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Catholics and the Bible: Is the Bible the Only Source of Christian Beliefs? Comments

Over the last 25 years I've had more debates than I can count with Christians of various denominations. These conversations varied as widely as the perspectives of the different people I debated, but nearly every one eventually included the question: "Where is that in the Bible?" Why "sola scriptura" falls short and misses the mark. Continue Reading

41 - 50 of 67 Comments

  1. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Jcruz: do you believe that Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the Holy Trinity? A Christian does. Where in the NT do you find the word "Trinity?" You won't find it. Still we profess the Trinity when we baptize "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Not everything is literally spelt out. Confession? Try these NT passages: Mt 9:2-8, Jn 20:22, Jn 20:23, Mt 18:18, 2 Cor 5:17-20, 1Jn 5:16, Jam 5:16, and James 5:13-15. Lastly, we have Jn 21:25 that says that not all that Jesus said is recorded in Scripture. You do not have to accept the authority of the Church but what makes you think that you can arrogate to yourself the very authority you reject by holding yourself out as an authority on Scripture?

  2. Jcruz
    4 years ago

    Christian writes ..
    "For instance ( you'll have to look up chapter and verse so get out your concordance), the Bible says that Jesus gave his apostles the power and authority to forgive sins. If Jesus said that, and He did, then He must have done so for a very good reason. His sacrifice on the cross, in terms of forgiveness of sins, is made available to us when we approach the Apostles' successors (Bishops and priests), repent of our sins, confess them and receive absolution."

    Where in the NT is there any verse or passage where an apostle or bishop hears confessions and receive absolution? Where do the Scriptures say this is a condition that must be meant before a person can be forgiven?

  3. Mike FP
    4 years ago

    Deacon Fournier, this is a lovely piece. To fuzz the matter further, it is not unreasonable to point out that very few of us -- Protestant or Catholic -- actually read the Bible. What we read is generally a translation from another language. This assumes that the text has been perfectly preserved over two millenium or more, which is unlikely. This also assumes that the various church councils all made the right call when they included some books and excluded others. And then, after all that -- fundamentalists especially take note -- you need to account for the "through a glass darkly" issue. It's pretty clear from the scriptural record that even the earliest Christians -- even St. Peter and St. Paul -- had disagreed over finer points of the so recently enunciated Gospel. The circumcision of Christains and the timing of the Second Coming would be examples of this. How do we know that this is the only thing they misunderstood?

  4. Christian
    4 years ago

    What I find interesting about the Bible and evangelicals is that the latter seem to ignore what the Bible teaches and in so doing preach a gospel that has very little power to save. For instance ( you'll have to look up chapter and verse so get out your concordance), the Bible says that Jesus gave his apostles the power and authority to forgive sins. If Jesus said that, and He did, then He must have done so for a very good reason. His sacrifice on the cross, in terms of forgiveness of sins, is made available to us when we approach the Apostles' successors (Bishops and priests), repent of our sins, confess them and receive absolution. There is an assuredness in this method that is not present amongst evangelical methods. Simply accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts as personal Lord and Saviour does not cut it. Indeed it is not even Biblical. We are forgiven when we humbly do what the Lord has made it possible for us to do and approach Him in the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus is no fool and would not have given "mortal men" the power and authority to forgive sins if He had not wanted them to exercise this ministry. Jesus continues to forgive sins through the priests He left behind. That does not happen in evangelical circles or among other protestant churches. That power and authority has not been given to them. Consequently, when they repent of their sins and ask the Lord to forgive them all the while circumventing the legitimate authority left behind to forgive sins, there is no assuredness that said sins have truly been forgiven. The same is true for receiving the Eucharist. Get out your concordance again. Jesus said that unless we eat of His body and Blood we shall no life within us. That's in the Bible too and very much ignored. Perhaps it is ignored by evangelicals and protestants because they have no power and authority to confect the Eucharist. That being the case they cannot speak to it, cannot approach it and are left to explain it away to assuage a less than complete theology of salvation. So when they preach the "Gospel" they leave out some very essential features of what Christ has given us in His Church, namely the power and authority to have our sins forgiven and to be fed with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Now that is a complete Gospel and you can count on it to accomplish what Christ wants to accomplish in us. Scripture, Tradition, and the Church go hand in hand. They work together to administer and explain the other sacraments Our Lord left behind as a means of grace for us. Scripture alone and wrongly interpreted can lead people down the wrong path. The Church which gave us the Scriptures is definitely needed to rightly interpret them in order to maximize what Christ has wrought for us. It means everything to God that no one should be lost and that all should come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

  5. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Jcruz states: "No church or man can claim to be inspired-inerrant." Who, then, will authoritatively interpret "scripture?" You? For Catholics the Eucharist is the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Why? Because either the Church has said that is what Scripture tells us or the plain reading of Scripture tells us this --- "And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take and eat; THIS IS MY BODY (my emphasis)." And taking a cup, he gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, "ALL of you drink of this; for THIS IS MY BLOOD (again, my emphasis) of the new covenant, which is to be shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins." (Mt 26: 26-28) Now some, as I'm sure you Jcruz do, maintain that Jesus was speaking only figuratively, but He is not --- "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him." (Jn 6:54-57) Jesus was not speaking figuratively as "Many of his disciples therefore, when they heard this, said "This is a hard saying," (Jn 6:61) and "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him" (Jn 6:67). Did Jesus say, 'wait, I was only speaking metaphorically?' No, He did not. In fact his very words "Amen, amen" tell us to listen to Him very carefully as what He is saying He really means - "This is MY Body" and "This is MY Blood." If, Jcruz, you wish to "abide by the Scripture" then do so. Is a "Church or man" inerrant? If you believe that Jesus Christ is both God and man, and that Jesus is "the Truth" then you must believe that the Church He established to speak in His name also speaks with inerrant truth: "And Jesus drew near and spoke to them saying "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world." (Mt 28:18-20) Jesus, as God, has full authority and He imparted it to His Church - "go and teach." Is the Church mere men floundering around, grasping to maintain continuity with Jesus and His Apostles? NO! Jesus is no liar; He said, "behold, I am with you all days." He, Jesus, has full authority. He gave that authority to His Church. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide it. He is with His Church "all days" to the "consummation of the world." You, Jcruz, ask "what are the Traditions that Catholics speak of?" Go to the Church. St. Paul does: "keep the traditions" (1 Cor 11:2), "brethren, stand firm, and hold the teachings that you have learned, whether by word or by letter of ours" (2 Thess 2:15), "And we charge you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw yourselves from every brother who lives irregularly, and not according to the teaching received from us" (2 Thess 3:6). Tradition is the teachings received from Jesus Christ by the Apostles and early disciples. This was what they had to go on as the "Bible" had not yet been written; it is therefore very difficult for the "Scriptures (to be) in authority over the Church." The first word of the New Testament was written about 50 A.D. (1 Thess) and the last , Revelations, about 100 A.D. For about 300 years, until Pope Innocent I, the Church was without a Bible." In her beginnings she had the Apostles and early disciples. Hear St. Anthanasius (360 AD): "let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian... (Four Letters to Serapion of Thimius). And one of those early Fathers of the Church, Origen (230 AD), said: "The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and remains in the Churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition." (Fundamental Doctrines) Jcruz, it is not the "Catholic" who does not abide by Scripture, it is you. Hear again the words of St. Anthanasius, "If anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian."

  6. troisnyx
    4 years ago

    To Rommel : I believe this should answer your argument. At the end of Luke's gospel Luke himself states that all the miracles and works of Jesus cannot be contained in the book that he had written. So it is too with what he taught. This explains the need for oral preaching, which later became the Magisterium and the CCC. Please, I implore you, before citing Biblical scripture, be sure you know its entirety.

  7. Jcruz
    4 years ago

    Pete Brady writes
    "Who decided what "The Bible" is? The Catholic Church. Holy Mother Church "officially" decided and declared what books constituted the "Bible" at the Council of Hippo (393 A.D.) and the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.)."
    It is true the church of the 3-4th century was used by God to determine the NT canon. However, the Scriptures are still in authority over the church because only the Scriptures are inspired-inerrant. No church or man can claim to be inspired-inerrant.
    What is tragic is that the Catholic does not always abide by the Scripture.

  8. Pete Brady
    4 years ago

    Who decided what "The Bible" is? The Catholic Church. Holy Mother Church "officially" decided and declared what books constituted the "Bible" at the Council of Hippo (393 A.D.) and the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.). Pope Innocent I (401-417) approved the 73 book canon and "closed the canon of the Bible." Those who articulate "sola scriptura" ignore the fact that it was the Catholic Church who gave them their "source document." Yet even Martin Luther, who kicked off the whole Protestant movement, said: "We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists (Catholics) --- that they possess the Word of God which we received from them, otherwise we should have known nothing at all about it." These historical facts I obtained from the booklet "Beginning Apologetics I" by San Juan Catholic Seminars.

  9. Jcruz
    4 years ago

    Are the Marian doctrines and indulgences part of the gospel? Secondly, what are the Traditions that Catholics speak of? Is there a list of them?

  10. Todd Aylard
    4 years ago

    Good article and discussion.

    J. Rife commented above that the Bible "clearly connects us to God through Jesus without any mortal conduit."

    With respect to J. Rife, such an assertion is clearly false, since the Bible, while having God as its primary author, was penned by mortal men. Moreover, it is interpreted, expounded, and applied by mortal men. If there were truly no mediators in Protestantism, then there would be no preachers. Even those individuals who interpret the Bible for themselves, subject it to their own mortal limitations. The choice is not between having mediators or having none; the choice is between mediators with authority and power from God to teach, and those who lack that authority and power.

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