Round 4 - Final Arguments - Scoring Copy - Antony|
Thesis Statement in BLUE
Valid Documentation in RED
Closing Summary in PURPLE
Non-considered statements in GREY
Invalid arguments (-5 points each, up to 25 points) in PINK
Moderator comments in ORANGE
My final round of ammunition will be using the fire extinguisher of Sola Scriptura, to put out the flame Verga ignited when he struck the match and demanded that an unequivocal verse state that the Scriptures are the Christian’s ultimate authority.
As previously mentioned, a virtual declaration of Sola Scriptura in principle, is found in 1 Corinthians 4:6, admonishing us to, ”not go beyond that which is written." Frustratingly, I received no reply. (Well, 1 Cor 4:6 was probably THE strongest statement Antony made! While I agree it is frustrating that Verga did not answer it, equally frustrating is the FACT that Antony brought it up in his Opening Statement, and with FOUR other rounds prior to the Closing Arguments, he didn’t bring it up again until the Closing Argument! While it would have been nice to see a bit more debate on THIS point, it was not Verga’s responsibility to drive this point home - it most certainly was Antony’s, and as it turns out, a missed opportunity not just for him, but for those reading along. I must also add, IF Mr. Antony had STOPPED HERE, I would be inclined to give him FULL CREDIT for this section of the debate! But, since he goes on, and uses some invalid arguments, he does lose points - KNOWING your thesis and STICKING TO IT is important in debate!). The Lord Jesus Christ gave us a brain and expects us to connect the dots (Jn 12:16; 13:19). For example, all the evidence for the Trinity is there, yet the actual word is not. But if my opponent doesn't object to Trinitarian phraseology, why should he object to Sola Scriptura? (Antony is actually arguing FOR Sacred Tradition now!) The persistent and unrelenting virtues of God's word overwhelm us like a flood and we drown in it’s irrepressible glory. All Verga has done is to propose drowning the gentle reader into an ocean of multiplied layers of bureaucracy and unidentifiable tradition that forms an impenetrable barrier between the believer and the will of God. Sounding the trumpet for the need of an infallible interpreter, we stand aghast that this man expects readers of this debate to understand what HE says and what HE means---but without an interpreter! One could only wish that he'd extend the same courtesy to the inspired writers of the Bible! (Again, THIS debate is NOT about Verga’s position! THIS debate is about answering the question “Is sola scriptura biblical?” Therefore this is an wholly invalid point to attempt to make - for THIS debate. -5 points).
Connecting the dots to my opening statement that human memory in unreliable, the grandeur and lucidity of Sola Scriptura is captured in the rediscovery of the written law in 2 Kings 22:8 and following. The King of Judah was shocked no one had been obedient to it and he humbled himself to do what was written. Clearly, any oral tradition had completely failed. Humans were not given memory banks that resemble our computer's hard drive. They have restrictive boundaries. That being the case, God would never trust His testimonies be put into anything less than "tables of stone" (Deut 4:13, John 10:35)---since a propensity to forget God's word is epidemic (Deut 4:9; 23; 31; 6:12, 8:11, 8:14, 8:19, 9:7, 32:18, Judges 3:7, 1 Sam 12:9, Job 8:13, Psalm 9:17; 50:22; 78:7; 78:10-11; 103:2; 106:13; 21; 119:16; 139; Prov 3:1, Isa 17:10; 51:12-13, Jer 3:21; 13:25; 18:15; 23:27; Ezek 22:12; 23:35, Hosea 2:13; 4:6; 8:14; 13:6, Heb 12:5). (Again, this is NOT a debate about Sacred Tradition and/or the value [or lack thereof] in Sacred Tradition. To attempt to make this point is a red herring - which is invalid in debate. -5 points).
Connecting the dots, we witness the unreliability of human memory naturally resulting in the unreliablity of oral tradition found in John 21. While Verga mentioned this chapter, he neglected two key elements that dismantle his position. The record indicates that Jesus told Peter that if He desired that John should stay alive, that's the Lord's business. But the oral tradition that flurried about was incorrect! "So word went out among the brethren that this disciple should not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but 'If I want him to live until I come, what is that to you?" (vs. 23). Instantly, we see that oral transmission was being corrupted even before the canon was completed. This proves what I've been saying all along about Tradition being indeterminate and liable to become adulterated with every form of error. This is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit was sent: "to bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (Jn 14:26). My opponent cannot counter-point that those things brought to memory are the unwritten traditions of the RCC, for the simple reason that he has not and cannot identify what they are! (More irrelevance attacking Sacred Tradition - which is NOT the theme of THIS debate. I’ve already deducted 5 points for this, so I’ll not do it again, but I am bringing out the red herring again).
I am then referred to John 21:25, where "all the paper in the world" could not contain all the things done by Jesus Christ. But by connecting the dots, we discover that this is a completely gratuitous attempt to sneak extra-biblical tradition in through the back door. As a matter of fact, that Jesus did many other things which were not recorded, is completely irrelevant to disprove Sola Scriptura. Verga omits vs. 31: that while the Lord did many other things "not written in this book", THESE ARE written, that ye might believe." (Invalid because this is inaccurate, there is no verse 31 in John 21! As Verga pointed out, John 21:25 is the LAST VERSE in John’s book! Even if we go to Antony’s next reference of John 5, verse 31 does not say what he’s saying here, verse 34 comes close, but even there, it’s not what Antony said. -5 points). In other words, searching the infallible word is sufficient to find the answer to eternal life (Jn 5:39). Moreover, it would be an impossible task for the average person to search out tradition anyway, because
"By its sheer volume, Catholic "sacred tradition" outweighs the Bible by about 150 to 1. Not easily accessible to the average person (and much in dead and foreign languages) it consists of at least 35 volumes of Greek and Latin church fathers; another 35 volumes of church councils and decrees; about 25 volumes of papal sayings; about 55 volumes of the saints; some 150 volumes in all." All of this results in God's will becoming out of reach to the believer, not more so. ("A Woman Rides the Beast", by Dave Hunt, p. 519). http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_was_Luther's_notion_of_sola_scriptura_or_scripture_alone_a_challenge_to_the_Catholic_Church(Again, Mr. Antony has gone off-topic, this time he is arguing for the SUFFICIENCY of Scripture, and THIS DEBATE is NOT about sufficiency [as in Scripture is enough] but it is about the “sola” nature [as in Scripture is the ONLY infallible source for the Christian]. -5 points. Antony also brings up the red herring of Sacred Tradition, again, and again, I am not deducting another 5 points for the repeated invalid argument).
T.V. then brings up some items that don't negate the lynchpin of my argument in the least; nevertheless they should serve to expose how weak his polemic really is:
1) I am accused of misquoting Psalm 19:7, saying that the "word" of the Lord is perfect, whereas the Text actually says "law". Technically, that's correct, but not substantially. If the law of the Lord is perfect, than the words OF that law are perfect also (Deut 17:19, 27:3, 8, 26; 28:58; 29:29; 31:12; 31:24; 32:46; Josh 8:34; 24:26).
We were answered in the interrogating phase that based on the a priori premise that "Jesus is with us until the end of the world", that THIS equals proof for a theopnuestos tradition! Amazingly absent however, was even one voice in history who ever understood Jesus to mean any such thing.
2) He says, "if the written word is so infallible, why speak or visit the various churches at all?
Answer? Hebrews 10:25: "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together...exhorting one another".
3) Verga thanks me for confirming angels were present at the giving of the law, which he says supports his agenda. On the contrary, it most certainly does not. What I was rebuking him for (not confirming) was his mis-statement that
"no where in the Old Testament is this recorded that the Mosaic covenant was given through angels"
He was proven wrong (Ex 19:9-25, Deut 33:2, Ps 68:17) and
refuses to retract. So be it. Furthermore, what he also fails to
admit is that he initially gave the impression that angels were the prime agents in giving the law, as if the Lord was eating popcorn in the background:
“Let's look at the Mosaic covenant. This covenant was given to Moses by mere creatures, the Angels...”
My opponent used this fishing rod as bait, to lure the reader into thinking that "angelic delivery" was equivalent to the delivery of unwritten tradition by the "inspiration of the Catholic Church". We now see this flawed logic must be thrown back into the murky waters where it belongs.
The utopian scenario that Verga imagines of a Magisterium being set up by Christ to interpret His word, falls prey to quite a few simple fallacies, not the least of which is connecting the dots to the fact that they have left 99% of the Bible UNINTERPRETED (paragraph 47..... http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12DIVIN.HTM).
Sola Scriptura wins by default because, "since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself". No ecclesiastical infrastructure is ever invoked to verify God's dictate, as the supreme authority is the Lord's own testimony (Heb 6:13). (This is invalid because Mr. Antony has equivocated [equivocation is a logical fallacy] God Himself to God’s written Word. -5 points). Second, the precedent for God's dealing with His people does NOT show that He saw fit to install an infallible Jewish magisterium in the O.T., and neither do we see Him in the N.T. economy setting up any religious party to speak for Him in any definitive sense. Need it be said that the religious leaders of the day sought to kill the Messiah? The church of the O.T. was subject to failure (Jer 5:31; 6:13; 8:10; 13:25; 14:14; 23:32; Isa 29:10, 59:14-15; Ezek 22:25; Judges 2:10, Ps 14:2-3). (The posting of new information in the “summary” is invalid, but I’ll overlook taking more points on that point). Neither was there any promise of doctrinal certitude given in the N.T. The presence of Christ amongst the apostolic churches in the midst of their shortcomings, did not guarantee any degree of infallibilty (Rev 2). And so, denominational diversity does not disprove Sola Scriptura. In the interest of "domestic tranquility", our Father has simply found it necessary to put the boys in separate bedrooms.
Thesis Statement: [Original 25 points] Reviewed 25 points (no change)
Valid Documentation: [Original 25 points] Reviewed 25 points (no change)
Closing Summary: [Original 25 points] Reviewed 25 points (no change)
Invalid arguments: [Original 5 points] Reviewed 0 points (-5 points from original)
Total Adjusted Points: [Original 80 points] Reviewed 75 points (-5 points from original)
For details on reviewed scoring, click here.