The Instigator
philochristos
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Darth_Pious
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Sola Scriptura vs Sola Dei Verbum

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Darth_Pious
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,907 times Debate No: 34148
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (4)

 

philochristos

Pro

For this debate, Pro will defend Sola Scriptura, and Con will defend Sola Dei Verbum. Since we each have a position to defend, the burden of proof will be shared.

Definitions

Sola Sriptura: The position that the Bible is the sole infallible rule of faith for Christians.

Sola Dei Verbum: The position that the word of God is the sole infallible rule of faith for Christians.

These are the simplest definitions for these terms. I purposefully didn't flesh either one of them out in detail since I suspect the meaning and implications of both of them will be part of what we argue over. Con is welcome to correct me if he thinks these definitions are wrong, but I ask him to be succinct in his correction.

Rules

1. Round 1 is for acceptance, definitions, and well-wishes.
2. Round 2 is for opening statements. Con can respond to what I say in my opening.
3. Round 3 is for rebuttals and any new arguments either side wants to introduce.
4. Round 4 is for conclusions and rebuttals, but no new arguments.
5. Voters must vote on the content of the debate, not your own opinion or the arguments you would like to have made.
6. Burden of proof is shared. (I said that already, didn't I?)
7. Fairness and charity are expected from both debaters and all voters. No motive-mongering.
8. Forfeiting the last round is an automatic loss for the whole debate (arguments and conduct). Forfeiting just one round prior to the last round is a conduct point.
9. If anybody vote bombs, St. Nicholas will rise from his grave, and after scaring the bejesus out of you, will brand you a heretic and burn you at the stake. If you vote bomb just to see if that's true, and if St. Nicholas happens to be busy in the great beyond and can't deal with you at the moment, rest assured that the day of reckoning will come.
10. I've made the character limit 6000 instead of the usual 8000 in hopes that it will encourage people to vote and discourage people from forfeiting.

Good luck, Darth_Pious! I expect great things from you!

Darth_Pious

Con

Salutations to debate.org! I am Darth Pious, known in some parts of the world as Adrian, and I am honored to have my first engagement with philochristos, a most humble Christian who has graced me with the garden of his turbulence. I accept his challenge.

I don't deny any of his definitions, though as was mentioned, these will need to be fleshed out. I will do my own brief definitions here:

Sola Scriptura is what philochristos has said it was. Let me also explain what I think it is not. It is not the view that it is the only source of knowledge for Christians. I have seen this application in some Christians, but I trust philochristos will not subscribe to this view.

Sola Dei Verbum is what philochristos has said it was, and for those who do not see the difference, it is this: the words of God, or the deposit of faith, includes but is not limited to Sacred Scripture. What else is included? Tradition. This can be defined and argued over later.

With this being said, I accept to the following rules of engagement, and am looking forward to what philochristos has to say. God Bless.
Debate Round No. 1
philochristos

Pro

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. It's a priviledge to debate this topic with Darth_Pius. We met on a blog and became friends on facebook 2.5 years ago. He is a really bright guy and fearless in the defense of his religion and morals. I really admire him. I invited him to this sight because I thought he could make a valuable contribution.

Sola Scriptura

Sola scriptura has three implications:

1. The scriptures are inspired by God and therefore authoritative.

2. Although God can speak through other means (e.g. personal revelation)...(a) everything else is subordinate to the scriptures, and (b) only the scriptures are normative for all Christians.

3. The scriptures, by themselves, are sufficient. They contain all the information necessary for a person to be a Christian, to know the gospel, to live morally, and to obtain salvation.

The first implication

Con and I agree on that first point, but Catholics think protestants have a problem. Without an additional source of authoritative information, how do protestants know which books belong in the canon? Catholics, at least, can point to Tradition, which is preserved by the Catholic church, reflected in the councils, and is also inspired by God and equally authoritative. It is through the councils that we know which books belong in the Bible.

But this argument is based on a premise that renders Catholic reasoning circular. If one must have a divinely inspired source of information before one can identify a divinely inspired source of information, then how do Catholics know what is Tradition and what is not? How do Catholics establish the authority they attribute to their own councils and teaching magisterium? Well, they appeal to such scriptures as Matthew 16:18 and 1 Timothy 3:15 as justification for attributing divine authority to the Catholic church and 2 Thessalonians 2:15 as justification for attributing divine authority to Traditions preserved by the Catholic church. This is circular reasoning. They "know" that Matthew, 1 Timothy, and 2 Thessalonians are divinely inspired scripture because of their divinely inspired Tradition. And they "know" their Tradition is divinely inspired because of their divinely inspired scriptures.

The only way to escape this circular argument is if it's possible to reason your way to the conclusion that some source of information is divinely inspired, and to do so from premises that are not divinely inspired. And that's what some Catholic apologists try to do. They'll appeal to historical arguments to try to make their case. When they do so, they are unwittingly engaging in protestant epistemology, for that is how protestants arrive at the canon. It is not by attributing divine authority to councils, but by attributing historical authority to councils. As a protestant, I trust that the early church knew what they were doing. They didn't discover the canon by divine revelation. Rather, they subjected various writings to scrutiny. They had criteria (e.g. apostolic authorship) they applied to discover what was to be included and what was to be rejected. While I personally don't know all the reasons for their decision, I trust that they made a good decision. I don't need that decision to be infallible any more than the Catholic apologist needs his historical assessment to be infallible.

Ultimately, Catholics and protestants are in the same epistemological boat. Catholics don't solve any problem by postulating an additional source of authority. They just postpone the problem. Both of us have to begin with our fallible assessment of history to arrive at a divinely inspired source of authority.

The second implication

At first glance, it may not be obvious what the difference is between "scripture alone" and "the word of God alone" since the scriptures are the word of God. But the difference is that the word of God encompasses more than just the scriptures. There were prophets in the Corinthians church, but none of their prophecies became scripture.

We can see this aspect of sola scriptura practiced in the Bible. Even though Paul was an apostle, the Bereans were considered nobel because they recieved his words with eagerness and "examined the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). So Paul's teachings were submitted to scriptural scrutiny.

Likewise, even though the Pharisees believed their traditions were handed down from Moses [1], Jesus rejected their tradition because it turned out to be inconsistent with the command of God recorded in the scriptures (Matthew 15:1-6).

God may reveal something to an individual, but that revelation is not automatically normative for the whole church. Rather, it's up to the church to test those things in light of what has already been revealed in scripture. Scripture is the final authority.

The third implication

The sufficiency of the scripture can be gleaned from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." This passage is explicit in saying that the scriptures alone are enough for a person to be adequate and equipped for every good work.

A practical consideration

We should not attribute the same authority to Tradition as we do to scripture because even if Tradition once carried the same authority as Scripture, we cannot be as certain of it's accurate preservation. There are textual variants in the Bible, but we are able to reconstruct what the originals said because we have thousands of ancient manuscripts to compare to each other. But we have no such thing in the case of Tradition. Moreover, traditions handed down by word of mouth tend to me more fluid than writings that are copied. So we should test traditions in light of scripture, which means that scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith.

Thank you.


1. http://www.torah.org...



Darth_Pious

Con

What is Scripture? Scripture has a dual nature, that it was caused by man and caused by God. We accurately say that John wrote John's Gospel, and we accurately say God wrote it too. Scripture then, not being only from God, is simply the teachings of the Apostles in written form, protected from error by God. But if these teachings were inspired and protected from error by God in written form, why not think the same protection is given in oral form since the oral produced the written? An effect cannot be greater than its cause. So then, we ask, is there more to the teachings of the Apostles than what was written down? Certainly, for Scripture itself says so in John 21:25, that there are many things that Jesus did that have not been recorded. If the substance of Scripture is what the Apostles taught, and some teachings were not written down, then it follows that there is some substance of inspired word that is not found in Scripture. These teachings, preserved by God from error as they were when they were written, are called Sacred Tradition. This is extra-Biblical authority that is still necessary to preserve and is authoritative with equal footing as Scripture. Therefore, Sola Dei Verbum is true.

If Sola Scriptura is false, then Sola Dei Verbum becomes more plausible. After all, we need some sort of infallible authority. If Sola Scriptura were true, then we should see some Biblical support for this. We do not. Therefore Sola Scriptura is self-refuting and thereby false. Therefore, Sola Dei Verbum is more plausible. I acknowledge that philochristos has cited 1st Timothy as an attempt to justify Sola Scriptura. This is a non-sequitur. Let me flesh this out by asking, What does philochristos mean by "sufficient"? The claim that Scripture exists to equip us for every good work does not entail that Scripture is all that is needed to equip us thoroughly for every good work. After all, plainly, lots of other things are needed, like air, food, water, intellectual skills, and God's grace. There is another problem with this vague meaning of "sufficient". It would follow that Scripture would have too much for us to be equipped and redundancies would occur in Scripture. If I were to ask philochristos, How many times does God have to say something in order for you to believe it? I'm sure in his obedience and piety he would say only once. Ah, well then, doesn't it follow that it is permissible to get rid of parts of the Bible that repeat itself, like the multiple accounts of the life of Jesus or his death? After all, only reading about it once is sufficient! But that would be absurd. And here, Catholics, like myself, would agree. Even if Scripture were granted that it was "sufficient", whatever that means, it does not follow that it stands alone. It is not permissible to drop and lose any teachings even if they are not found in the Bible. So even if Scripture were sufficient to equip us for every good work, it would not follow that Scripture contains all true, Christian doctrine. This is a non-sequitur from philochristos, and Sola Dei Verbum is more plausible.

Finally, you need the authority of the Church or Sola Dei Verbum, to justify knowing Scripture. If I were to ask philochristos, How do you justify inspiration? he might appeal to 1st Timothy once again. I've already expressed concerns about this approach, but in addition, it would be circular. Philochristos may appeal to the historical-critical account, but that would not follow, no matter how successful he is, for all that does is justify the claim that such events actually happened, and are true (and what can determine to be true is limited to mostly events and not doctrine) but that would in no way ever justify the claim of inspiration. The difference is this: all things that are inspired are true, but not all things that are true are inspired. For example, 2+2=4 is true, but it isn't inspired revelation. Because God speaks only truth, everything He says must be necessarily true. Through the historical inductive method that philochristos mentioned in his opening remarks, we can only conclude that such events are true, but not that they are inspired. How does one conclude that a written medium was, in the mind of God, specially intended for our knowledge? This is how.

Tom stranded on an island. He has never heard of God and His Son. He finds a book, starting with the documents of Genesis ending with Revelation. He reads about the accounts of Jesus, about how he built his church upon one man, Peter, and how he told them that he would always be with them, and how the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth. After some research he concludes the following propositions to be true: Jesus existed, Jesus died, Jesus resurrected, Jesus is God, and the teachings of the apostles preserved these truths (did Jesus ever say, "Write this down..."?), he is a sinner, he trusts in Jesus, etc. Then, a ship comes and sees the stranded man and returns to him to mainland. Say, Italy. He finds a Church, I dunno, in Rome, and exclaims, "Hey! You guys are believers too! Cool! Where are the apostles?" And they say, "We'll, Tom, we have the marks of the Church. We have successors going back to Peter, and we have this history..." The Church then tells Tom, "Hey, so, we're glad you found us and all, but you know that book that you're carrying around, with all those historical documents? Yeah that's actually God's book. So, we exercise our authority to declare this to be true." Philochristos wants to say that I'm in the same epistemic boat as he is. False. It goes: true documents->infallible Jesus->infallible church->infallible documents. We do not assume inspiration of scripture to begin with, but the much more modest claim that is it simply true. This avoids the charge of circularity. So, an authoritative Church is the only epistemically sound foundation for justifying the inspiration of Scripture, and authoritative teachings are necessary for knowing Scripture.
Debate Round No. 2
philochristos

Pro

For Tradition

Con makes the following argument:

1. Whatever is taught by the apostles is inspired by God.
2. The apostles taught both by speaking and by writing.
3. Therefore, both the spoken and written words of the apostles are inspired by God.

Con defends the first premise by saying that if the written words were inspired, then the spoken words must've been, too, which doesn't follow. Neither does Con justify his assumption that all the Traditions of the Catholic church accurately represent the spoken words of the apostles.

I acknowledged in my opening that God inspired more than just the scriptures. However, it is possible for God to reveal something to somebody and yet it not be authoritative and binding on the whole church. After all there are false teachers, false prophets, and false apostles. If somebody claims that God spoke to them, it has to be tested in light of scripture before it can be accepted. That is the pattern throughout the Bible, and I gave two examples in the last round which Con ignored. I showed from Acts 17:11 that the teaching of the apostle Paul was tested in light of the scriptures, and I showed from Matthew 15:1-6 that tradition is tested in light of scripture. Every supposed divine source of information is subordinate to the scriptures.

It's true that the oral traditions of the apostles carried authority (2 Thessalonians 2:15), but it doesn't follow that the Traditions held by the Catholic church today carry that same authority, much less that they are inspired.. I argued in the last round that we can't verify the accurate preservation of tradition like we can the scriptures. Tradition cannot have equal authority with scripture if we can't know that they came from the apostles. Con ignored that argument.

Against sola scriptura

Con claims that if sola scriptura were true, then it should be taught in scripture. Since it is not, sola scriptura is self-refuting and false. That argument fails for two reasons. First, sola scriptura is taught in scripture as I showed in the last round (and in this round). Second, even if sola scriptura was not taught in scripture, that would not make the doctrine self-refuting. As Con acknowledged, sola scriptura is not the view that the scriptures are the only source of knowledge for Christian. Since there are truths that are not contained in scripture, sola scriptura does not need to be taught in scripture before it can be true.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Con doesn't think 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches the sufficiency of the scriptures, so let's take a closer look.

"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

The word translated "adequate" is αρτιος, meaning, perfect, complete, fitted, ready.[1] If it is by the scriptures that the man of God is adequately equipped for every good work, then the scriptures are sufficient to equip the man of God for every good work. That should include the work Paul was calling Timothy to do, which included teaching. If the scriptures are sufficient to equip Timothy for the work of teaching, then the scriptures must contain all necessary doctrines. That means the scriptures are sufficient for the church.

Con objects to the sufficiency of scripture on the basis that we also need air, food, and water. Assuming that wasn't a joke, he has missed Paul's point, which is that the scriptures contain all the information necessary for every good work.

Con points out that supposing the scriptures are sufficient to equip us for every good work, it doesn't follow that it contains all true Christian teachings. He claim that I've committed a non-squitur, but he has committed a strawman fallacy since I never made that inference. What sufficiency entails is that all necessary Christian doctrines are contained in scripture. There may be some true teaching outside of scripture, but if so, they are not necessary for the church. Both Catholics and protestants acknowledge a distinction between essential and non-essential doctrines, so this shouldn't be an issue.

Canon

Con claims that we need the authority of the church to justify knowing scripture. If that is true, then nobody knew what the scriptures were until the church made an infallible proclaimation about it, which supposedly happened at the council of Carthage in 397 CE.[2] If that's true, then the frequent references to scripture in the New Testament make no sense. How could Timothy have known the scriptures from childhood if the church hadn't told him what they were yet (2 Timothy 3:15)? How could Apollos have proved from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:28)? How could the Bereans check Paul's teachings against the scriptures (Acts 17:11)?

I argued that if Catholics insist that we cannot know scripture apart from the authority of the church, they commit circular reasoning. He avoids the charge of circular reasoning by beginning with the assumption that the scriptures are merely true rather than infallible. But that is how I treat the decisions of the early church. We don't need an infallible proclaimation to tell us what the scriptures are. We only need a true proclaimation.

I question whether Con has really avoided the charge of circularity, though. He interprets Jesus as teaching the infallibliity of the Catholic church. But how does he know his interpretation is correct? Supposedly, "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been intrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone."[3] So, we know Jesus taught the infallibility of the Catholic church because that's how the Catholic Church interprets him, and they are infallible. That's circular reasoning.


Sources

1. http://biblesuite.com...

2. http://www.bible-researcher.com...

3. http://www.vatican.va...

Darth_Pious

Con

Pro argues that Sola Scriptura (henceforth SS) has three implications. I don"t deny the first. Pro then ascribes to me an argument about Canon which I never made. I made a similar epistemic argument about knowing inspiration, but knowing what is Canon is a separate issue, & to discuss it is a red herring. His second claim is that while God can reveal something to someone, it doesn"t follow that it is binding & authoritative upon others. I agree. Kinda. This is true of scripture too, is it not? For example, when Jesus tells one of the invalids not to tell others what he had done for him, or when Jesus tells Peter not to worry about what he commanded others, it still remains valid & binding only for that individual, however, it is true teaching nonetheless that such an event occurred. It would be false to say that such an event didn"t occur. Because it"s recorded in scripture (I"ve justified scripture in my previous speech), it"s therefore an infallible proposition. So, it is both a subjective revelation & command yet universal at the same time. Scripture needn"t have any direct relevance to me to give intellectual assent to it, & claim it infallibly true. Even if these two points were granted, they do not make a positive case for SS. His only attempt to do this is in his third.

The doctrine of SS is that Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith for Christians. Then Pro claims that one implication of this is that 2nd Tim claims scripture is that it is the sole fallible truth. But this doesn"t tell us anything. This is a tautology. So his only attempt to justify SS fails.

I"ve already sketched out some problems with the application of this verse under Pro"s interpretation, & he gave a rebuttal. Pro has clarified what he meant by sufficient. I accept. He means to say that it contains all the propositional information necessary for good works. Then he makes the non-sequitur saying because it is necessary for good deeds, it must therefore contain all the propositions necessary for sound doctrine. Here, I think, a difference is becoming more clear between Pro & myself. He seems to believe that all one needs to know is that which is directly relevant to one"s life. But I"ve disputed this when I discussed his second point. If Jesus revealed it to us, then it should be preserved as literally God"s word, even if it were not addressed to us, as Jesus may have personally addressed Peter or Judas. So long as the content came from God, it must be infallible. Pro seems to believe that it is only infallible if it came from God & it has direct relevance to our lives. There are many counter-examples to this. What relevance do the more dull parts of the Bible have to our lives? Like genealogies, for example. Also, doesn"t this lead to a relativism of revelation? If God can reveal something to an individual, but it is not binding upon others, then it follows that this person could say, "Well, this doctrine may not be true for you, but it is for me." What a brave new world. Further, while SS entails that only the Bible is the sole infallible standard of doctrine, how much of the Bible entails SS? It would not be a very impressive doctrine to say that only a handful of verses is sufficient for SS. This is fatal when applied to 2nd Timothy, because not all of scripture was completed at this time. Therefore, it would follow that Revelation is not necessary for "every good work".

I quote Pro, "What sufficiency entails is that all necessary Christian doctrines are contained in the Scripture." Here I ask, what did Christ ever teach that wasn"t necessary for the Church?

Contra SS, I"ve been disputing his first objection, & to his second, it does in fact need to be in scripture, since all scripture contains all information necessary for doctrine. SS is such a doctrine, according to Pro, & therefore should be found in scripture.

For my first argument, Pro claims it doesn"t follow but he did not explain. If the content is identical, then it must have the property of being inspired. If the content is written, why is it magically inspired then & only then? What is supernatural about ink paper? If the content is identical, then, by the law of identity, it is also inspired. Pro cedes that God may have given inspiration to things other than scriptures. Unless God can lie, they are also infallible. It needn"t be binding upon anyone else for it to be required to preserve & declare infallible. Pro has to justify why it must have application & explain the counter-examples.

Pro claims I ignored his examples of doctrine being tested by scripture (I didn"t ignore them, I just didn"t think it was appropriate to address them in my opening). All that follows from his examples is that scripture is a valid authority to use to scrutinize new doctrine. Who denies that? But what doesn"t follow is that it is the only way to test new revelation or it is the only standard. To argue so from the examples he gave is ad ignorantium. He cedes that the teachings of the apostles carried authority, but then says they don"t carry that same authority today. Again, I appeal to the law of identity. How does authority cease after time? Pro says I ignored his argument about how we know what came from the apostles. It"s a red herring, though I think worthy of another debate topic, which I welcome.

Concerning inspiration (not Canon), people knew what scriptures were on the authority of the apostles. Pro says he trusts what they said. How is that not ceding the entire debate over? It not that the references in scripture make no sense, but that cannot be justified alone. The Scriptures in reference in 2 Tim are most likely the OT as he was child when introduced. Pro insist that my argument is circular because I believe "Jesus taught the infallibility of the Catholic church BECAUSE of that"s how the Catholic Church interprets" it. Did I ever give that argument? Granted we're in the same boat, we're at a stalemate. Man I ran out of room.
Debate Round No. 3
philochristos

Pro

Implications of sola scriptura

Recall that in my opening, I said there are three implications of sola scriptura.

1. The scriptures are inspired by God and therefore authoritative.

This one has never been disputed in this debate, and Con says, "I don't deny the first." I did bring up the canon, but I wasn't straw-manning Con like he says I was. Rather, I was trying to anticipate an argument that he might use, and I attempted to show that Catholics are in the same epistemological boat that protestants are in. In his rebuttal, Con conceded that we are in the same boat.

2. Although God can speak through other means (e.g. personal revelation)...(a) everything else is subordinate to the scriptures, and (b) only the scriptures are normative for all Christians.

Here, Con says, "I agree. Kinda." But what he actually agrees with is that divine commands given to one person don't automatically apply to someone else. But that wasn't what I was getting at, so this is not really a concession on Con's part.

Recall that I justified 2 by pointing out that there were false teachers, false prophets, and false apostles. "Prophets" say many things, but not all of them come from God. So all teachings and prophetic utterances have to be tested in light of scripture. And as I showed from Acts 17:11 and Matthew 15:1-6, both tradition and the teachings of the apostles were subject to Biblical scrutiny. That is true even when it is claimed that the tradition comes from a true prophet (e.g. Moses). That means Catholic Tradition must also be judged in light of Scripture and rejected when it does not conform. It is therefore subordinate to scripture.

Con seems to think that if some teaching by an apostle is inspired by God, that makes the Tradition of the Catholic church automatically inspired by God. But this is a leap he has yet to even attempt to justify. As I've pointed out twice already, the reason Catholic Tradition is subordinate to the scriptures is because we cannot verify the accurate preservation of Tradition the way we can with Scripture. We can use textual criticism to find out what the original writings were, but we cannot trace all of Catholic Tradition to the apostles. Therefore, we need to subject Tradition to the authority of Scripture. Scripture is the standard by which Tradition ought to be judged.

3. The scriptures, by themselves, are sufficient. They contain all the information necessary for a person to be a Christian, to know the gospel, to live morally, and to obtain salvation.

The issue here is the sufficiency of scripture, not the exclusivity of scripture. The second point above dealt with exclusivity. The reason sufficiency is implied by sola scriptura is because if the scriptures are exclusively normative for the church, then they must contain all necessary doctrines.

Con claims that it doesn't follow that because the scriptures are sufficient to equip a Christian for every good work, that it therefore contains all necessary doctrines. But I already explained how that does follow, and Con just ignored the argument. One of the good works Paul is talking about is teaching. If the Scriptures alone are sufficient to fully equip Timothy to teach, then they must contain all necessary doctrines. If there are necessary doctrines not contained in scripture, then the scriptures would not be sufficient to fully equip Timothy to teach.

Con apparently thinks that because there are some unnecessary information in the scriptures (e.g. geneologies) that the scriptures therefore are not sufficient. But obviously, if the Bible has more than enough information, then it at least has enough information.

Pro makes a good point regarding 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It was written before Revelation. If the scriptures existing then were sufficient, it would follow that Revelation was unnecessary. To that I have two responses.

First, as far as necessary doctrines, Revelation is unnecessary. There is no essential doctrine found in Revelation that isn't found in some other book.

Second, even if Revelation was necessary, that wouldn't invalidate what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Revelation is progressive. While the doctrine of the Trinity is an essential doctrine for believers now, it has not always been an essential doctrine for God's people. During the old testament period, it had not yet been revealed that God was a Trinity, so it was not an essential doctrine. But once the doctrine of the Trinity was revealed, it became an essential doctrine for God's people. In the same way, the fact that not all scripture had been written by the time of 2 Timothy doesn't mean that what came after wasn't essential.

Con insists that anything taught by Jesus was an essential teaching for the church, which presumably includes what is not taught in scripture. But Con has not given any argument to that effect. He pointed out earlier in the debate that there were things Jesus said and did that were not written down, and I agree with that. But since those things never became part of scripture, and since 2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows that scripture alone is sufficient for every good work, including teaching, it follows that whatever else Jesus might've said was not necessary for the whole church to know about.

A final argument against sola scriptura

Con argues that if all necessary doctrines are found in scripture, and sola scriptura is a necessary doctrine, then it should be found in scripture. But I have never claimed in this debate that sola scriptura is an essential Christian doctrine. It is, I believe, a true doctrine, but it is not necessary for salvation or for holy living. And besides that, it is found in scripture, as I've shown.

Conclusion

That's about it. Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. Thank you Darth Pius.


Darth_Pious

Con

And here it is, the end of my first debate. Thanks to Philochristos for making it a very fun and interesting debate and getting me off to a good start. I can only hope that my other debates will as challenging.

In my opening remarks, I made three arguments for Sola Dei Verbum (henceforth SDV). I argued that the teachings of the apostles are authoritative and have equal standing with the Bible since they contain identical content. Because they are identical, they must both have the property of infallibility. Pro seems to have not addressed this anymore. So I win this point.

My second argument has been most contentious. I argued that if SS is false, then SDV is more plausible. I argued SS was false because we ought to see it taught in scripture, and we don't. Pro argued 2nd Tim did that and gave a qualified definition of SS, making good works a necessary condition. I argued that this did not work because 1) it was a tautology, 2) it was a non-sequitur because it needn't be necessary for good works for it to infallible and 3) while SS entailed all of Scripture to be infallible, we learn exactly how much of Scripture is meant when we learn how much of Scripture entails SS thus leaving out Revelation, which I think is a reductio. Pro did not address 1, bit the bullet on 3, and contended me on 2. He argued that I ignored him about his argument on how 2nd Tim implies that Scripture contains all necessary doctrine. But I objected that here Scripture most likely refers to the OT. He did not address this. I also may not have addressed his point in the same way because he qualified it by saying necessary doctrine was that which is beneficial for good works, which did take me by surprise, especially after conceding 3. I take that to be a reductio, and SS a very unimpressive doctrine (though I think this does pave way for more ecumenical dialogue, so I am also happy :-) I look forward to more discussions as a result of this debate) Pro misunderstands my point about genealogies, which is the same point about Revelation, conceded in 3. So it seems I win this argument as well.

My third argument for SDV was that the teaching authority of the Church was necessary for knowing Scripture. Here, I admit I may have made a misstep. I did say, "Granted we're in the same boat, we're at a stalemate." Pro took that to be a concession. It was not. It was a concession for sake of argument at the moment, but I did intend on challenging it, but as my next sentence indicated, I ran out of room. But I suppose for winning debate points, this will have to do, and I won't make any new arguments, as agreed. So, as far as my positive arguments go, I say I'm 2.5/3.

Pro make three points concerning SS. There isn't much to say about his first. About his second, Pro argues that all revelation must be tested by Scripture and are therefore subject to it. But I argued that didn't follow. What does follow is that Scripture is a valid way of testing new revelation, but that does not mean it cannot have equal authority to it, and to argue otherwise is ad ignorantium. Pro did not seem to address this. I wish I would have had time to unpack the argument that Pro cannot even have Scripture without the church, but as I mentioned, I did not have the time. Oh well :-/ Nonetheless, I still come out on top on this point.

His third point was contended in my second argument.

He concludes with this statement, "[SS] is, I believe, a true doctrine, but it is not necessary..." I can't help but scratch my head at this. What's the big fuss then with having this as one of the lasting battle cries of the Protestants? Perhaps Philochristos can explain to me in private correspondence. If it is not taught in scripture, and most of the debate here has revolved around that, then it is very difficult to come to such a doctrine, and if you could, it would still be a very weak and uninteresting doctrine.

So clearly I have won this debate. And if you're still unconvinced, Philochristos has misspelled my user name multiple times. This is unforgiveable. I am Darth_Pious, you rebel scum. Therefore, his character is deficient, and all his arguments are invalid. :-P

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Darth_Pious 4 years ago
Darth_Pious
Simple answer yeah, though I would qualify some things.
Posted by snamor 4 years ago
snamor
My apologies. I do recall.

So you would agree that searching the scriptures was an (not the only) appropriate way to test the teachings of the apostles? Thank you. Jesse
Posted by Darth_Pious 4 years ago
Darth_Pious
I think you did. I wrote, "Pro claims I ignored his examples of doctrine being tested by scripture (I didn't ignore them, I just didn't think it was appropriate to address them in my opening). All that follows from his examples is that scripture is a valid authority to use to scrutinize new doctrine. Who denies that? But what doesn't follow is that it is the only way to test new revelation or it is the only standard. To argue so from the examples he gave is ad ignorantium."
Posted by snamor 4 years ago
snamor
Darth, Did I miss your answer to Philo's understanding of Acts 17:11? Thanks
Posted by Darth_Pious 4 years ago
Darth_Pious
I think what you're thinking of RT is what Aristotelians might call potentiality and actuality. You're thinking of a horizontal sort of cause, rather than a vertical one.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
You're looking at a local level there, RT. On a global level, entropy is always rising such that thermodynamic processes are inefficient, and conservation of matter and energy means outputs aren't greater than inputs.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"An effect cannot be greater than its cause."

I find the above to just be true at all. The explosion caused by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was much greater than the internal mechanism which triggered it. Einstein was caused by his dad, but Einstein was greater than his dad. Neural activity causes poetry, but poetry is greater than neural activity. Existence is evolutionary (the universe evolved from an initial state, and humans evolve from simpler organisms). Thus, it would only make sense that many effects are much greater than their causes. Take a snowball rolling down a hill and getting larger for example.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
In any case, I'm guessing your point of contention over necessary versus sufficient information over good works is what Immanuel Kant would call the difference between categorical and hypothetical imperatives. Some good works can judge rules of skill or counsels of prudence for living an agreeably inclined life. Other good works are judging what necessary for living a dutiful life.

Last I checked, there's no need to believe the Bible or word of God are limited to proscribing what people need to do. They can also proscribe what people can do and how to do it effectively.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
I'm actually surprised that Darth didn't call Phil out on good works. If he understands the threat of moral relativism, then he should easily understand why its wrong for people to judge each other's performance of good works. That's Catholicism 101 anyway, right? People are universally reconciled, not depraved, so the notion of predestined callings is bunk.

That's also three of the reasons against Phil's argument:

One, he contradiced himself by suggesting that only those with a predestined calling to scrutinize properly could criticize literature properly, yet...

Two, he saw the line between necessary and sufficient criticism, and

Three, a consensus of scrutiny that's independent of an organization would suggest that everyone was inspired (and predestined for salvation). Heck, if sufficiency and exclusivity are indeed different, then it would suggest that the organization would contain predestined members by excluding those not called upon.
Posted by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
I just want to say that from a literary perspective, the argument about good works was a tangent. If I didn't independently understand its relationship to grace or how that's a point of contention between Catholics and Protestants, then that would have made things very confusing.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
drafterman
philochristosDarth_PiousTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The main convincing points for me were: 1) No reason not to believe that inspired writing is any more authoritative than inspired oral teachings; 2) The Timothy quote establishes necessity, not sufficiency. Yes, it says that the Bible is necessary for a person to be completely in faith, but that does not mean they can be completely in faith with the Bible alone.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
philochristosDarth_PiousTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I thought this was a very good first debate for Con. However, there were a few grammatical and punctuational errors made on his behalf. What tipped the scale for me what the argument with regards to false prophets, and the fact that biblical passages do seem to imply Sola Scriptura. Con's rebuttals and arguments to the contrary just didn't seem to have as much power. Therefore, It think its fair to grant philochristos points for arguments.
Vote Placed by effimero89 4 years ago
effimero89
philochristosDarth_PiousTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro lost me at "There are textual variants in the Bible, but we are able to reconstruct what the originals said because we have thousands of ancient manuscripts to compare to each other." Which Is simply not true, we have no possible way of getting the original manuscripts. Let alone an entire bible. The oldest surviving Hebrew Bible manuscripts date to about the 2nd century BCE. The oldest record of the complete text survives in a Greek translation called the Septuagint, dating to the 4th century CE. But I digress.
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
philochristosDarth_PiousTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Phil got the circular argument accusation backwards when it came to defining the origin of inspiration. He claimed that the problem is how an uninspired premise is used to determine when inspiration takes place, but that's the whole point. Inspiration follows from not being inspired; differences must be measured from absence. Furthermore, Phil arbitrates where the criteria used comes from to discover what should be included or not. Where would the faculty of scrutiny arrive from if not inspiration in the first place? All that said, I really didn't like Darth's response. It was almost as if he was stepping down to Phil's level in order to make him not feel bad for screwing up in his opening statement. He conceded that it's the consensus of scrutiny from an infallible organization that defines tradition, not inspiration itself. Then, as Phil point out, Darth confuses sufficiency with exclusivity, misunderstanding how what's subjective isn't automatically relative.