ship of Christianity.

But if one picks as one's 'authorities' only those creeds or confessions [or makes new creeds and confessions] that agree with one's own interpretation of Scripture, one is far more likely to be anchoring oneself not to the "ship of Christianity" but to the ship of heresy and schism. Merely adhering to creeds and confessions is not sufficient to anchor one to the ship of Christianity. Heretics can do that by picking and choosing for themselves which creeds and confessions to 'submit' to, and by composing their own confessions and then 'submitting' to them. What heretics have had in common, from the time of the early church, is determining for themselves what is the "true doctrine", and then defining "the Church" as those who teach the "true doctrine". But what anchors us to the ship of Christianity is adhering to the Church that Christ founded, and then submitting to *her* teaching as the true doctrine. The former approach leads to myriads of heresies. The latter approach leads to the one orthodoxy, for there is only one orthodoxy.

The very first Christians did not determine which persons were Christ's Apostles by seeing who taught what they themselves thought must have been Christ's gospel. They determined what Christ's gospel was by finding those whom Christ sent, and then listening to their teaching. And the second generation of Christians did not determine which persons were the bishops by determining who believed and taught what they themselves thought was Christ's gospel, but rather by finding those whom the Apostles had authorized and sent, and then listening to their teaching. And the third generation of Christians did the same. That is the way Christ set up the Church. There was never a time when the bishops said, "Ok, now that the New Testament has been written and the canon settled, we are going to change the way things operate. From now on, the rightful bishops are no longer to be determined by listening to those whom we ordain in sacramental succession from the Apostles, but instead by finding those who agree with your own interpretation of Scripture." In 200 AD we see Tertullian refuting the heretics precisely by pointing out that they do not have the authoritative interpretation of Scripture. But what Tertullian says there also applies to Luther's interpretation of Scripture, and thus to the whole of Protestantism. Luther and Protestantism define "the Church" based not on sacramental succession from the Apostles but rather on agreement with their [i.e. Protestants] own interpretation of Scripture. However, we find such a practice earlier in Church history only among the heretics.

The reconciliation and reunion of Protestants and the Catholic Church depends fundamentally on facing this issue of authority. There cannot be unity so long as people think that the identity of "the Church" is determined as "those who agree with me". There can be unity among Christians only when we recognize that the identity of the Church is determined by those whom Christ authorized, and those whom they authorized, and those whom they authorized, in perpetual succession to the present day. The identity and extent of the Church is determined by them. Unity is achieved not when we all make 'Church' in our own image (i.e. in the image of our own interpretation), but when we all conform to her image.

21 comments:

Oso Famoso said...

An air-tight presentation of the basic problem of sola scriptura.

Earlier today I linked this on a discussion board that is mostly Protestant of different stripes.

So far the responses have been...

1) Who cares? Just love Jesus.
2) The Catholic Church is corrupt.
3) The Catholic Church teaches things that are unbiblical.
4) I am not going to let an institution tell me what to believe.
5) My personal interpretation is better than a corrupt church's interpretation.
6) The bible doesn't say anything about a pope.


I've had this discussion countless times. Many simply aren't willing to engage the substantive facts that sola scriptura is problematic.

Principium unitatis said...

Sean,

Interesting. When I try to imagine how I as a Protestant would have responded to my own post [above], I think I would not have known how to handle it. I wouldn't have known how to refute it, so I may have just filed it in the "I know not how to handle this" category, and tried not to think about it. That's how I dealt with Franky Schaeffer becoming Orthodox, and Richard Neuhaus becoming Catholic. Earlier in my seminary training, I thought that all interpretive disagreements could be resolved through a scientific approach to exegesis and hermeneutics. By the end of my seminary program, I saw that as entirely naive. So at that point, I would not have known how to handle such arguments against sola scriptura. Sola scriptura was functionally, for me, an a priori given, a starting point, a sacred presupposition that seemed [at the gut level] heretical to call into question. No one ever talked about the Catholic Church's case against sola scriptura, or the history of sola scriptura. To question sola scriptura would have been the equivalent of "taking the red pill", or leaving the set of "The Truman Show". The sense is that you are no longer in our discussion if you call that presupposition into question, or start treating it as something other than a necessary presupposition. That is one of the main reasons, in my opinion, why it is difficult to get Protestants to talk about the ground/basis for sola scriptura. To try to defend it is to treat it as something other than a presupposition, and thus to be unfaithful. It is already to have put one foot into the territory of the 'dark-side', i.e. those 'Romanists' and "sacerdotalists". Some Protestants refuse to talk with me about Catholic-Protestant unity, precisely because I don't take sola scriptura as a starting point.

But if sola scriptura is one of the fundamental factors keeping Protestants and Catholics divided, then it is something that we have to talk about, in order to be reconciled according to John 17.

Thanks for your comments.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Kim said...

Man, Bryan, you keep hammering nails into my Protestant coffin. ;)

Principium unitatis said...

Thanks Kim,

Thanks for the feedback. One of the reasons why I have taken some time to talk about sola scriptura is that it is one of the three fundamental principles of Protestantism, and thus extremely important for reconciling Protestants and the Catholic Church.

I hope and pray that we'll be in full communion soon. I have a friend who became Catholic this Easter. Yesterday, I was with him and his wife as all six of their children were baptized. It was a very beautiful and moving experience. I felt like I was witnessing a little (but so significant) fragment of the work of the Holy Spirit, as He works to bring all Christians into the fullness of the faith, and into full communion with Christ and each other. We cannot see the Spirit, but we see His work. There was (and is) so much joy in my heart about yesterday, that I'm still on cloud nine. :-) I rejoice to see your growth and openness to the Church. I'll be so happy for you when that day comes!

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

George Weis said...

Bryan,

As always you are too convincing and you cause me much "pain in the brain" :)

I really am terribly afraid sometimes. When you are raised in a fundamentalist home with a father who left the Roman Catholic Church, the idea is nothing short of scary! I know you can understand this a bit although your roots were a little different.

I love what you said in an earlier post about what the two parties can give as gifts to each other. I worry about being taken into rituals, which in my Protestant brain I see as dead, or at least that is what is ringing somewhere deep in my eardrum.

Again, I have not seen what appear to be transformed lives by the Catholics I know... that scares me also.

The case you have laid down here is indeed a tough one to crack. I really don't know what to do with it.
I love my Lord so much, that I would go anywhere or do anything as His grace allows. I would smash a statue or stand by it as it is venerated if the Lord willed me to do so. I want to be MOST faithful to Him, and I consider all these points, but I am still quite fearful of the option.

I used to go across the street and witness to my Roman Catholic friends at the age of 5.
I still don't know if they really had the "relationship" part of Christianity. What good is the MORE if you don't have the MERE?

Blessings to you, and as always sorry for the rant that went off the rails. Your point is to difficult to combat.

-g-

Johnny T said...

This is a great post. I am a practicing Protestant but have been realizing many of these same problems with sola scriptura.

In addition to your points, I would also add that the doctrine of sola scriptura is not found in the Bible. It seems sort of strange to think that all doctrine is based upon the Bible except for the doctrine that all doctrines are based upon the Bible -- that doctrine can be man-made.

Though I agree with your diagnosis of the problem, I think my proposed solution is quite different.

Cheers

Mike Brown said...

Hello Bryan,

First, thanks for interacting with my blogpost. If I get some spare time over the next few days, I hope to post a response to you on my blog.

Secondly, I would have to disagree with oso famoso. While your post is well-written, I hardly find it to be an "air-tight presentation of the basic problem of sola scriptura." You raise some good questions, but I believe there are good answers. One question though: have you ever read Calvin's Necessity of Reforming the Church? Just wondering.

Finally, I am curious to know how committed you were to the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone when you were at Covenant Seminary.

Peace,
Mike

Jason J. Stellman said...

Bryan,

In your view, is it even theoretically possible for the Church to be wrong? If Christ's gospel is simply what Christ's ministers teach, full stop, then that seems to prove a bit too much.

Or maybe not, I don't know. I'm curious to hear your response, though.

Cheers,

JS

Oso Famoso said...

Secondly, I would have to disagree with oso famoso. While your post is well-written, I hardly find it to be an "air-tight presentation of the basic problem of sola scriptura."

Just for clarification, the 'basic problem' of Sola Scriptura is that it all leads to private judgement and private interpretation.

No matter how one spins it...pointing to confessions and submiting to churches just adds an extra layer of semantics. It all comes down to whatever the individual interprets.

If I am wrong than I'd love to hear why I am wrong.

Principium unitatis said...

Hello Mike,

Thanks for your comment. If you post a reply to me on your blog, please drop me a note if you would. Yes, I have read Calvin's "Necessity of Reforming the Church". And I was deeply committed to sola fide while in seminary, and for six years after seminary.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Principium unitatis said...

Jason,

Good question. The Church teaches that she is protected from error in an important respect. This does not mean that the Church is infallible in every respect, nor does it mean that any individual Catholic is infallible in every respect. Even the pope is fallible in many respects, according to the Catholic Church. The Catechism (889-892) lays this out in more detail:

[BOQ] 889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly adheres to this faith."

890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:

891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. [EOQ]

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Jason J. Stellman said...

Thanks for your response, Bryan.

But at the end of the day, you became personally convinced that "the Church" has received that gift of relative infallibility, right? So I don't see how you shield yourself from the individualism with which you charge your separated Protestant brethren.

Of course, if you were born and bred RC, that might be different. But if you decided at some point in your adult life that it is the ROMAN church (and not the Genevan or Constanipolitan one) that deserves your submission, then how is that any different from my moving from proverbial Wheaton to Westminster?

Principium unitatis said...

Jason,

I receive this objection quite frequently. I discussed it briefly in my post titled "The alternative to painting a magisterial target around our interpretive arrow".

The gist of the objection is that in becoming Catholic I'm doing the same thing, i.e. interpreting the Bible and locating those persons who share my interpretation, and then placing myself under their authority.

But there is a very important difference. What is problematic in the Protestant approach is not that the individual uses his own intellect and will in making decisions about the identity and nature of the Church. We can't but use our own intellect and will in making decisions. Individualism is not equivalent to individual agency. So, that's not the issue.

The issue is the criterion by which we decide what is the true Church. The approach in the Protestant case (because in Protestantism "apostolic succession", insofar as the term is used, is thought to refer fundamentally to the doctrine of the Apostles) is to interpret Scripture (typically assuming sola scriptura) and work out what one thinks was the Apostles' doctrine, and then find a present-day community of persons who shares that doctrine. That very same sort of approach can (though rarely, I think) lead persons to the Catholic Church.

But if a person becomes a Catholic only because he sees that the Catholic Church shares his own interpretation of Scripture, he's not truly a Catholic at heart. One does not rightly become a Catholic on the grounds that one happens to believe (at present) all that the Church teaches; one rightly becomes a Catholic by believing (as an act of faith) all that the Church teaches (even if not fully understanding), because of the sacramental authority of the Catholic Church. Those who wait to become Catholic until they agree with all Catholic doctrines are thinking like a Protestant, submitting to church authority on matters of doctrine only when they agree, or picking a church based on whether it teaches what the individual already believes. They are not recognizing the sacramental authority of the Catholic Church.

So what exactly is the relevant difference between the two cases? In one case, the individual works out a set of doctrines from Scripture, and then finds those persons who are teaching it and joins their community and submits to them. In the other case, by contrast, the individual finds in history those whom the Apostles appointed and authorized, observes what they say about basis of transmission of Magisterial authority, and then traces that line of successive authorizations down through history to the present day to a living Magisterium, and then submits to what this Magisterium is teaching. In both cases the individual inquirer is using his intellect and will. But in the former case he is using his own determination of *doctrine* from Scripture to locate the Church, but in the latter case he is using the *sacramental succession* from the Apostles to locate the Church and orthodox doctrine.

Does that help shed light on the difference?

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Jason J. Stellman said...

Bryan,

Upon what do you base your view that the Church has "sacramental authority"? Is this (A) an a priori that you hold, (B) something the Bible teaches, or (C) something the Church told you is has?

If "A," then how is that different from the (supposed) Protestant a priori that Sola Scriptura is true?

If "B," then please point that passage out to me.

If "C," then I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn if you're interested.

I don't mean to be facetious because you have done a great job of answering my questions while truly demonstrating that you understand where I am coming from and are willing to interact without caricature. But I just can't get past the fact that you seem to be begging the whole question.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Principium unitatis said...

Jason,

Thanks. How much is the bridge? (just kidding) :-)

I see your three options (A, B, and C), but you don't seem to see my fourth option. The fourth option is to examine what the Church fathers said about Church authority, how it was passed from the Apostles to their successors, the bishops, and how it was passed to the next generation of bishops, etc. The fathers talk about apostolic succession quite a bit, and their understanding of it is sacramental, i.e. by a succession of authorizations through the laying on of hands by those having the authority to give. (They understood that "you can't give what you don't have to give".) That fact entails that the only valid ordinations are those in succession from the Apostles.

So, even if you don't agree, do you at least see how that is a fourth option?

(By the way, my latest post is a slightly expanded version of my previous reply to you.)

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Timothy said...

Another definitive answer on what (not who) interprets the Bible correctly:

"What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the Bible. What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike. "

Ray Ortlund, Pastor, Immanuel Church
http://christisdeeperstill.blogspot.com/2008/07/reformed-sociology.html

God bless...

Principium unitatis said...

Tim,

Thanks. You said "what (not who)", but then you referenced "Ray Ortlund". What authority does Ray Ortlund have, that we all should listen to what he says?

And let's consider Ortlund's statement:

"What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the Bible. What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike. "

He says that what unifies the church is the "gospel". But the obvious question is: "Whose determination of the gospel?" There are lots of different versions and interpretations and conceptions of the gospel. Does he mean, "Ray Ortlund's determination of the gospel."?

What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified

Whose determination of what counts as a "hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified" is authoritative? Ray Ortlund's?

These kind of answers just dance around the authority issue, but it cannot be avoided. Either one recognizes magisterial authority, or one presumes it for oneself, because no hermeneutical activity can take place apart from a personal agent. A human being must always be acting in any interpretive process. When we pretend that Scripture is doing the interpreting, and that we are not doing the interpreting, we deceive ourselves.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Mike said...

Hi Bryan,

I finally got around to responding to you on my blog.

Hope your studies are going well. Where are you pursuing your PhD?

Mike

ST said...

Great article, I just wanted to point out one thing....first of all this was written I believe in 2008 and I'm writing this in 2013....I still hope somebody may read it. Second, I read most comments but I didn't have time to go through all of them so maybe this was already mentioned. The problem is not only the private interpretation of scriptures because some protestants may say it is no different than popes private interpretation but the thing is the catholic church does not need to interpret the bible, it came after the church. It supported the oral tradition that was in place already..."it is useful" but it's not "the pillar and bulwark of truth" to quote the bible itself. So fastforward 1800 years and somebody says I have the bible I don't need the church that gave me the bible which, may I add, was put together because it supported the teaching that was in place. Pax Christi

adthelad said...

@Bryan - found your blog thanks to following Jason's post entitled 'I fought the Church, and the Church won'. Extremely illuminating to this lapsed Catholic. Many, many thanks to you and to Jason.
@ST - as you can see, someone is still reading the article and all the posts and benefiting enormously. God bless, A.

adthelad said...

I can confirm ST that someone is still reading despite the year and if I may be permitted, I would like to add this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5NT32Y-Mrk which is very informative on the subject of Sola Scriptura. Hopefully Bryan you will allow this post despite my odd 'google identity', Szczęść Boże, Adam Kosterski.