Round 4 - Verga's Closing Arguments
In my opening statement I wrote; "For sola scriptura to be a valid belief two things must occur, one it must be found to be taught explicitly in the Bible, and it must be demonstrated to have been practiced by the Apostles in the writing of the scripture." My opponent initially did not disagree with this statement either explicitly or implicitly.
In his opening statement he referred to the Bible a mere 50 times, and only quoted it directly less than 10. Not a single one of these quotes explicitly stated that the Bible is the "Ultimate authority". Instead of proving his case my opponent spent almost 30% of his words attempting to tear down the Catholics position and the case that he thought I was going to make.
On the other hand in my opening statement I demonstrated that the Apostles taught that we are to hold to Sacred Traditions:
1 Cor 11:2 I "Praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you."
2 Thess. 2:15 "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."
Jesus built a Church:
Matthew 16:18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I also showed that Jesus passed all of HIS authority to the Apostles:
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mathew 28:19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
The Apostles knew that this faith must be preserved and passed on:
2 Tim 2:2 "And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well."
Jesus knew that various disputes would arise so He gave us a method to settle them:
Matthew 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church, if he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a gentile or a tax collector.
Not once is there a single verse from my opponent denying even one of these verse, he did not offer a single verse that supported the Bible as the "Ultimate Authority."
Instead of buttressing his position during his interrogatory he wasted words saying that Heb 2:2 "Could simply be...." All he offers is a maybe and an attack on Traditions.
My opponent open his second commentary telling us that the doctrine of sola scriptura "unravels" through out the text. He has that right it completely falls apart, and I am glad he admits it.
My opponent states in his opening paragraph:
All this presupposes the vital illumination of the Holy Spirit to help understand sufficiently (John 3:3-8, Eph 1:18; 3:4), but does not presuppose that everyone will understand Scripture exhaustively. (Note: not one of these verses says anything about the sufficency of scripture much less the authority)
He attempts to rationalize this by quoting verse saying that there will be teachers, etc... By this statement alone he defeats his entire argument. he is making his "ultimate authority" subject to the private interpretation of an individual, yet he never explains what to do if this interpretation conflicts with that of someone else.
The only attempts he makes to defend his position about Bible supremacy is a reference to the book of Revelation, ignoring that fact that this verse is only about the "Book of Life", and not the Bible.
700 words, almost half of them attacking the Catholic belief, and not one of them supporting sola scriptura.
On the other hand in my2 B response I pointed out how various protestant groups that all claimed to follow the doctrine of sola scriptura had not only differing about Baptism, the Eucharist, etc..., but diametrically opposite views. When I asked how this was possible my opponent addressed only the issue of Baptism and tired to shrug it off as a minor point.
Yet my opponent's "ultimate authority" clearly says:
1 Peter 3:21 This prefigured baptism, which saves you now.
My opponent's 3 A interrogatory once again is an attack on the Catholic position with out commenting on his position, at the same time he says:
My understanding of Peter is.... and then: My NAB Catholic Commentary notes BOTH of our respective understandings: in that it refers to EITHER "the inspiration of the Bible" OR, "against private interpretation."
First off the commentary is just that, it is a commentary. I don't know of a single person that has ever said that commentaries are divinely inspired, Second once again this does not support his "Ultimate authority"
In my opponent's 3 B commentary opening paragraph he tries to make the claim that equates our souls hungering and thirsting after God to being sated by the scriptures. No one is arguing against the importance of God's word, but none of these verse say that it must be confined to scripture. In the second paragraph not a single verse he cites speaks to the scriptures being authoritative, much less solely authoritative.
And once again instead of supporting his position he spends 62.5% of his words attacking the Catholic position. Clearly if you can't support your own position, you need to tear the other persons down.
During this debate my opponent and I had the opportunity to use myriad online sources to support our positions. He could have quoted from the Early Church Fathers using the Christian Classics Ethereal Library http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2007/09/james-swan-ratzingerbenedict-xvi-and.html
he chose not to, for the simple reason that had he quoted them in context it would have been further refutation of his position. In his only attempt to use modern theologians it was documented that his sources were out of context and said the exact opposite of what he wanted. Further James White (protestant theologian) has been documented saying that sola Scriptura could not have been practiced in Apostolic times: (http://vintage.aomin.org/This%20Bereans%20passage.html)
I on the other hand used the Bible to prove a viable alternative, I showed the creation of a Church by Jesus. I documented him empowering the leaders of the Church with His authority.
Matthew 16:18-19 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 18:18 Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Being able to pass that authority on to successors. I showed that these leaders knew the importance of Sacred Tradition and passed that knowledge on to those that came after them. I did all of this using the Bible alone, not a single bit of outside support for that.
Most importantly my opponent did not provide a single verse or shred of evidence that refuted any of my verses, not a single one, and for the simple reason that he knows there is not refutation for the plain and simple truth!
Further to document the folly of sola scriptura I cited historical evidence and current events to show how a belief in sola scriptura not only will drive the train off the tracks but by it's very nature must drive it off. I hope that this debate has provided an opportunity to shed light and not heat on a topic that has caused much division over the years and has resulted in the establishment of many thousands of protestant groups rather than the unity that Christ wished for: John 17:20-21
20 "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
21so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
Word Count: 1498