The Instigator
SurvivingAMethodology
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
Rednerrus
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points

Sola Scriptura is not a theologically tenable position

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Post Voting Period
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after 6 votes the winner is...
SurvivingAMethodology
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,072 times Debate No: 14499
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (41)
Votes (6)

 

SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

Almost all Protestants adhere to sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone). I would like to show why and how this position is lacking both theologically and historically.

1. Sola Scriptura is contradictory in itself, as it is taught nowhere in Scripture. The oft-quoted verse 2 Timothy 3:16 which states "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" was a reference to the Septuagint (the Greek OT), as the New Testament did not yet exist - it also does not say that anything about Scripture being the sole source of doctrine, only that it is profitable for doctrine.

Infact, Scripture explicitly gives a place for oral tradition:

2 Thessalonians 2:15
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth (LOGOS) or by letter (EPISTLE).

2. Christianity existed without an official canon for longer than the United States has been a country. It was not even possible to adhere to sola Scriptura if you were a 3rd century Christian because there was no Christian canon[1], and there were many Christian writings circulating, many of which never made it into the NT. This is not to even mention the vast illiteracy of people at this time.

3. The Bible is a compendium of writings by early Church leaders who did not know that what they were writing would end up being canonized hundreds of years later.

4. The Word of God is a reference to Christ Jesus, not to the words on a page. This is easily proved through context of the usage and a closer look at the original Greek word logos, which is defined as not only spoken word, but also reason, ratio and many other things[2]. To a person who spoke Greek in the 1st century, there would be no confusion over what association of a person with the word logos implied (ie God), as it was often associated with Hermes[3].

5. Before the invention of the printing press, sola Scriptura was purely impractical, as there simply were not enough complete Bibles in existence for everyone to have a personal copy to study from. So, this really isn't just an issue of Scripture being canonized, but of it being widely available.

Scripture is useful for understanding our history and seeing some of the basis for our theology, and of course for presenting us with the words spoken by Christ Jesus, but it is by no means the final word in all matters pertaining to God, or to how we should act as Christians in the modern world, where we find ourselves in a completely different atmosphere than that of Biblical times.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2]http://artflx.uchicago.edu...

[3]http://www.google.com...
Rednerrus

Con

I would like to begin by first defining the important terms in our debate to make sure that we are on the same page.
  • Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently,sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture. However,sola scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God.

As we can see, "Sola scriptura" is the view that the self authenticating, inspired Word of God is:
1. The source and basis for ALL necessary knowledge regarding the Christian life.
2. The ultimate authority regarding all necessary knowledge regarding the Christian life.
3. Any teaching or doctrine is to be tested by the already verified canonical inscripturated Word of God.

I would like you to fist tell me what your view is of the Bible, what is it to you. And also what you speak of when you are referring to "traditions", surely you're not speaking of man made traditions, but please specify what you're referring to, and also provide a couple of examples.

We need to have standards that we can agree on to make this debate possible.

Im looking forward to this debate brother.




Debate Round No. 1
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for engaging on this subject, which I think is an extremely important one for practicing Christians - but I would also like to humbly point out that none of the initial points posted were addressed. If you feel that we need to take a step back and start with some definitions, I will happily oblige, though I do wish for the points to eventually be accounted for as well.

---------------

"I would like you to fist tell me what your view is of the Bible, what is it to you."

A book could be written on this subject, but I will strive for brevity without sacrificing crucial points.

Holy Scripture was assembled by the Church, and for the Church. Church in this context meaning The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church (pre-Schism). It was written by various authors over the course of multiple centuries for the purpose given in John 20:30-31:

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

It was written so people would believe and be able to participate in salvation. It was collected and canonized for the same purpose, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.[1]

--------------------

"And also what you speak of when you are referring to "traditions", surely you're not speaking of man made traditions, but please specify what you're referring to, and also provide a couple of examples"

I am referring to the same thing alluded to by the word "logos" given in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, quoted in the first round of this debate. One example of this would be the doctrine of the Trinity, which is not explicitly referenced in Scripture (but which, of course, is alluded to quite often), another would be the intercession of Saints, which, while also being alluded to in Scripture, is nowhere made explicit.

Now, I do not want to get into a side debate about the validity of these particular theological positions, my only wish is to show here that the key in both of these issues is *interpretation*. Any text as voluminous and dense as the Bible can be (and is) twisted to say just about anything a person wishes to say. When interpretation is left solely to the individual believer, and passages taken out of context for the sake of convenience, there will be as many denominations as there are people -- and this is rapidly coming to fruition now with the rise of non-denominationalism[2]. It is almost as if the purpose of the Reformation was not really a rejection of the pope, but a secret desire for everyone to be their own pope.

There is a fundamental epistemological assumption at play here, namely that Truth is merely an abstract concept to be deduced through logic and reason. For atheists and empiricists, this takes place in the realm of the scientific method, for adherents of sola Scriptura, this takes place with Holy Scripture. What I propose is that Truth is not an abstract concept, but a living reality. Truth is something we can either (often vainly) attempt to orientate ourselves to here and now, or something we can tiptoe around and ignore.

To this end, Holy Scripture can give us much assistance in direction, and provides many warning signs and practical insight into this "spiritual topography". But, without the wisdom that *attends* the words on the page, the words are simply words, and we will continue to see them merely as such. These texts were never meant to be divorced from their embodied wisdom in the form of the Saints whom have paved the way before us (and live alongside us), whose number only God knows.

--------

Now, allow me to address the points you brought up:

1. The source and basis for ALL necessary knowledge regarding the Christian life.

If Scripture is the *source* of all necessary knowledge regarding the Christian life, what then did the Christians of the first 4 centuries refer to for their knowledge regarding the Christian life? Do you take the position that they were missing out on the full picture? Were none of these early Christians able to participate in salvation merely because they happened to live their lives before the Synod of Hippo in 393? Or before the printing press, which was really the first time that everyone was in a position to own a personal copy of the Bible? And which canon do we accept as legitimate? The 66 books of the Protestants? The 73 books of the Catholics? The 76 of the Orthodox? The 81 of the Ethiopian Orthodox?[3] If your answer is the 66 books of the Protestants, would you be able to clearly explain why, and explain why the other versions are wrong? This is a much more complicated issue than it first appears.

It is my position that Christianity is the source of Holy Scripture, not vice versa.

2. The ultimate authority regarding all necessary knowledge regarding the Christian life.

I have already addressed this point, but to sum it up again: Where is this dictated in Scripture? Again, we have:

2 Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

I see nowhere here anything about "ultimate authority", or "final word", not to mention the fact that this was obviously not even in reference to the NT.

3. Any teaching or doctrine is to be tested by the already verified canonical inscripturated Word of God.

Now this, I can agree with, but with a caveat - namely that absence is not equivalent to purposeful omission. For an example, let us look at the Didache, an early Christian document dated to the same time as the Gospels, which gives instructions on baptism, the Eucharist, fasting, prayer, and church organization[4]. The Didache contains the earliest surviving explicit reference to the Eucharist and was widely known and respected in the early Christian world (at least among the Priests and Bishops). Some of the instructions in the Didache were also mentioned in the NT writings, some were not (at least, explicitly).

I will summarize again, that Holy Scripture was assembled by the Church and for the Church. It was never meant to be dissected through analytical textual critiques by people who did not even follow the necessary praxis of a member of the Church. It is also a form of idolization, which carries the inherent of danger of mistaking the map for the territory in our quest to know and reunite with God. It presupposes unnecessarily a fundamental disconnect between God and His Creation, when it proclaims a piece of historical writing (important as it is) as our only hope for salvation. And, most worrying, it gives us a tendency to approach these Holy texts as a lawyer approaches a summons, while ignoring the Kingdom of Heaven which is in our own heart.

Luke 17:20-21

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!' or ‘See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

[1]http://orthodoxwiki.org...

[2]http://www.uab.edu...

[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4]http://en.wikipedia.org...
Rednerrus

Con

I haven't addressed your arguments yet because I wanted to first make sure that we are debating about the same thing. A lot of people try to refute Sola Scriptura not knowing that what they are trying to refute is a misrepresentation of Sola Scriptura. I also wanted to make sure that I am not arguing against a misinterpretation of your view.

"Christianity is the source of Holy Scriptures, not vice versa"
I want to address this first because this is very important and very foundational to our debate. I completely disagree with this statement. Everything we know about God and what He wants from us, is through God Himself condescending and revealing it to us. We don't know God through our own wisdom, He revealed Himself to us. He did it through creation, and special revelation, which means directly speaking to us in our language through messengers and ultimately through His own Son Jesus, and of course Jesus' spokespersons, the apostles. We don't have to debate about whether the physical authors of the Bible are inspired by God. We can both agree that every word they wrote were God's words and not their own. How can you say that Holy Scriptures is from Christianity? Was Moses and the chosen people of God, the Israelites, the source of the law? were they the source of the OT? Of course not! God is the source of the written Word of God and it has authority over every one, including the physical authors, not vice versa. The Christian faith is founded on, grounded on and governed by the Word of God, which includes Scriptures, the written Word of God. This issue is very important and is the foundation of your rejection of Sola Scriptura. You have elevated the authority of the Church leaders over the authority of Scriptures.

"Sola Scriptura is not Scriptural"
This is simply false. Jesus Himself when not appealing to his own divine authority, appealed to the written Word to verify his claims and teachings. We see Jesus several times say "for it is written" or "have you not read" etc. Jesus never appealed to traditions. In Mark 7:6-13, He rebukes the Pharisees, who had "traditions" of their own. He tells them,
"Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."
"...thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."
Jesus here quotes the Scriptures to show the Pharisees how crooked they and their traditions are.

The Apostles also taught and encouraged the church to examine the Scriptures.
Acts 17:11
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Paul here commends the Bereans because they looked to the authority of the written Word of God, not traditions, to verify if the apostles teachings were true.

2 Timothy 3:14-16
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

As you pointed out Paul here was not talking about the NT. No educated Sola Scripturist would claim otherwise. But we clearly see that the concept of Sola Scriptura is there. The concept of appealing to the authority of the written Word.


1 Corinthians 4:6
“Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us you might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.”

Here we see Paul teaching the Corinthians to not place Apollos and himself above the authority of the written Word of God. So again, we see the concept of Sola Scriptura.

We never see the apostles say to the Church, "Just trust us, we're apostles!" even though they had the authority to do so, given to them by Jesus. They appealed the the written, verified, cannonical Word of God, to prove their claims and teachings.
No one was being anti Sola Scriptura back then except for the Pharisees who had their own traditions, and then of course later on, the gnostics, who claimed to have the true apostolic "traditions", and even more recently Rome's papacy who claims to be the vicars of Christ.

"The early Church did not and could not practice Sola Scriptura"
They clearly did. The apostles taught the early churches to reject any teaching that is contrary to what they taught. This was easier for the churches that were directly under the apostles, they had direct contact with source of these teachings. But what about the second generation and the ones after, when the apostles were long gone? They held on to written gospels and the apostles letters. We already know from the numerous surviving manuscripts of the NT writings that the early Christians were circulating the apostles' written teachings and letters. The early Church fathers quoted numerously from the writings of the apostles, in fact, we can reproduce the whole NT just with the quotations of the early church fathers. This is how the church survived the attacks of false teachings like the gnostic gospels. The whole point of making an NT canon was to make sure that the church stays true to what Jesus and the apostle's taught. Speaking of NT canon heres a quote from Irenaeus:
"We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith." [1]

Here's another quote from an early Church father, Gregorry of Nyssa:
"The generality of men still fluctuate in their opinions about this, which are as erroneous as they are numerous. As for ourselves, if the Gentile philosophy, which deals methodically with all these points, were really adequate for a demonstration, it would certainly be superfluous to add a discussion on the soul to those speculations. But while the latter proceeded, on the subject of the soul, as far in the direction of supposed consequences as the thinker pleased, we are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings." [2]

"Traditions and 2 Thessalonians 2:15"
Im running out of space but I'd like to just ask you to list all the oral doctrines, that weren't in writing that Paul was referring to in this verse, and prove to me that they were practiced by the early church.
P.S. The concept of the Trinity is based on Scriptures ONLY.


Luke 17:20-21
What does the Biblical fact that the kingdom of God is not a physical, earthly kingdom but instead a spiritual one that is established in the heart of every believer have to do with our debate?


[1] Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors, Ante-Nicene Fathers(Peabody: Hendriksen, 1995) Vol. 1, Irenaeus, “Against Heresies” 3.1.1, p. 414.
[2] Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, editors, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers(Peabody: Hendriksen, 1995) Second Series: Volume V, Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises, "On the Soul and the Resurrection", p. 439.


Debate Round No. 2
SurvivingAMethodology

Pro

What does . . . have to do with our debate?

Absolutely everything. Throughout the NT, the one overwhelming theme that recurs again and again and again is admonishment for following the letter of the law when the letter goes against the Spirit of the law. I feel you are doing a similar thing here as well with your argument. Jesus openly defies the OT law of the Sabbath by healing a man, and even compels the man to “break the Sabbath” as well. One of the primary goals of Jesus’ ministry was to show how the Pharisees had become drunk on words and laws and commandments while ignoring the realities in front of them. They had turned God from a living reality with whom they had a Covenant into a concept to be found only through adhering to a block of text.

Initially, I wrote a point-by-point rebuttal to every usage of the quotations you cited, but I then realized that, not only was this unnecessary, but I also had no room left for anything else, and this is the last round of the debate! So allow me to focus on the only one which potentially carries any weight for the meaning you wish to convey, since it is the only one that speaks of Scripture to the exclusion of all else. (1 Cor 4:6)

To show that I do not even need to rely solely on Orthodox commentators, let's look at what John Calvin said about this particular passage:

The clause above what is written may be explained in two ways — either as referring to Paul’s writings, or to the proofs from Scripture which he has brought forward. As this, however, is a matter of small moment, my readers may be left at liberty to take whichever they may prefer.[1]

It is interesting, don't you think, that the only passage you cited which talks about Scripture to the exclusion of other things is a "matter of small moment" to Calvin. In either case, the two options which he gives here do not apply to every single canonical writing in any sense, but to specific writings and for specific reasons – and Calvin never used this passage as a defense for sola Scriptura. It is also very important to keep in mind that the Jewish Canon wasstill open during the time of Jesus. We are not talking about a closed canon here.

St. John Chrysostom infact taught that the reference to Scripture here specifically referred to one particular section of Matthew, which makes a lot of sense considering the context of the passage:

But what is the meaning of, not to be wise above what is written? It is written, "Why do you behold the mote that is in your brothers's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in your own eye? and Judge not, that you be not judged." For if we are one and are mutually bound together, it behooves us not to rise up against one another. For "he that humbles himself shall be exalted", says he. And Matthew 20:26-27; Mark 10:43; not verbatim "He that will be first of all, let him be the servant of all". These are the things which are written.[2]

Indeed, I would use many of the same quotations that you did to refute sola Scriptura, which shines a light directly on the real problem here, which is translation. If all that is needed for salvation is contained in these texts, then surely accurate translation and hermeneutics becomes a top priority. Translation, hermeneutics and exegesis require real people, not rules; not just words, and especially not words after they have been translated into another language and now come with all the new baggage of that language, both culturally and etymologically.

-----------

It is interesting that you say that you “completely disagree” with the statement “Christianity is the source of Holy Scriptures, not vice versa”, and then go on to say: “The apostles taught the early churches to reject any teaching that is contrary to what they taught. This was easier for the churches that were directly under the apostles, they had direct contact with source of these teachings. But what about the second generation and the ones after, when the apostles were long gone? They held on to written gospels and the apostles letters”.

This is a direct contradiction. Christianity was, right from the beginning, an oral tradition. As far as we know, Jesus never wrote anything down (with the exception of John 8:6 when he wrote on the ground). Wouldn’t you think that if all of our hope for salvation was going to come through a book that Jesus would have wrote it himself? After all, he had 30 years before his ministry began to do it.

The Gospels and the NT are all about Christ’s salvific work, period. They do not go out of their way to tell us anything which is superfluous to this, only acknowledging briefly and not explicitly those other things that would have been obvious to the early Church through the Apostolic oral teachings. The reason these particular writings became canonized is because they are all directly relevant to our Christology. You may also notice that every single one of the early heresies are all Christological in nature.

--------

Now, a brief word to your objection to Tradition. The Greek word for tradition is paradosis. This word is translated as two different words in the most popular English translations (including the NIV) for no reason except a Protestant bias against Holy Tradition. When it is referred to in a negative sense (Mat 15, Mark 7, Col 2:8) it is translated as “tradition”, but when it is referred to in a positive sense (2 Th 2:15, 2 Th 3:6, 1 Cr 11:2) it is translated as “teaching” or “ordinance”.

A very brief definition of Holy Tradition from the Orthodox perspective:

"The pure notion of Tradition can be defined by saying that it is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, communicating to each member of the Body of Christ the faculty of hearing, of receiving, of knowing the Truth in the Light which belongs to it, and not according to the natural light of human reason. This is true gnosis, owed to an action of the divine Light, the unique Tradition, independent of all “philosophy”, independent of all that lives 'according to human tradition according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ.' " – Vladimir Lossky [3]

Unfortunately, I am out of space, so let me conclude with a pertinent quote:

"So long as we see the Word of God take flesh in the letter of holy writings in a variety of figures, we have not yet spiritually seen the incorporeal and simple and singular and only Father as in the incorporeal and simple and singular and only Son. As the Scripture says, 'The one who has seen Me has seen the Father' (Jn 14.9), and also, 'I am in the Father and the Father is in Me' (Jn 14.10). It is, therefore, very necessary for a deep knowledge that we first study the veils of the statements regarding the Word and so behold with the naked mind the pure Word as He exists in Himself, who clearly shows the Father in Himself, as far as it is possible for men to grasp. Thus it is necessary that the one who seeks after God in a religious way never holds fast to the letter lest he mistakenly understand things said about God for God Himself. In this case we unwisely are satisfied with the words of Scripture in the place of the Word, and the Word slips out of the mind while we thought by holding onto this garment we could possess the incorporeal Word. In a similar way did the Egyptian woman lay hold not of Joseph but of his clothing, and the men of old who remained permanently in the beauty of visible things and mistakenly worshipped the creature instead of the Creator.”- Saint Maximus the Confessor



[1] http://www.sacred-texts.com...

[2] http://www.newadvent.org...

[3] http://www.scribd.com...

Rednerrus

Con

My Rebuttals

The Kingdom of God
You are clearly taking Luke 17:20-21 out of context, and it's not even helping your argument. That passage is about Jesus telling the pharisees, who asked him when the kingdom of God will come, that the kingdom of God is not the physical and political kingdom that they were expecting, but a spiritual one.
Now you want to use it (out of context) to help your argument by implying that Sola Scripturists are doing the same thing because we adhere to a physical book instead of the spiritual reality. That is not what this text is about and as I have demonstrated, Jesus, the apostles, and the early church always appealed to the authority of the written Word of God. Jesus rebuked the pharisees NOT because they religiously adhered to the written word of God, He rebuked them because they "made void the word of God by their traditions that they passed down"Mark 7:13
What's ironic though is that the Roman Catholic Church is the one who are acting like the modern day pharisees. The Church has built an empire, with the Pope assuming the title of infallible King of the World, who hold the keys of heaven and earth.

Jesus Defying the OT Law
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
You claimed, just like the pharisees did, that Jesus broke the OT laws. As we can see in this passage and through out the whole NT, esp in the book of Hebrews, that Jesus did not abolish the law but as matter fact FULFILLED the law. Jesus is the true Sabbath, and He claimed that in Him there is rest. He is the fulfillment of the sabattical law! Hallelujah!

Calvin on 1 Corinthians 4:6
What are you talking about here? Calvin comments:
"The clause above what is written may be explained in two ways — either as referring to Paul’s writings, or to the proofs from Scripture which he has brought forward.As this, however, is a matter of small moment, my readers may be left at liberty to take whichever they may prefer."
When Calvin said that it was "a matter of small moment" He meant that what Paul was referring to in the passage could either be His worn writings or Scriptures that Paul presented.
The meaning of the passage is the same. Here's Calvin's comment on the meaning of the passage:"But what does he wish them to learn? That no one be puffed up for his own teacher against another, that is, that they be not lifted up with pride on account of their teachers, and do not abuse their names for the purpose of forming parties, and rending the Church asunder. Observe, too, that pride or haughtiness is the cause and commencement of all contentions, when every one, assuming to himself more than he is entitled to do, is eager to have others in subjection to him.

Again, the point of the passage is
"that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another."

Can't get any clearer than that.

Who is the source of Scriptures
Do we really need to get in to this? I did not contradict my self when I said that the early church held on to the writings of the apostles. The apostles are NOT the source of their own writings, just as Moses is not the source of the Law. Are you actually claiming that what the apostles wrote came from their own human wisdom?
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
And I, when I came to you, brothers,did not come proclaiming to you the testimonyof God with lofty speech or wisdom.For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Traditions
Sola Scriptura is not against traditions. Sola Scriptura is against man-made traditions that are not founded on Scripture, or even worse contradictory to Scripture, like a lot of Rome's traditions.
Sola Scriptura is also not against having a God appointed teacher or leader who studies the Word to shepherd the flock. Protestants do not just meet up and have a book club. Sola Scriptura is simply the stance that in this post-apostolic time, what we have are the verified, canonical, inscripturated word of God as our ultimate point of reference.

Closing
As I close, I also want to point out that all the Roman Catholic Church traditions have been established and canonized by putting them in writing. How ironic is it that they are against the concept of Sola Scriptura, yet they found it necessary to put all their traditions down as a point of reference. I would also like to point out that the early church did not have ANY of these Roman Catholic canons. Let me ask you the same question you asked me, did they not get the full experience then?

I only have 7 minutes left so ill just close by copying in and pasting this from www.Christiananswers.net

Rather, these men had to contend with the Gnostics who were the very first to suggest and teach that they possessed an Apostolic oral Tradition that was independent from Scripture. Irenaeus and Tertullian rejected such a notion and appealed to Scripture alone for the proclamation and defense of doctrine. Church historian, Ellen Flessman-van Leer affirms this fact:
"For Tertullian, Scripture is the only means for refuting or validating a doctrine as regards its content… For Irenaeus, the Church doctrine is certainly never purely traditional; on the contrary, the thought that there could be some truth, transmitted exclusively viva voce (orally), is a Gnostic line of thought… If Irenaeus wants to prove the truth of a doctrine materially, he turns to Scripture, because therein the teaching of the apostles is objectively accessible. Proof from tradition and Scripture serve one and the same end: to identify the teaching of the Church as the original apostolic teaching. The first establishes that the teaching of the Church is this apostolic teaching, and the second, what this apostolic teaching is."

The Bible was the ultimate authority for the Church of theEarly Church. It was materially sufficient, and the final arbiter in all matters of doctrinal truth. As J.N.D. Kelly has pointed out:
"The clearest token of the prestige enjoyed by Scripture is the fact that almost the entire theological effort of the Fathers, whether their aims were polemical or constructive, was expended upon what amounted to the exposition of the Bible. Further,it was everywhere taken for granted that, for any doctrine to win acceptance, it had first to establish its Scriptural basis". [1]

[1] http://www.christiananswers.net...


Debate Round No. 3
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
There is no point in continuing this back and forth. Frankly, your tone is not conducive to a healthy dialogue. I learned a long time ago when someone is more interested in posturing than actually engaging in a dialectic.

Your definition of sola Scriptura, as I said, is really no different than the Orthodox Church's - and I know *many* Protestants who would disagree with your definition of sola Scriptura. The point is that the question then becomes what tradition one will follow. You chose Calvinism, I chose another path.

As far as the Theotokos is concerned, as I have previously said, not all Orthodox agree on that point, it is not a dogma of the Church either way, as it is irrelevant to theosis.

I look forward to possibly debating you at some point in the future as long as you remember what the word dialectic means, and avoid polemics.

Christ be with you,
SAM
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
I think you don't understand what the word Doctrinal means... because doctrine is any teaching of the church. I think you are confusing the word doctrine with the word dogma. Dogmatics are things that are mandatory for salvation, doctrines are any teaching that is held as authoritative.

Sola Scriptura does NOT mean "going by the words alone." This is why you lost the debate, you didn't read or consider Con's explanation of Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone) means that we base our doctrine and understanding of reality by Scripture alone. When scripture is silent or unclear on something, we may appeal to our experiences or tradition (or reason/science) to understand things, but ultimately Scripture has the final say. For example, as a Calvinist... I observe reality and it appears that I have genuine libertarian free will. Reason, Science, and various Traditions tell me that this is the case. However, Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign, that all things happen according to his will. So I must acknowledge that Reason, Science, and those Traditions are incorrect or incomplete and that I only have compatible free will.

If you are trying to tell me that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not view Mary as the Ever-Virgin, the Theotokos, the Queen of Heaven, or any of the other names that the Orthodox Church refers to her... you are a pretty bad Orthodox Christian. The EO gets these names from the Early Church Fathers. People like Athanasius, Irenaeus, and the Capedocians... in fact a HUGE portion of the Council of Ephesus was convened to discuss Mary's status... so if you are trying to tell me that she is not an important doctrinal and dogmatic then you have a poor understanding of Church History. In fact the DOGMATIC definition coming out of Ephesus I has a line and section specifically about Mary. Get your history right man.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
"So, you reject Church Tradition on what bounds? What basis do you reject the Filioque clause? If you look at the documents at the time... the Eastern Fathers rejected it based on Scriptural Arguments... they were appealing to scripture, because they drew their doctrines from their understanding of scripture... which is exactly what Sola Scriptura means."

I agree with everything you said, with emphasis placed on *their understanding* of Scripture. This is, again, the key difference here, interpretation. Sola Scriptura, going by the words alone, de-personalizes these texts. Without *our understanding* of the words, the words mean nothing.

"The Eastern Orthodox definately believes that the Early Councils were infallible when the Bishops were assembled."

That is exactly what I said. We do not need to declare or define dogma anymore because every Christological controversy already happened in the first few centuries and has been addressed, that is the only reason for dogma in the first place - everything centers around our understanding of Christ.

"Well, the understanding that Mary was the ever virgin and the queen of the universe is contrary to scripture. It is a doctrine... "

Again, I said this earlier - this is not doctrinal. The only things which are doctrine in the Church are those things which relate directly to our salvation.

It *is* doctrine in the RCC, but not in EO.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
BTW, I never responded to these

"There are councils that happened prior to the the divide that the EO church rejects. Filioque anyone?"

And? Those are what I am talking about.

--So, you reject Church Tradition on what bounds? What basis do you reject the Filioque clause? If you look at the documents at the time... the Eastern Fathers rejected it based on Scriptural Arguments... they were appealing to scripture, because they drew their doctrines from their understanding of scripture... which is exactly what Sola Scriptura means.

"They can make mistakes and error, just like you and I can."

I never said they were infallible. Doctrine comes from a consensus, not any individual.

--The Eastern Orthodox definately believes that the Early Councils were infallible when the Bishops were assembled. That is why their conclusions are authoritative and why the Eastern Bishops are not able to declare or define dogma any longer (because they cannot gather all of the Bishops without the RC Bishops).

"When they contradict scripture, scripture trumphs."

I agree, and I would like for you to show me any Orthodox doctrine which contradicts Scripture. We are talking about contradiction here, not just something which isn't mentioned or is only vaguely alluded to.

Well, the understanding that Mary was the ever virgin and the queen of the universe is contrary to scripture. It is a doctrine based entierly off tradition that is contrary to scripture. Mark clearly says that Christ had both brothers and sisters. I know the gymnastics that EO and RC go through tries to make the word mean cousin, or imply that Joseph had a previous wife... but there is no biblical grounds for either of these. Also, it states that Joseph did not have sex with Mary UNTIL she had a child. The Greek word eos (eps, omega, sigma) signifies that the verb in question (Knowing carnally) did not happen until a certain time, and then happened.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
You keep saying "contradictions" - and then offering up Catholic doctrine. I am Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic, do you understand the difference?

The only thing you have offered thus far which is also part of Orthodoxy is the Dormition of the Theotokos. Please show me how this is contradictory to Scripture, and not just omitted.

"because Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism is nearly as monolithic as you make it out to be"

I cannot speak for the RCC - but Orthodox all hold to the same doctrine and dogma. The thing most people outside the Church don't get is that our doctrine and dogma does in fact leave a lot of room for speculation - as long as one does not cross certain lines. The crossing of these lines is precisely what led to all of the early Councils - for the express purpose of clearing doctrine up.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Yeah... because Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism is nearly as monolithic as you make it out to be.

The difference is that if the EO or RC Bishops assert something that is contrary to scripture, as long as they are of one accord, it is acceptable. The Bodily Assumption of Mary is a good example. The Doctrine of Purgatory is another.

In Sola Scriptura, we will not accept something that is contrary to the Scriptures.

Beyond that, to say that our traditions are as many as our adherents is to show that you really haven't studied much at all. There are LOTS of long standing and static traditions across the board for Protestant denominations. Unity does not require uniformity.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
Then you admit to using extra-bibilical Tradition yourself.

"There is a set of rules and guidelines that have been developed over the centuries that we follow"

If this is your definition of sola Scriptura, then I do not understand what the issue either of you have with the Eastern Orthodox Church, as it is precisely how we approach Scripture.

I admit that Protestants confuse the hell out of me, because everytime I debate one, they have a whole different set of arguments, and I never know which set I am going up against. That, to me, is part of the reason it holds no weight to me - because your traditions are as many as your adherents.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
You're missing the point Method, it isn't that everyone interprets Scripture in their own way and on their own terms. I know it appears that way to a monarchical system like EO or RC. But it doesn't work that way. There is a set of rules and guidelines that have been developed over the centuries that we follow (Primarily the Historical/Grammatical Critical Method, which finds its roots in one of 4 primary modes of interpretation of the Early Church). There are those who interpret outside of that (Joel Olsteen and any Health and Wealth Preacher, Benny Hinn, Westburough Baptist, Steven Smith in Tucson, I could go on) that receive the open rebuke and condemnation of the rest of the Protestant world. However, the concept is that the "one faith" is determined by the Church at large, not by a set of elite Bishops or a Pope.

It isn't to say that every individual interpretation is valid, simply that we all have the right and ability to make our own interpretation rather than to rely on a small group of people to make it for us. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong... but if 1 person is interpreting it for all of us and gets it wrong... there is no recourse. If 100 people are interpreting it and 10 get it wrong, there are 90 voices to call those 10 into correction.

Rednerrus' point about the early Church relying on a Sola Scriptura model is 100% valid. Show me one Early Church Father or Patriarch who doesn't make their PRIMARY appeal to scripture. Show me one document from the Early Church that does not utilize scripture as their boundaries in theological understanding.
Posted by SurvivingAMethodology 6 years ago
SurvivingAMethodology
@rednerrus, I answered those two questions in the debate.

Those quotes will "clearly" continue to show whatever you insist upon them showing. You have continued to tiptoe around the core issue of interpretation. If we as Christians are to have one faith (Eph 4:5), then how can every person interpret Scripture in their own way and on their own terms?
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Sainthood in the RC or EO Church is simply the acknowledgement that that person is in heaven (as opposed to purgatory or hell). It's a title when it is a capital S. They still use the lowercase s to describe someone who is likely in heaven or is a Christian on earth, but that they cannot verify.
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