As already presented in previous posts, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a favored passage that proponents of “Bible-only” Christianity present as proof-text support for their Rule of Faith; and as such, the passage becomes instrumental for establishing the vehicle for attaining “spiritual completeness”. This concept of “spiritual completeness” is the perfecting that your groups strive for (or claim to have already obtained, depending on individual beliefs). Continue reading
As a proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ refers to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which reads:
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.
I know. You have been waiting for this! This passage, you think, is the silver bullet, the cleanup hitter, the biblical proof of all proofs! You interpret the passage as, “The Bible is all Scripture, and the Bible alone contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness.” You do not allow the “Bible only” to communicate what the passage means, you interpret it with an agenda that seeks out passages that might support your wish, and you then present your interpretation as what the Bible communicates. And as your most often-used proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, I will give it more attention than your others, but you now know what I ask of you: a reasonable approach to the passage and its context. Therefore, let us begin by addressing the full passage beginning from verse 14 through verse 17. Continue reading
Members of the Protestant Church of Christ,
As a proof for “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ presents the Bereans from Acts 17:11 as an example of proper Christians who ranked Sacred Scripture over the Church’s oral teachings. The passage is presented as a proof-text, which reads:
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11 NIV).
The Protestant Church of Christ refers to its own commentary about Acts 17:11, not the actual text, to argue for “Bible-only” Christianity. The commentary is that the Bereans were noble because they examined the Scriptures, and therefore, somehow, presumably, they must have been “Bible-only” Christians. Your group understands this verse as a lesson that teaches how Christians should always weigh teachings against Scripture, and if any teaching is not validated by one’s private interpretation of the Bible then that teaching is false, thereby establishing a higher rank of authority for Scripture than the Apostles’ teachings (and of course, places one’s private interpretation of the Scriptures over the Scriptures themselves). But that is not what the passage reveals, and it becomes clear when we back up and examine its context. Continue reading
As a proof for “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ refers to New Testament passages that include any negative portrayal of “tradition” in order to suggest an “either / or” (Scripture / Tradition) dichotomy of authority.
The Protestant Church of Christ perceives Catholic Sacred Tradition as an unbiblical rival to Sacred Scripture. Therefore, you (its members) begin not with openness to any established tradition, but rather, a scriptural quest for proof that traditions (foreign to your own) are suspicious invention of fallen men. Continue reading
Members of the Protestant Church of Christ,
The Protestant Church of Christ argues that St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians supports sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. The utilized passage reads:
I have applied all this to myself and Apol’los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another (1 Corinthians 4:6).
It is not this verse that the Protestant Church of Christ actually refers to as a proof, but only a few words within this verse: . . . not to go beyond what is written . . . , and then it re-presents the proof-fragment as a full teaching: “Do not go beyond what is written in the Bible.” There are several problems with your proof. First, nearly all New Testament references to what is written refer to the Old Testament Scriptures (just as it is in this particular case). If St. Paul meant that no Christian is to go beyond what is written in a strict “Bible-only” fashion, then this very letter that St. Paul was writing should not be considered as Scripture, yet you quote it as such. Continue reading
As a Catholic Christian, I am aware that the Christian Church pre-dates the Bible, that the Apostles preached the gospel prior to any New Testament autographs, and that Jesus perpetuated His message into all generations by establishing a primitive institutional body for which to carry His lantern; but members of the Protestant Church of Christ, I have found, have largely never thought about such facts. The Sacred Tradition is the message of God, the word of God; and her Scriptures are the word of God as well. Both are message. Both are authoritative. Both are the word of God. Continue reading
Protestant Church of Christ Arguments for New Testament Canonical Certitude, and Its Reliance on Catholic Inspiration and Authority
When pressed on matters of Bible origins and the Protestant Church of Christ’s only purported available source of revelation (the “Bible only”), your group must avoid the history of the canon’s formation; your group’s self-perceived legitimacy would be at risk if the Catholic Church were shown to be intrinsically connected with the Bible’s development. Your group is a “Bible-only” group, and your group insists that it is the nascent Church, so your group must insist that the nascent Church was a “Bible-only” Church. As such, your group does not approach the Bible as Christians normally approach it (within Liturgy); it approaches the Bible with assumption that the “Bible only” is the only source of religious truth, and therefore, the Bible must in some way establish for itself that the Bible is the full, complete, unspoiled, and self-authenticating written word of God. Continue reading