"SJ" Responds Again, So Does Scott:

At 02:23 AM 03/01/2003 -0500, SJ wrote:

In a message dated 2/28/03 11:27:30 PM Mountain Standard Time, bigscott writes:

(quoting me first:)
sw: 1) As I pointed out to you the first time, technically speaking there is no such thing as "solo scriptura." You're using Latin here, and in Latin the genders of the words must match. You can't take the masculine "solo" and use it with the feminine "scriptura," that's a linguistic no-no. Essentially, "sola" and "solo" are the same word with different gender connotations. 2) I must assume that your point here is that you believe my argument is that Protestants believe the Bible is the ONLY Word of God, but I would challenge you to find such a statement in any of my argumentation. 3) One of the chief objections to sola scriptura is the fact that there is no single definitive definition. Even James White, whose discourse you read in my reply, freely admits that most Protestants don't have a clue about what sola scriptura REALLY means. One has to ask, "If sola scriptura is so foundational to Protestantism, then why is the definition of it so evasive?" 4) The definition of sola scriptura that I have found most Evangelicals agree to is: "The Scriptures are the sole infallible Word of God, and as such are to be the sola regula fidei - or the sole rule of faith." Sola scriptura is NOT a teaching that there are no other authorities - only that there are no other infallible authorities.

sj: You just committed the fallacy of equivocation here because elsewhere you write:

sw: That's not a response. You claim the equivocation fallacy, and then say "elsewhere you write" - but nowhere do you point out where there is an equivocation.

<< sw: I fully understand the difference between solo and sola scriptura - actually, literally speaking, there is no such thing as "solo" scriptura - the genders don't match.

sj: First you say that you understand the difference, and then you say there is no difference. Which is it?

sw: I understand the difference that some evangelicals attempt to make regarding "solo" vs. "sola." Linguistically it is improper. If you're going to use the English "solo" instead of the Latin "solo" - then to be consistent you should say "solo Scripture," or to make the change to English complete, "Scripture Only." I realize that most who call themselves "Evangelicals" reject "Scripture Only," and elect to use a more watered down "The Scriptures are the sole (inherently) infallible rule of faith." This other novel definition does not say there is no other rule of faith, only that the Scriptures stand alone as the only (inherent) infallible rule of faith.

sj: Second, the word solo is used in the English form and sola is used in the Latin form. It is a play on words to show the difference between what Mathison refers to as tradition 0, or just the bible and my particular interpretation/denomination divorced from any real ecclesiastical bonds, creeds, confessions, etc. That is what distinguishes most evangelicals with classical Protestantism.

sw: I've addressed the Latin/English linguistic faux paux you (and assumably Mathison) has fallen into. I am not quite sure what you're saying about your particular interpretation/denomination (being) divorced from any real ecclesiastical bonds, creeds, confessions, etc. Are you saying you have no ties to orthodox Christianity?

sj: Second, I would agree with your definition of sola scriptura, except I would add that Scripture is inherently our only inspired, infallible, inerrant, etc. rule of authority. I want to make this clear, because the Reformers didn't deny that that church could make infallible judgments, but that she was not inherently infallible. Whenever she speaks according to the Word of God, she is infallible. Obviously, fallible people can make infallible judgments.

sw: I find this interesting. Most evangelicals that I have spoken with do not give any such authority to the Church.

(sj continues quoting me:)
sw: No, I am presenting the fact that sola scriptura itself is not a scriptural teaching. No straw man there, no non-sequitor, just a plain and simple fact.
sj: Scripture teaches it is God-breathed. What you need to do is show me where post-apostolic tradition is inspired. Remember inspiration is a heavier term that infallibility. I can be infallible, but not inspired. If I am inspired, I am infallible and inerrant.

sw: I believe you're just mincing words here. If the Church has spoken infallibly on something, we believe she was so inspired to do so by God.

(sj continues quoting me:)
sw: First off, this is not a game, next, I assume you're asking "where" does the Bible teach Apostolic succession? I answer that two ways. 1) I am not bound by sola scriptura, I have no requirement to show my faith from Scripture alone. 2) Acts 1:16-26. Judas held an "office" or "bishoprick" that according to OT Scripture, HAD to be filled. "And his ministry let another take." Clearly, even if we held to sola scriptura, we find Apostolic succession in even Judas' office - why would we assume there is no succession in the other Apostolic offices? Now, go to the earliest of the Early Church Fathers - and what do they almost ALWAYS point to to show their orthodoxy? They point to their valid succession to the Apostles sj: Unfortunately Scott, I asked for Scriptural authority for you to show me Apostolic succession ( I said two can play at that game). You gave me Judas. But that was not succession for the simple reason that his office was not one of succession but replacement.

sw: Again, you're mincing words - a "replacement" IS a "successor." If someone replaces you in your office, and takes YOUR office, then he is your successor.

sj: Even if it did teach Apostolic succession, it would just show how the "Apostle" Judas was not infallible.

sw: No Apostle is infallible 100% of the time. Catholics don't even claim the Pope is ALWAYS infallible, in fact we believe that popes can and DO make mistakes. sj: This is a classic argument reduction ad absurdum. Clearly then, you interpreted that passage wrongly.

sw: Again, you use these college terms, but you don't demonstrate how the labels fit. If you wish me to take your argumentation as valid, then please use complete arguments.

(sj continues quoting me:)
sw: James White openly admits that sola scriptura was not practiced by Jesus, the Apostles nor was it practiced by the Early Church Fathers during the process of inscripturation. (I only bring up White again because you initiated this discussion from my response to him). As far as getting the book, I would accept it should someone give me a copy and would read it, but I will not be going out to purchase it. I have been debating this subject for over a decade and a half - I doubt Keith will offer anything different than I have seen before - but as I said, I would look at it if I had it. sj: Again, we are not debating, or I hope we are not debating whether or not Divine Revelation ended with the Apostles. We both agree on that.

sw: Do we? Catholics do not believe all Divine revelation ended with the Apostles - but we do assert that all "public" revelation ceased with the Apostles. Private revelation is ongoing, but not binding. Private revelation is inspired as well - but it's private, hence cannot be binding on all Catholics.

sj: Second, what you need to show me is where the early church fathers taught anything other then the Scriptural content in post-apostolic tradition. That is the whole premise of Keith's book. Mathison shows how the term "sola scriptura" was a return to the regula fidei coined by the early church in general and Ireneaus in particular.

sw: St. Irenaeus never used the term "sola scriptura." So, I take it you like St. Irenaeus? Do you accept what he said about the Eucharist, or did he "go beyond Scripture?" He interprets the Eucharist exactly the way Catholics do today:

"Christ has declared the cup... to be His own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies. If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could He rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be His Body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is His Blood?" (Against Heresies Book V, cited on: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/cathapol/nsagots4.htm)
sw: And what is St. Irenaeus writing about? "Against Heresies." St. Irenaeus would have been, no IS against your heretical view of the Eucharist. But I am digressing from the original topic, so I won't pursue this further.

sj: Also, i want to add that trying to limit sola scriptura to the written texts is solo scriptura. In other words, we believe that the church didn't teach anything outside of Scriptural content. If i go to India and preach justification after either reading or hearing the Apostle Paul teach about it, am i teaching anything outside of Scriptural content on justification? Not on your life.

sw: You have just stated your support for Scripture Only (or as you say, "solo scriptura"). You have stated you would not and should not teach anything that is not contained within the Scriptures. Then you have no support for any position (pro or con) on subjects like contraception, cloning, invitro fertilization, etc. The Scriptures are silent on these matters.

(sj continues quoting me:)
sw: Actually, the debate of the 16th Century was over authority. Luther defied the authority in Rome, and to justify and/or rationalize his position, he had to show a different authority - so he invented sola scriptura. Consider this fact, IF sola scriptura truly was so foundational to the Christian Faith AND Latin was the primary language of the Church from very early on and even past Luther's day - why are the words "sola scriptura" completely non-existent until the 16th century? One would think that such an important doctrine that can so easily be summed up in two words would have been commonly used in the common language of the Church LONG before the 16th century.
sj: Sola Scriptura was not a necessary theological distinctive until Rome began introducing her novel form of tradition, what Mathison and Oberman term Tradition 2.

sw: Again, I am not familiar with Mathison and Oberman, if you wish to introduce these as references then you need to do more than name-drop. You need to provide quotation and citation. Now, when are you saying this event took place? You're answering my claim that it didn't happen (the invention of sola scriptura) until the 16th century, so are you saying that this doctrine did not come about, because it was "not a necessary theological distinctive" until the 16th century? Please clarify and be precise as possible when you feel sola scriptura became a "necessary theological distinctive."

sj: Like I said, the Reformation was not about Scripture vs. tradition, but Scripture vs. a novel form of tradition that saw the Church has having an infallible charism to tap into some esoteric oral tradition that had equal authority as Scripture. To that the Reformers said Sola Scriptura!

sw: You seem to be quite evasive here, correct me if I am wrong. Again I have to insist that you inform me of exactly when sola scriptura came about. It appears, again, that you're saying it is something that came about in the 16th century based on some "novel" approach the Catholic Church had taken at that time. So, what was this "novel form of tradition" that the "Reformers" responded to with "sola scriptura?"


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