Sola Scriptura, or the supremacy of Scripture
Sola scriptura (SS) is often attacked, especially by those who effectively hold to “sola ecclesia,” meaning the church — usually that being Roman Catholicism, but also groups like the Mormons — is the ultimate doctrinal authority. But if SS is to be attacked it should first be reasonably defined (as White, among others). The following is a typical statement of definition:
"Scripture alone is the only certain, infallible norm by which all theology, doctrine, creeds (beliefs), practice and morality of the Christian Church is to be regulated, in accordance with that which is 'either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture'..." (Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith (2001) vol 1, p. 129; emphasis mine)
The preceding is based upon the Westminster Confession which states,
“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”
Two aspects are involved in these definitions, that being the supremacy of Scripture and its sufficiency. As concerns the former, one must notice that the “only” refers to Scripture being the only certain, infallible standard or rule by which faith is governed, in distinction but not exclusion from non-infallible sources which may be helpful in interpreting the Scriptures.
As concerns sufficiency, what is conveyed is that Scripture contains all that is spiritually necessary for man's salvation and growth, the issue here being “formal” and “material” sufficiency. Formal would mean nothing else is needed, so that so that one could read Acts 10:43-47 and believe and be saved. In natural terms, the manna from Heaven provides all of man's nutritional needs, with no added fillers and supplements.
However, the manna still must be discerned, handled, eaten and digested, and which requires external helps. And therefore it is understood that while Scripture contains the whole counsel of God, its sufficiency is both formal and material, revealing things both by express teachings as well as by providing revelation out of which doctrines are derived, with the inward illumination of the Spirit of God being necessary for such, (2Tim. 2:7) with all interpretation being according to the general rules of the Word, referring to self-evident rules of exegesis (so that accounts such as Jonah and the fish are understood as historical events, contra Rome's typical rendering), “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (Mt. 13:52; 1Cor. 2:13)
While Scripture is formally sufficient to provide the truth needed for souls to be saved and to grow in holiness, yet the instrumentation of believers was necessary to pen the Scriptures, and the teaching magisterium, and the Biblical church as a whole, as it administers the Scriptural truths, is necessary for the perfection of the saints, and which the Scriptures materially provide for, even as the Scriptures establish that the “body is not one member, but many. (1Cor. 12)
And unless the statement of Westminster regarding the sufficiency of Scripture is also understood in the material sense then it would exclude the illumination of the Scriptures by the Spirit of God (and which should include His leading), and the general revelation of nature.
Therefore,contrary to how it SS is often construed, SS is not is a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge (Jn. 21:25; 2Cor. 12:4; Rev. 10:4) or that science, history cannot provide such. Nor that a historical Scriptural practice cannot be upheld. (1Cor. 11:1-16) It is not a denial of the teaching office of the church. (Acts 15). Nor must it deny that God can “speak” to believers (especially during the offering!), but that such cannot add to or contradict the Scriptures, nor does SS affirm that every single part of Scripture can be certainly and perspicuously expounded (neither does Rome's purported infallible magisterium claim such).
On the positive side, what SS most fundamentally holds to is that Scripture alone is the only infallible rule of faith and practice, it being the only objective authority that is affirmed therein to be 100% inspired by God. (2Tim. 3:16) and thus uniquely assuredly infallible. Therefore all teaching and practices must be subject to demonstrable warrant from and consistency with the Scriptures, a claim not afforded the church (but which shall be preserved like as God preserved faith among a remnant in the Old Testament.)
In contrast, while Rome (non-infallibly) teaches the material sufficiency of Scripture (though she has two differing concepts of it), she means that Scripture supports teachings that does not rest upon Scripture being the supreme objective authority, but that her magisterium is, as it teaches that it is assuredly infallible, when speaking in accordance with her infallibly defined (content and scope-based) criteria, or formula, which renders her own declaration that she is infallible to be infallible. And upon which basis Scriptural warrant and conflation need not be proved for doctrines, (and even the arguments she uses are not held as infallible themselves; only her conclusions are), but can be asserted. Consistent with this presumption, apologists for Rome argue that that she gave the Bible to the world and therefore she is the supreme and infallible interpreter of it, as well as history, and tradition.
However, a study of Scripture from the beginning reveals that both men of God and writings which were wholly inspired of God were progressively established as being such due to their enduring qualities and Divine attestation, and thus the Scriptures became the standard by which further revelation was tested. And while Scriptures establishes that the teaching magisterium was and is crucial, by the time of Jesus the faith of Israel was preserved among a remnant, and writings were recognized as inspired of God without an assuredly infallible magisterium. As needed, God raised up prophets to reprove those who sat in the seat of Moses, who in Jesus time assumed that their physical lineage and magisterial office gave them authority to teach for doctrines the commandments of men. And contrast to them, the authority of prophets was not established upon physical lineage, but by a holiness and faith which conformed to that which was written, (Mk. 11:28-30) usually along with supernatural Divine attestation. And it was all this that Jesus substantiated His authority by. (Mk. 11:28-30; Mt. 22:41-45; Jn. 5:33-36,39; 8:46
And by reproving those who gave unscriptural traditions the authority of Scripture, (Mk. 7:6-13) the Lord manifested that the stewards of the Scriptures are to be subject to it. And by His Spirit commending noble truth-loving souls who examined the very apostles teaching by the Scriptures, (Acts 17:11) and by the abundant referencing to Scripture within Scripture, and its internal complementary conformity (considering context, covenants, etc.), God evidences that the Scripture are the supreme material authority, and that the preachers of the Word are to be subject to the Scriptures.
Both Protestants and Catholicism hold to the material sufficiency of Scripture (Rome rejecting formal sufficiency), and Protestantism holds that this provides for the church and its teaching office, and which is bound to provide sound Scriptural warrant for all doctrine, substantiating doctrine by the Scriptures as Jesus and the apostles did, (Mt. 22:29-45; Lk. 24: 27,45; Jn. 5:29; Acts 17:2; 18:28; 2Cor. 4:2; Heb. 1, etc.) who also appealed to the consciences of truth-loving souls “by manifestation of the Truth,” (2Cor. 4:2), which includes manifest Divine supernatural attestation (Mk. 16:20; Act 4:33; Rm. 15:18,19) part of which are the effects of effectually believing, which the new birth produces. (Jn. 3:3-7; 4:11; Rm. 6:17,18)
As a result, those those who in practice hold to the supremacy of Scripture agree with Rome in such historical foundational essentials as are articulated in the Nicene Creed, while it is those who look to an ecclesiastical magisterium as supreme, as the LDS, WTS, et., and Rome does, that teach the most heretical doctrines and practices.
While Rome claims consistency with Scripture, her apologists deny that one can possess doctrinal certainly by them, but which her infallible magisterium assures. It is therefore even claimed that Roman Catholics need not search the Scriptures to prove the veracity of Romes' “infallibly defined truths”:
“The intolerance of the Church toward error, the natural position of one who is the custodian of truth, her only reasonable attitude makes her forbid her children to read or to listen to heretical controversy, or to endeavor to discover religious truths by examining both sides of the question." “Holding to Catholic principles how can he do otherwise? How can he consistently seek after truth when he is convinced that he holds it? Who else can teach him religious truth when he believes that an infallible Church gives him God's word and interprets it in the true and only sense? (John H. Stapleton, Explanation of Catholic Morals, Chapter XXIII. The consistent believer. p. 35, 1904; Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur, John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York )
What Rome has done is to effectively exalt herself above the Scripture by her own self-proclaimed power. That is, she infallibly declares that she is conditionally infallible, according to her infallibly defined formula, and which makes her declaration of infallibility infallible, and by such she infallible defines that her interpretation of Mt. 16:13-19, which she invokes in support of her infallibility, is itself infallible. Thus according to her incontestable interpretation, only her interpretation can be correct in any conflict, if she does say so herself. This effectively renders the Roman Catholic position to be that of “sola ecclesia”, and historically Rome has damned all those who separated from her.
Therefore, despite certain Roman Catholic apologists appeal to Scripture, as if argumentation from it was the basis for their faith, and they might be persuaded by it, in order for one to know for sure that Roman Catholicism is the assuredly infallible, they must first have a faith in the Roman Catholic magisterium, as only by them can one know salvific truth for certain. It is contradictory to appeal to Scripture as the sure means of knowing that Rome is the only sure of knowing truth. Nor can the church claim to actually be the source of Scripture anymore than it can claim to be the source of God. More on this aspect further below.
A premise behind the need for an assuredly infallible magisterium is that human reasoning in fallible, and thus left to themselves to interpret Scripture they can never be full agreement, yet the infallible magisterium requires appeal to fallible human reasoning, in convincing souls to trust it and to understand what it decrees, and church dogmas do require some interpretation. Nor does the Magisterium infallible define more than a small portion of the Bible, and varying degrees of interpretation and disagreement are allowed of Catholics matter not infallible defined. Thus, like those who hold to SS, they can only offer an infallible authority and hope that most will agree, if only fallibly, and require assent to essentials, which is a characteristic of the SS denominations, while allow limited amount of disagreement with a limited amount of the Bible.
The Magisterium also makes another source equal to Scripture, this being extra-Biblical “apostolic tradition”, which refers to an uncodified, nebulous source of claimed revelation, which no one can tell beginning or end from, much less what is all consists of, while the term “tradition” also can be seen to have evolved in its meaning as time went on.
And while Rome states that it is not permitted to any one to interpret the Sacred Scripture “contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers," yet Rome's doctrines are not all the result of unanimous consent of the fathers, but based upon her infallible position, she can choose which of the many conflicting traditions they wish to pronounce, and call it unanimous consent.
Because Rome claims to be infallible, and can not only autocratically define what the Bible says, but history as well, therefore Manning stated, “the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine. How can we know what antiquity was except through the Church?…I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness.” (Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, reprinted with no date), pp. 227-228).
Part of Manning's reasoning, and that of Roman Catholic apologists, is that the channel of truth must be preserved, and that “historical evidence and Biblical criticism are human after all”, thus necessitating an infallible authority. However, the Jewish nation had no assuredly infallible magisterium, but God preserved the faith, albeit within a remnant (as usual) and this was ultimately (as regards the human instrumentality) accomplished through real prophets (who do not depend on lineage for their office) who reproved leaders and called God's people back to Biblical faith. And i think Luther, despite his faults, served in that unction and function.
Next are responses i made to 14 objections and their texts by a certain poster, paradoxically appealing to Scriptures in order to negate its supremacy.
1. Where does the Bible claim sola scriptura?
While you seem to hold to a very restrictive definition of the breadth of the term, yet by claiming that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God”, Paul places scripture as the supreme objective authority. While Scripture itself reveals that the “Word of God” can include things not written down (though it shows that when that term is used that its revelation was almost always subsequently written), once revelation is established as being from God, it becomes the standard by which further revelation is to be tested, which we can seen in the Scriptures**, and subjective revelation is tested by the objective. While Scripture was “tradition”, yet as the canon is established as only containing inspired writings, separating “wheat” from “chaff”, and is closed, to hold oral tradition as being equal with Scripture is to effectively add to the canon.
2. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it doesn't say that Scriptura is sufficient, just that it is profitable i.e. Helpful.
It is amazing that an authority which is able to save damned souls, and is given “that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” is held to be deficient, and its authority subject to a self-proclaimed authority. Rome itself holds that Scripture is materially sufficient, but rejects that it is subject to it, but teaches such unwarranted and unScriptural practices as praying to departed saints (dealt with later). However, if we begin in v. 14 we see that, having exhorting Timothy to continue in what Paul taught him, he invokes Scripture, as Paul's writings were Scripture, (2Pet. 3:16) the canon being yet open, and consistent with it. Moreover, preachers today may enjoin obedience to their preaching, conditional upon it being demonstrably Scriptural. And those who hold to SS are those most fervent defenders of the orthodox truths we both agree on, while again, Rome finds itself on the wrong side of the fence by promulgating doctrines that like cults, are the result of holding a church office as a higher authority than Scripture.
In contrast to the evidence to the supremacy of Scripture, nowhere does the Bible state that whatever the church may declare is infallible, , according to its structural and contextual formula, is therefore infallible. Nor does it otherwise establish sola ecclesia, which is effectively the Roman Catholic position, much less as manifested by her. Rather, the doctrinal teaching of the New Testament church is established by Scriptural substantiation and supernatural power, not self-proclamation. (Acts 15) As regards power, like as with Moses, the authority of the instruments of new doctrinal revelation in the New Testament were incontestably attested to by manifest supernatural power, as well as Scriptural probity and their own holiness. (Rm. 15:19; 2Cor. 6:1-10). While often scorned, the fact that the Bereans who examined the apostles teaching by the Scripture were commended by God (Acts 17:11) is one example among others which shows they were not above Scripture, and their infallibility did not truly rest upon self-pronouncement.
3. Where else do we have the term "sola scriptura" in the Bible?
Right after the word “Bible” or “Trinity” or other Biblically derived terms, while Rome has multitudes of terms such as “transubstantiation” or “indulgences” which she claims validity for.
4. Matthew 15 - Jesus condemns corrupt tradition, not all tradition. At no point is the basic notion of tradition condemned.
No, it was not simply corrupt tradition that Jesus condemned, but that which makes tradition corrupt, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” — presuming authority to teach that which Scripture does not warrant, and is contrary to it, this being what the Jewish magisterium did. (Mk. 7:6-9) And which was not infallible, though obedience to their authority was conditionally upheld. (Mt. 23:2)
5. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter"
See second paragraph under 2. Enjoining obedience to Scriptural teaching, which the manifestly God-ordained apostles are established as teaching, with an open canon, does not disestablish the supremacy of Scripture and establish a teaching office that is not demonstrably subject to prior Scriptural revelation, but promotes implicit trust in itself as if it were Scripture.
6. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 note that the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth is The Church of the Living God.
The church would not exist except by faith in the truth, but using a verse which is evidenced elsewhere to mean the church is grounded in and supports the truth, Catholicism extrapolates a doctrine which effectively renders her to be a higher authority than Scripture, autocratically infallibly defining both the extent of revelation and its meaning, by which they confer infallibly to teaching which is not Scriptural, based upon her unwarranted proclamation that she is (conditionally) infallible.
7. Nowhere does Scripture reduce God's word down to Scripture ALONE. Instead the Bible tells us in many places that God's authoritative Word is found in The Church: in Tradition (2 Th 2:15, 3:6) and in the Church teaching (1 Pet 1:25, 2 Pet 1:20-21, Mt 18:17). This supports the Church principle of sola verbum Dei, 'the Word of God alone'
By understanding that there is information that is outside the Bible, SS does not hold that all that the word of God may refer to is explicitly written therein, but holds that all such revelation is subject to it. And by appealing to Scripture to prove that the word of God encompasses more than what is precisely written, the poster has assigned the higher authority to Scripture.
8. The New Testament was compiled at the Council of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397, both of which sent off their judgments to Rome for the Pope's approval.
See #10. Which books reprove Rome, and do not establish her as the one true church. The LDS likewise appeals to their living prophet, and the historical argument claimed by Rome is specious. While the logic behind the poster's statement is that the compilers and stewards of Scripture make them the unique authoritative infallible interpreters of it, yet according to this logic we should all be in Judaism, as unlike Rome, they were explicitly stated to be its stewards. (Rm. 3:2; 9:4)
9. Yet, the people HAD the Canon, the Word of God before the scriptures were compiled, and even before some were written
What you mean is before the canon of Scripture was compiled, but unless we are not dealing with space or time, one cannot materially have that which did not exist. The Old Testament canon did exist, without Rome's help or an infallble magisterium, as is internally attested to in the New Testament.
10. Books that were revered in the 1st and 2nd centuries were left out of canon. Books like the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Acts of Paul. Why?
A question reiterated much. Because they failed to sufficiently manifest plenary Divine inspiration. And if they had this quality, no ecclesiastical decrees could render them obscure (a point reiterated much). Here it is important to realize that (despite da Vince Code nonsense) the Scriptures themselves were not the work of a formal church committee, charged with formulating doctrine, but were written by men, sovereignly chosen by God, and were realized as being the word of God due to their accompanying as well as enduring power and unique transformative effects in those who trust and obey, predictive fulfillments, historical accuracy, and overall complementarity but not contradictory internal consistency, and attestation by those who exhibited the manner of Godliness and power which are consistent with that revelation.
While each writing does not equally share each quality, yet like a wind orchestra, each has its own distinctive sound and human instrumentation, but the breath is of God, and the conductor is the Holy Spirit, and together they play the complex but complementary revelatory hymn of God, and to His glory.
One should consider how the Old Testament writings came to be regarded as Scripture, and that it was so by the time of Jesus is evidenced by their referencing it as Scripture (see below). The way Divine writings were established as being from God was like the way God Himself was established as being God, (Ex. 9:16; 10:1,2; 15:11; 18:10,11; Num. 14:13-23; Dt. 2:25; 4:7,8; 11:22,23,25; 28:8-10; Josh. 2:9-11; 9:9,24; Neh. 9:10; 1Sam. 17:46,47; 1Kg. 8:60) and men of God and their claims were established as being of God. (Josh. 1:5; 6:27; 1Ki 17:24; Lk. 4:32; Jn. 5:39,46; 14:11; Acts 2:16-21,25-28; 43; 5:15; 17:2,11; 28:23; Rm. 15:19; 2Cor. 12:12)
By such Scriptural and supernatural attestation, any spiritual authority must be established, in proportion to its claims. Most essentially, if the gospel is not that which we see preached in such places as Acts, and does not effect transformative conversions as seen in Scripture - the type of "soil" being taken into consideration - and often in the same hour it was heard (though "prep work" can take some time), then it is not the gospel of Christ.
In short, God spoke to Abraham, and proved it was from Him, likewise with Moses, Jesus and the apostles, as men who provided new teachings and affirmed prior ones. While some or most of Scripture was once oral tradition, it is abundantly evidenced that what was revealed as "the word of God/the Lord" was typically written down,** and once such was established, it became the standard for the “obedience of faith”, (Dt. 28:58; Ps. 19:7-11; 119: all; Col. 4:16; 1Thes. 5:27; 2Thes. 3:14; etc.) and the authority which further truth claims would be consistent with**, (Is. 8:20; Lk. 24:44; Jn. 5:39,46; 7:52; Acts 17:2,11; 18:28; 28:23; etc.) often with accompanying supernatural attestation, (Dt. 9:10; Acts 2:43; 4:33; Rm. 21:4; 15:19; Heb. 2:3) but never the latter allowing anything that contradicted the former to be confirmed, nor by itself, which can be deceptive: Ex. 7:11; 8:7,18; 2Thes. 2:9-11), with principles of exegesis also being manifested.
While church decrees can be helpful, these cannot make a book inspired by God, nor deprive one from being so if it is indeed wholly inspired. Rather than owing its inspiration or the regard of it as such to conciliar decrees, it is their inherent qualities that have resulted in the “menu” of the manna from Heaven being on the “best seller” list of of souls whose hearts and lives most conform to it, and defeating its competition.
There are two ways basic to ensure the enduring perpetuation of a book being read. One is by mandate by earthly authority, and the other is by relying on freedom to choose to hear and read it. The 66 books of the Bible are a result of the latter, while the 7 extra book are much due to the former, though Roman Catholics (and institutionalized Protestants) tend to be Scripturally illiterate as whole, and are discouraged from acting as the noble Bereans, and or are not motivated from within. As quoted before, “Who else can teach him religious truth when he believes that an infallible Church gives him God's word and interprets it in the true and only sense?”
While there is no conflict between Catholics and Protestants in regards to the 66 books of the Protestant Bible, Rome itself was substantially divided* on the canonicity of the 7 books she includes, from before Jerome (who rejected them) up until the time Trent defined the Roman Catholic canon, apparently by a majority vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstaining (by a vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstaining. (Metzger,''The Canon of the New Testament,''p. 246) which was the first “infallible” definition, over 1400 years after the last book was given. And in so doing, it arguably chose to follow a weaker tradition in pronouncing the apocryphal books to be inspired.
*The earliest and best authorities, including the translator of the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible, St. Jerome, opposed the Apocrypha. No council of the entire church during the first four centuries cast their vote in favor of them (until Hippo, 393, and Carthage, 397, under Augustine's influence) and they were strongly opposed by Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Origen, and Jerome, and the Syrian church did not accept them until the 4th century. The situation remained unclear in the ensuing centuries. John of Damascus, Gregory the Great, Walafrid, Nicolas of Lyra and Tostado, Cardinal Cajetan and others doubted or rejected the canonicity of the apocryphal books.
**Partial list of references to Divine written revelation being written (Scripture) and references to it: Ex. 17:14; 24:4,7,12; 31:18; 32:15; 34:1,27; 35:29; Lv. 8:36; 10:10; 26:46; Num. 4:5,37,45,49; 9:23; 10:13; 15:23; 16:40; 27:23; 33:2; 36:13; Dt. 4:13; 5:22; 9:10; 10:2,4; 17:18,19; 27:3,8; 28:58,61; 29:20,21,27; 30:10; 31:9,11,19,22,26; Josh. 1:8; 8:31,32,34,35; 10:13; 14:2; 20:2; 21:2; 22:9; 23:6; 24:26; Jdg. 3:4; 1Sam. 10:25; 2Sam. 1:8; 1Ki. 2:3; 8:53,56; 12:22; 2Ki. 1:8; 14:6; 17:37; 22:8,10,13,16; 23:2,21; 1Ch. 16:40; 17:3,9; 2Ch. 23:18; 25:4; 31:3; 33:8; 34:14,15,18,21,24; 34:30; 35:6,12; Ezra 3:2,4; 6:18; Neh. 6:6; 8:1,3,8,15,18; 9:3,14; 10:34,36; 13:1; Psa. 40:7; Is. 8:20; 30:8; 34:16; 65:6; Jer. 17:1; 25:13; 30:2; 36:2,6,10,18,27,28; 51:60; Dan. 9:11,13; Hab. 2:2;
Mat. 1:22; 2:5,15; 3:3; 4:4,6,7,10,14; 8:4,17; 11:10; 12:3,5,17; 13:35; 19:47,8; 21:4,13,16,42; 22:24,29,31; 24:15; 26:24,31,54,56; 27:9,34; Mark 1:2,44; 7:3,10; 9:12,13; 10:4,5; 11:17; 12:10,19,24,26 13:14; 14:21,47,49; Lk. 2:3,22,23; 3:4; 4:4,8,10,16,17,20; 5:14; 7:27; 10:26; 16:29,31; 18:31; 19:46; 20:17,28,37,42; 22:37, 24:22.27,32,44,45,46; Jn. 1:17,45; 2:17; 3:14; 5:39,45-47; 6:31,32,45; 7:19,22,23,42,52; 8:5,17; 12:14; 10; 34; 12:14,16; 15:25; 20:31; 21:24; Acts 1:20; 2:16-21,25-28,34,35; 3:22; 7:42; 8:28,30,32; 7:42; 3:33; 13:29,33,39; 15:5,15,21; 17:2,11; 18:24,28; 21:24; 23:5; 24:14; 26:22; Rom 1:2,17; 2:24; 3:4,10; 4:3,17,23; 8:36; 9:3,13,15,17,,33; 10:5,11,15,19; 11:2,8,26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:3,4,9,21; 16:16,26,27; 1Cor. 1:19,31; 2:9; 3:19; 4:6; 9:9,10; 10:7,11; 14:21; 15:3,4,45,54; 2Cor. 1:13; 2:3,4; 3:7,15; 4:13; 7:12; 8:15; 9:9; Gal. 3:10,13; 4:22,27; Eph. 3:3,4; Col. 4:16; 1Thes. 5:27; 2Tim. 3:15; Heb. 7:28; 8:5; 10:7,28; 13:22; 1Pet. 1:16; 5:12; 2Pet. 3:15,16; 1Jn. 2:21; 5:13; Rev. 1:3,11; 22:6,7;10,18,19 (Note: while the Bible reveals that there is revelation which is not written down, (2Cor. 12:4; Rv. 10:4) yet interestingly, i know of no place where the phrase “the word of God” or “the word of the Lord” refers to unwritten revelation that was not subsequently written down.)
11. There were disputes over 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation, yet they are in Scripture. Whose decision was trustworthy and final, if the Church doesn't teach with infallible authority?
Actually the issue is not that the church does not teach with infallible authority, as it does if “church” is Biblically defined, and its teaching is demonstrably Scriptural (by which certain of Rome's teaching is shown to be true), but the real issue is that of the basis for Rome's claim to be infallible, which is circular.
As for the rest of the question, once again, it was not because of a 15thcentury “infallible” definition that rendered the inclusion of these books trustworthy and final (and it did take Rome that long), but as with men of God, it is be the enduring manifestation of the power of such books, consistent with what had previously been established as Scripture, that effectively established them.
12. How are Protestants sure that the 27 books of the New Testaments are themselves the infallible Word of God if fallible Church councils and Patriarchs are the ones who made up or approved the list (leaving out the Acts of Paul, yet leaving in Jude and Revelation)?
13. Or do Protestants have a fallible collection of infallible documents? And how do they know that Jude is infallible? And how do they know that the Epistle of Barnabas is not?
See #10 and11. Just as doctrines such as are expressed in the Nicene creed are held by those who hold to SS, versus cults who typically practice submission to man as above the Scriptures, so the 66 books of the Bible are upheld, while the now obscure extra ones which Rome finally officially affirmed are rejected. All of the solemn decrees of man cannot declare mud to be food, but that which gives life is known by its effects among those to eat it. And despite Rome's attempts to suppress the Bible in the vernacular at times (she did), the written Word of God cannot long be bound.
The question for Roman Catholics is, on what basis can one know for sure that Rome is infallible? And is there an infallible list of all infallible doctrines?
14. Eph. 4:11–15.
This is not at all contrary to SS, but instead the teaching office is affirmed by use of SS, as well as the subjection of all that is claimed to be from God to that objective authority which alone is affirmed to be wholly inspired of God.
the Bible doesn’t teach that whole categories of doctrines are "minor" and that Christians freely and joyfully can disagree in such a fashion.
Not whole categories of doctrines, but aspect of them. Preaching “another gospel” than that which was revealed to Paul damns one, (Gal. 1:6-9) but how fre man's will is not made as clear, nor is it as weighty, as long as once believes salvation is purely by God's grace, and not due to any merit of man's works. Rome itself makes a distinction between primary and secondary teachings, “infallibly” defined the most foundational, while allowing for varying degrees of dissent on others. See last response here.
And as very little of the Bible has been infallibly defined, and no infallible complete list exists of all that is such, “the Catholic Bible interpreter has...a great deal of liberty, as only a few interpretations will be excluded with certainty by any of the four factors circumscribing the interpreter’s liberty.” (Jimmy Akin, Catholic apologist)
Holy Tradition is subordinate to Scripture and in no way contradicts it.
One need go no further than the tradition of praying to departed saints.
1. There are zero examples in Scripture, among the multitude of prayers in the Bible, where any believer prayed to (petitioned to pray) anyone else in heaven but the Lord.
2. There exists no place where exhortations, commands or instruction on prayer directed believers to pray to the departed. (“i.e. “Our mother, who art in heaven...”)..
3. In no place is it shown that believers do not have direct access to Christ, or where any insufficiency exists in Christ that would require or advantage another intercessor in heaven between Christ and man. (He. 2:17,18; 4:14-16; 7:25)
4. In no place are departed souls in heaven evidenced as interceding for the supplicants upon requests to them.
5. Supplications to beings in heaven besides God are instead condemned, as only pagans did such. (Jer 44:19)
6. Communication that took place between earthlings and heavenly beings besides God were in the context of personal visitation, on earth or as in a vision.
7. Believers are not crowned in heaven yet, (2Tim. 4:8; 1Pt. 5:4) and Mary as the Heavenly demi-goddess and object of faith and prayer is more akin to paganism's “queen of heaven” (Jer. 44:17-25) than anything we see attributed to mortal beings or even angels in Scripture. In which the ONLY heavenly object of prayer is the LORD, and we are directed to the LORD Jesus who is singularly exalted as our al sufficient and ceaseless and compassionate and worthy intercessor. (Heb. 2:18; 4:14-16; 7:25)
Revelation 8:3 show[s] those in heaven sending the prayers to God. If God had received them directly there would be no need for the Angels to send them up to God.
See also Rev. 8:4. In the absence of any example of any believer praying to anyone else in heaven but the Lord, or instructions thereto, Rev. 8:3 is invoked in support of prayer to the depart, as its presumes that this shows that God had not received them directly, and thus there is need for the angels to send them up to God, and out of which the need for departed saints as intercessors is then extrapolated.
At best, this might inspire but not sanction prayer to angels, but this does not show the need for praying to such as intercessors, or otherwise establish that God does not directly receive individual prayers, any more than the Old Testament saints had to wait for the priest to offer up incense, (Lev 16:12,13; Lk. 1:9,10) this being emblematic of prayer, ( Psa. 141:2; Rev. 5:8) before God would receive them.
The angels here are not making intercession for others, nor continually gathering batches of "knee mail" for God to answer, and the subject here is not about answering prayer. Rather, the angelic function here is understood as collectively offering the prayers with incense as a memorial, representing the pleas of the saints, preparatory for judgment upon the earth which hated them.
In Rev. 5:8 we see that the 24 elders have "golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints" and it is again in a memorial sense, just David said that God had all his tears in His bottle. (Ps. 56:8)
Rather than having batches of prayers constantly being delivered for God to answer, the Bible declares that believers may "come boldly before the throne of grace," (Heb. 4:15) being able to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (Heb. 10:19) which certainly does not infer rerouting of an angelic secretary. Praise the Lord, to whom we are exhorted to draw nigh to, (Ja. 4:8) and not to angels or any others. The temple is where God met with man.
As for intercessors, it is Jesus who ever makes priestly intercession for the redeemed, (Heb. 7:25) as His Spirit in the saints makes intercession for them according to the will of God. (Rm. 8:26,27)
Argument by analogy
The idea that souls need a heavenly intermediary between themselves and Christ being unsupported and contrary to the immediacy and sufficiency of Christ, therefore the argument for praying to saints in heaven is derived from analogy, that just as believers ask each other to pray for them on earth, so this must spiritually take place between saints in the heavenly and earthly realm. However, besides the utter lack of evidence as referred to in #4, this analogy would also sanction anything that human interdependence on earth requires, which assumes much.
Another attempt is Mat 27:47, when some Judaizers say that Jesus was calling for for Elias, which would be most typically to discredit him, or a reflecting of superstition. Incredibly, in another attempt, 1Tim. 2:1 is actually interpreted to be a request for the departed to to pray!
Meanwhile, Irenaeus wrote:
“Nor does she [the church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Against Heresies, 2:32:5, 4:18:60
The idea of departed souls hearing and answering prayer, or any believer praying to them is not in Scripture, nor the need to, and the Bible evidences this as a practice among the pagans, which implicitly charges the Holy Spirit with neglect for not exampling or instructing that for believers. Thus the argument for it looks to tradition, though this nor the Assumption of Mary enjoyed the often invoked unanimous consent of the fathers, but its real basis is Rome’s declaration of its supreme authority to teach such, and which rests on her own declaration of infallibility, not upon the premise that her authority is dependent on demonstrable Scriptural warrant and concurring testimony. That is, according to our infallible interpenetration (of Scripture, history and tradition) we declare that we are infallible (within a certain infallibly stated formula) and so such an interpretation can be the only right one in any conflict.
John 6:53 Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
This would require the Eucharist to be born again, and requires Jesus to literally eat the fathers flesh, which example He sets forth a analogous to this command. (Jn. 6:57; cf. Mt. 4:4; Jn 4:34) Your interpretation depends upon rejection of the use of allegories. See http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/The_Lord%27s_Supper.html
Raygunfan: scripture alone led to divisions galore even in luther’s time, he even noticed it...and it continues to this day.
Catholics can actually disagree to a certain point with certain classes of Rome's teachings, while her unity is most universally that they belong to the Roman Catholic Institution, while doctrinally it is largely one of paper, as priests and laity often substantially dissent from even official teaching. And have divisions themselves, But as evangelicals (being a class that in practice hold to the supremacy of Scripture) most universally require belief in certain basic truths, with denial being heresy, while allowing a limited amount of disagreement in limited areas, so the dogmas of Rome's infallible Sacred Magisterium (infallible teaching of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Magisterium by the Pope, Solemn definitions of Ecumenical Councils, or the ordinary universal Magisterium) require an assent of faith (or “theological assent”), with the opposite being heresy, while the “ordinary assent” (or religious submission of will and intellect) which is required for non-infallible teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium may allow for a limited amount of dissent, as such teachings may contain error and are subject to revision or even revocation, while those of the General Magisterium may include the possibility of significant error. Source..