Saturday, March 13, 2021

My e-mail response:

Regarding Sola Scripture:
First, when Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives and before he entered the cloud he did NOT yell back down saying, “Oh by the way, don’t forget to read My Book!“
In fact, Jesus left no book called the New Testament, he never wrote anything down to be published and he never promised there would be a book attached to the Law and Prophets. What did Jesus leave behind when you went to heaven? He left 12 men with one of them carrying the Keys of the Kingdom (Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16). Those 12 men went out to practice and teach what they had learned from Jesus and the special charism the Holy Spirit imparted on them. What they taught and practiced became known as the Apostolic Tradition. Only 400 years later were some of their writings collected into a book of 27 writings called the New Testament.

So, How Did the First Christians Know How to Live — and Act and Be Saved — without the Book (sola scriptura)?

Second, I explain things this way because I’m a simple man. What was the source of Jewish authority? When Moses went up Mount Sinai he came down with three things from God. First, he had the written word of God on stone. Second, he had an oral tradition that was never written down but it was practiced among the Israelites as equally a revelation from God. Third, Moses came down with authority. It says in Exodus 18 that he “took his seat and judged the people.”

This was like a three legged stool. Written word, sacred tradition and authority to teach and judge. In fact, if you read my book Upon This Rock I quote one of the most prominent protestant commentaries that actually says that God gave Joseph in Egypt the infallible ability of interpretation.
 “The miraculous power of God is to be seen in the fact, that God endowed Joseph with the gift of infallible interpretation, and so ordered the circumstances that this gift opened the way for him to occupy that position in which he became the preserver, not of Egypt alone, but of his own family also.”41 
41 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, vol. 1 of Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1978), 352; emphasis added.
 Stephen K. Ray, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church, Modern Apologetics Library (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 286.
A stool needs at least three legs to stand and if you pull one or two off like the Protestants have done (removing Magisterium and Tradition) you have only the Bible left and the stool falls down. I actually demonstrate this in my movie on the Apostolic Fathers :-). Ended up with a bump on my head!

Since the Church is the new Israel it would be assumed we would have parallel structure authority. And that is the case. It is not Sola Scripture but it is the written word of God, the Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium or teaching office of the Church. Ding, ding ding! Looks a lot like Israel :-)
When they present the idea of Bible Alone they open the door to mass confusion because there is no official teacher and there is no tradition by which to put parameters around true doctrine and practice. Like Luther said, “I am my own Pope and Council!” And thus, chaos.
As history shows, millions of people lay dead in the ditch of our history because they interpreted the Bible on their own in crazy ways leading to their own destruction. In fact, I think Peter tells us that in his second encyclical entitled 2 Peter 3:15-16:  “…and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
Anyway, I’ll let others get into all of the deep Greek and Hebrew in the technological debate. I think it’s all really rather simple and that’s the reason I became Catholic.