Inspired Writings After the Close of the Canon

Q. Please consider the following verses:

Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”
Proverbs 30: 5-6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to THIS word, it is because there is no light in them.”

If you would, please provide me with scriptural evidence in which God states men will come after the completion of the Bible and create other inspired writings.

A. The Catholic Church does not claim that any other inspired writings have been created by men after the close of the canon. So, Protestants and Catholics agree that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.

You may mistakenly think that the Catholic Church has added to the scriptures because we believe doctrines that Protestants reject. But what the Catholic Church teaches is the whole deposit of faith just as Paul exhorts us to do in:

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

We adhere to both the oral and the written teachings of Jesus to His apostles. And as St. John says:

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

So, we know that there is more than just what got written down. The Catholic Church has the Fullness of the Truth. We have both the Oral and the Written Tradition that St. Paul speaks about.

The reason that the Catholic Church has doctrine that Protestants do not have is not because we have added to the Deposit of Faith, after the Bible was canonized (400 A.D.) but because Protestants have rejected the oral traditions recommended by St. Paul in 2 Thess. that have always and everywhere been believed by historical Christianity.

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22 Responses to Inspired Writings After the Close of the Canon

  1. Constantine says:

    You claim that Catholics don’t hold to any inspired writings after the close of the canon but you hold your oral “tradition” on a par with those sacred writings. And this oral tradition is alive today. So you try to have your cake, while eating it, and thereby give the lie to your assertion that Catholics don’t, in fact, add to the Scriptures. Oral tradition is an addition to the extent that it is not an expression of the written Scripture but is an “ongoing revelation” and not part of the “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

    Secondly, apparently the use of the past perfect tense in Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians escapes you. When Paul says “hold fast to the traditions WHICH YOU WERE TAUGHT” he is clearly indicating a teaching that has been completed in the past. This is not some new teaching that is, or will be developing. Paul’s teaching was finished. He then indicates how HE delivered it to the Thessalonians – by word of mouth or by letter. If Paul were alive today, we would be bound to accept his oral teaching as authoritative. But he is dead. Therefore, our only reliable record is the written Scriptures. Which is why this very same Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians said, “do not go beyond what is written.” (1 Cor. 4:6).

    For you to twist the Thessalonian passage so that it contradicts Paul’s true teaching is to do a grave injustice to God’s Word. You are guilty of exactly the same infraction for which Jesus rebuked the Pharisees: “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8.) Paul NEVER recommended anything like your oral tradition.

    Likewise, John 21:25 is not a grant of poetic license to anyone. To imply that because the Scriptures may not be exhaustive, they are not sufficient violates, among other things, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Much more to be said…..but that is enough for now.

    Peace.

  2. Nan says:

    Do you understand that the oral tradition predates the written scriptures by a couple of centuries?

    Hello, Hippo.

  3. bfhu says:

    Constantine: You claim that Catholics don’t hold to any inspired writings after the close of the canon but you hold your oral “tradition” on a par with those sacred writings.

    BFHU: Absolutely! That is because what we call Sacred Tradition is nothing less than the oral teachings of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Why would we discount the oral teachings of the Apostles just because they did not get written down? Where in Scripture does it say oral teaching/oral Tradition is not to be trusted?

    Constantine: And this oral tradition is alive today. So you try to have your cake, while eating it, and thereby give the lie to your assertion that Catholics don’t, in fact, add to the Scriptures.

    BFHU:We don’t add to the Scripture. That is absurd. We have not added one word to the Bible.I ask for proof that we have added anything to Scripture. What book have we added? What chapter have we added? What sentence have we added? What word have we added?

    Constantine: Oral tradition is an addition to the extent that it is not an expression of the written Scripture but is an “ongoing revelation” and not part of the “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

    BFHU: No, you are quite wrong. Sacred Tradition/Oral Tradition, as Nan pointed out existed before the canon of the Bible. It IS “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jesus taught His apostles. His Apostles taught others and they taught others for decades. This was all ORAL! Then some of the apostles wrote down SOME of the things that Jesus taught them. John tells us that not all of it is written down b/c “the world could not contain all the books” if this were done. So, ORAL TRADITION GAVE BIRTH TO THE WRITTEN SCRIPTURES. They are all a part of the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Constantine:Secondly, apparently the use of the past perfect tense in Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians escapes you. When Paul says “hold fast to the traditions WHICH YOU WERE TAUGHT” he is clearly indicating a teaching that has been completed in the past.

    BFHU: Exactly right. Oral Sacred Tradition was delivered to the Apostles by Jesus…in the past.

    Constantine: This is not some new teaching that is, or will be developing. Paul’s teaching was finished. He then indicates how HE delivered it to the Thessalonians – by word of mouth or by letter.

    BFHU: Exactly! Paul taught them Sacred ORAL Traditon! We don’t make up new doctrine and then call it Oral Tradition.

    Constantine:If Paul were alive today, we would be bound to accept his oral teaching as authoritative. But he is dead. Therefore, our only reliable record is the written Scriptures.

    BFHU: Where does Scripture teach that “our only reliable record is the written Scriptures”? Or is this a Protestant Tradition?

    Constantine: Which is why this very same Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians said, “do not go beyond what is written.” (1 Cor. 4:6).

    BFHU: And the very same St. Paul said

    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us

    Was Paul contradicting himself or do you misunderstand the idiom in I Cor.?

    Constantine: For you to twist the Thessalonian passage so that it contradicts Paul’s true teaching is to do a grave injustice to God’s Word.

    BFHU: Twisted? How? I have merely pointed out St. Paul’s exhortation to hold firm to BOTH Oral and Written Traditions taught by him and the apostles. Where does scripture nullify this exhortation?

    Constantine:You are guilty of exactly the same infraction for which Jesus rebuked the Pharisees: “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8.)

    BFHU: These are NOT the traditions of men. They are the teachings of Jesus to His Apostles.And since Sacred Scripture itself recommends holding fast to both oral and written teachings from the Apostles, we do that very thing. Why don’t you obey Scripture. Sola Scripture was made up by Martin Luther and is a tradition of men if there ever was one.

    Constantine: Paul NEVER recommended anything like your oral tradition.

    BFHU: This is merely your opinion unless you can cite scripture to support it.

    Constantine: Likewise, John 21:25 is not a grant of poetic license to anyone. To imply that because the Scriptures may not be exhaustive, they are not sufficient violates, among other things, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    BFHU: Where does Scripture condemn everything except what is in the Bible? As I said before, Sola Scriptura is a tradition of men. And where does Scripture proclaim itself “sufficient” You see, we have here yet another Protestant Oral Tradition.?

  4. Robert says:

    Constantine,

    Check out a writer like Fr. Yves Congar OP. He’s very clear that the nature of Tradition is such that it, like the Scriptures, was complete with the fullness of apostolic revelation.

    You are right to say that, “he is clearly indicating a teaching that has been completed in the past”– if by this we derive the principle that revelation is given in the apostolic era and then closed.

    But you make a false inference when you conclude that this means no development is possible. Development is not equal to new revelation.

    -Rob

  5. Michael says:

    It doesn’t appear that CONSTANTINE disputes the existence of an early, pre-NT tradition, or that he challenges the Catholic Church for adding anything to the Bible itself. So, the arguments by BFHU about the latter as well as by ANONYMOUS (2 Thess. 2:15, John 21:25), BFHU (2 Thess. ibid.) and NUN (no reference) about the former, are irrelevant. What he does dispute is the Catholic use of the post-scriptural tradition, alongside the Bible, as the normative in proposing doctrine.

    And, by the way, the quoted references from 2 Thess. and John 21 do not refer to the whole NT, but only to what was handed down before these texts were written. They are just a hint, but prove nothing.

    And frankly BFHU, we really know nothing specific about the “oral teachings of the Apostles”, apart from the fact that it did exist, and from what is recorded in the NT; the Sacred Tradition is more than the “oral” teaching; and, it is debatable that it is “on a par” with Scripture, as CONSTANTINE ascribes it to you and you seem to approve (“Absolutely”), if it means that it is an independent source alongside the Scripture.

  6. Nan says:

    Michael, my name is Nan. I referenced the Council of Hippo, which, together with the Council of Carthage, canonized the books of the bible.

    We use sacred tradition that was handed from Jesus to the Apostles and down through the bishops.

  7. Michael says:

    NAN
    The “oral tradition” which “predates the written scriptures”, as you have put it in the earlier comment, took place during the first century and the first half of the second century”, i.e. before and while the NT was written. The last book was the 2 Peter, ca. A.D. 120 (or 150, if one adds as the last the second end of St. Mark, which Constantine would probably not consider canonical). Constantine doesn’t seem to dispute that oral tradition. What he disputes is the normative value of the tradition after the NT was completed.

    Now you say: “We use sacred tradition that was handed from Jesus to the Apostles and down through the bishops.” If you mean “through the bishops” only by A.D.120, he would probably not dispute it (although he would dispute the existence of bishops at that time, but this is irrelevant in the context); if you mean “through the bishops” right up to now, he would dispute the period since A.D.120 (or 150).

    (It is possible that Costantine believes that all the books were directly dictated, as Moslems believe about Quran, in which case there would be no need of any tradition preceeding them, but, from what he said in his comment, it doesn’t appear so. We will see in due course.)

    The local councils of Hyppo/Carthage took place later; off hand, in the first decade of the fifth century, but I see no relevance of it in the context of what you asserted.

    I don’t know how would he reconcile the rejection of normative force of the post-NT tradition with the recognition of canonicity by these Councils, but that is another matter, which I want to sort out with him in due course.

    By the way, the tradition was not transmitted “through the bishops” only.

  8. Nan says:

    I would hesitate to assume you know what Constantine thinks. If he has further comments he is free to make them;

    Not all tradition was memorialized in writing;

    As the bishops have apostolic succession, yes, “through” means through the present day. Whether they were actually called bishops early on is immaterial;

    It was at Hippo and Carthage that the bible was canonized, so yes, relevant; this is where the church determined which books were inspired writings.

    I know it isn’t “bishops only;” bishops have a lot to do with passing tradition though. Especially that whole laying on of hands thing.

  9. Travis says:

    First of all pretty much all scholars agree most of the Nt was finish before 70ad.

    When can find very earlier quotes dating 80-90ad of christian quoting the very scriptures we have today.

    This just go for show as the Nt was written people were already confirming what is scripture.

    The church fathers did not cannon The NT they only approve what was already accepted many years before even them was born.

  10. Michael says:

    CONSTANTINE
    Do come in and tell us what you think. It is essential to put the things right, and your comment doesn’t seem to have been taken on board by BHFU and Nan. We are aware that you challenge the doctrinally normative force of our tradition as conceived by you, but let’s leave this for the time being.

    What I am interested at this stage are the following points (incidentally, I have the Watchtower’s encyclopedia “Aid to Bible Understanding” 1969, which I find very informative; you might indicate the relevant entries there for me to read more):

    First, does your challenge include or exclude the pre-NT tradition, referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and John 21:25);
    OR you believe that the books of the NT were dictated directly, something like: fax from God (Jehovah), received by the faxmashines called Paul and John, the printouts of which were 2 Thessalonians and the Fourth Gospel ((in Islam: God (Allah) – Mohammed – Quran)), i.e. without any tradition preceding them;
    OR something else.

    Second, how do you arrive at the list of books in the Bible while challenging the normative force of the post-NT tradition. I have the Hennecke: “New Testament Apocrypha”, two volumes, more than 2000 pages. All that literature was circulating in the early centuries A.D. alongside the books which you accept as canonical (or, whatever term you use) before the canon was finally approved. Who has made the selection for you?

    Third. Not so relevant in the context, but you might wish to comment on whether you accept the second end of St. Mark’s Gospel as canonical (the entry on Mark doesn’t say, it might be elsewhere in the encyclopedia), and also, on what I said about the bishops.

    ROBERT
    Can you give an account of how Congar (if your copy is the new edition, mine is from 1960) interprets DV, Ch. 2 (Transmission of Divine Revelation); particularly, but not exclusively, No.8, with particular reference to the concept of Tradition therein, because the Council gives a descriptive account of it (doctrine, life, worship), and then abruptly introduces the word (i.e. “tradition”), without telling explicitly what it is: it leaves a reader to guess from the context The CCC 78 clarifies it; however, the Compendium 12, makes it broader to cover the scripture as well, thus coming closer to the Orthodox position ((T.Ware (Metropolitan Kallistos): The Orthodox Church 205, my copy is from 1972)).

  11. Joel says:

    Constantine,
    Please allow me to point out to you what the NT says in 1 Timothy about the authority of the Catholic Church in regards to teaching the truth, whether by writen or oral word: “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” Since to Catholic Church was the only church in exestance then we may claim to be the inheritors of the title, “pillar and foundation of truth.”

    This may be parcing words, but I think the only thing the Church says can no longer be added to is the Canon of Holy Scripture, this should exclude what is considered inspired. Inspired simply means the writing was urged by and characterized by the Holy Spirit. I understand that would include all documents that spell out Catholic doctrine regardless of whether or not it is in the Canon of Scripture.

    The 2nd Letter of St. Peter was surely writen before 68 since it explicitely claims to be from the apostle Peter. The entire Church would have well known of the death of Peter in 67 and rejected anything newly appearing claiming to be from Peter five decades after his death. The last book of the Bible was writen in the 90’s by John the Apostle.

  12. Travis says:

    “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.

    This is not refering to a catholic or One physical church

    we can see Household= people all believers and we see-church= call out ones in this verse as believers not that it talking about a certain part of Christianity.

    As For The cannon No church group cannon It christians since The Nt it self was being written were quoting it even before it was finish.

    This give good evidence what the NT is saying is true Because we have people already proving It during it written time Line.

  13. Travis says:

    opps i want to correct my self household can refer to also where one worship at.

    Like my family is all christian so this is household of God but I stand church means believers in all Not a physical church a part of Christianty that is.

  14. Travis says:

    I know some will pont out cathoic means called out or universal or genera etc….. but The term catholic as refering to a certain physical church was not use to refer to a certain group until some of The fathers.

    so I keep that church in tim is refering to body of Christ as believers in a whole Not a certain branch of Christianty.

  15. Dr. Eric says:

    “See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast [agape]; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

    St. Ignatius of Antioch (died- AD 107) Martyred in Rome for the Faith. He was the 3rd bishop of Antioch after Sts. Peter and Evodius and was taught by St. John the Apostle himself.

  16. Constantine says:

    Hi bfhu,

    BFHU: Absolutely! That is because what we call Sacred Tradition is nothing less than the oral teachings of the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

    Constantine: OK. So we are agreed. By having something on a par with Scripture you are adding to the Scripture.

    BFHU: Why would we discount the oral teachings of the Apostles just because they did not get written down? Where in Scripture does it say oral teaching/oral Tradition is not to be trusted?

    Constantine: Can you give me an example of something you know to be an “Apostolic teaching” that you know from a non-written source? I don’t mean church teaching; I mean something the twelve taught that was not written down? 1 Corinthians 4:6: “Do not go beyond what is written.” Which is consistent with the OT curses that were placed on those who relied on anything but what was “Written in the Book of the Law” (Deut30:10).

    BFHU:We don’t add to the Scripture. That is absurd. We have not added one word to the Bible.I ask for proof that we have added anything to Scripture. What book have we added? What chapter have we added? What sentence have we added? What word have we added?

    Constantine: I think your “Absolutely” answers the question. You add Tradition to the Scriptures.
    BFHU: No, you are quite wrong. Sacred Tradition/Oral Tradition, as Nan pointed out existed before the canon of the Bible. It IS “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jesus taught His apostles. His Apostles taught others and they taught others for decades. This was all ORAL! Then some of the apostles wrote down SOME of the things that Jesus taught them. John tells us that not all of it is written down b/c “the world could not contain all the books” if this were done. So, ORAL TRADITION GAVE BIRTH TO THE WRITTEN SCRIPTURES. They are all a part of the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Constantine: Why do you start in the middle? The tradition of Christianity didn’t begin with the Apostles but with the Old Testament. That’s why the Apostles repeatedly quoted the OT. That’s why Jesus came to fulfill the OT. And the OT clearly shows that God created His covenant people via His written word. It was His written “treaty” that proclaimed His majesty, His people’s servitude, the blessings they could expect from following the “commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law” (Deut. 30:10) and the curses they could expect from deviating from the written word. Joshua continued that teaching given by God to Moses: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night…” (Joshua 1:8). Any “oral tradition” existed only as a means of proclaiming the written word and the written word was the measure by which any oral proclamation was deemed valid. (An interesting treatment of this can be found in a work by today’s foremost Talmudic scholar, Adin Steinsaltz, entitled “The Essential Talmud”. According to Rabbi Steinsaltz the written law as always the “legal and logical basis for oral law….”). So, very clearly, with all due respect to Nan, it was God’s Written Word that not only allowed for any oral tradition, but created the covenant community from which it could be proclaimed.

    BFHU: Exactly! Paul taught them Sacred ORAL Traditon! We don’t make up new doctrine and then call it Oral Tradition.

    Constantine: You only know what Paul taught because you read it. Or because somebody read to you what Paul (or others, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) wrote down.

    BFHU: Where does Scripture teach that “our only reliable record is the written Scriptures”? Or is this a Protestant Tradition?

    Constantine: Fair question. See answer above. From the OT through Paul (1 Cor. 4:6) through Revelation 22:18-19. Beginning, middle and end. See also Jesus use of written Scriptures as authoritative.

    BFHU: Twisted? How? I have merely pointed out St. Paul’s exhortation to hold firm to BOTH Oral and Written Traditions taught by him and the apostles. Where does scripture nullify this exhortation?

    Constantine: Your first post spoke in the present tense and now you use the past tense. Your first post said, “The Catholic Church HAS the Fullness of the Truth. We HAVE both the Oral and the Written Tradition that St. Paul speaks about.” Now you say that your position is that you hold to what had been “taught by him (Paul) and the apostles.” I think that causes the confusion. If your meaning is the latter, we are in agreement. But I suspect you don’t mean the “Oral and Written Traditions taught by him” but you rather mean that you have the ability to supplement Scripture by ongoing oral teaching that is not based on written Scripture.

    BFHU: This is merely your opinion unless you can cite scripture to support it.

    Constantine: I hope I’ve given enough support earlier.

    BFHU: Where does Scripture condemn everything except what is in the Bible? As I said before, Sola Scriptura is a tradition of men. And where does Scripture proclaim itself “sufficient” You see, we have here yet another Protestant Oral Tradition.?

    Constantine: Nowhere. But, it does establish that Scripture is the sole infallible source for doctrine. I hope what I’ve written before makes that case. Also, that what was written before makes the case that Sola Scriptura is not man made, but God made.

    Until next time, Peace.

  17. Constantine says:

    Hello Rob,

    It’s good to hear from you again. Thanks, too, for the recommendation of Cardinal Congar’s work. I’m curious what your take is on this quote from him:

    To imagine that the Church, at a given moment in its history, could hold as of a faith a point which had no statable support in Scripture, would amount to thinking that an article of faith could exist without bearing any relation to the centre of revelation, and thus attributing to the Church and its magisterium a gift equivalent to the charism of revelation, unless we postulate, gratuitously, the existence of an esoteric oral apostolic tradition, for which there exists no evidence whatsoever. It is an express principle of Catholic teaching that the Church can only define what has been revealed; faith can only have to do with what is formally guaranteed by God. Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions An Historical and a Theological Essay (London Burns & Oates, 1966), p. 414.

    It seems as though the Cardinal is saying that it is an oral tradition has no support in Scripture. And that to attribute to it an authority equal to Scripture is to give the Magisterium a “charism” which he thinks it does not have.

    I’d like to hear your take on it.

    Peace.

  18. bfhu says:

    Constantine: By having something on a par with Scripture you are adding to the Scripture.

    BFHU: No we are not adding to scripture we hold the whole Deposit of the Faith, the Teaching of the Apostles as sacred both the written and the “orally” transmitted–which got written down eventually in prayers, letters, writing etc.
    Nothing in Sacred Scripture and not in any of your quotes from Scripture condemn the holding the oral teachings of the apostles on the same level as Scripture.

    Why should we discount the oral teachings of the Apostles just because they did not get written down?

    Constantine: Can you give me an example of something you know to be an “Apostolic teaching” that you know from a non-written source? I don’t mean church teaching; I mean something the twelve taught that was not written down? 1 Corinthians 4:6: “Do not go beyond what is written.” Which is consistent with the OT curses that were placed on those who relied on anything but what was “Written in the Book of the Law” (Deut30:10).

    BFHU: You mean like the Assumption of Mary. It is all written down now. Much of it is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    Constantine: I think your “Absolutely” answers the question. You add Tradition to the Scriptures.
    BFHU: No, you are quite wrong. Sacred Tradition/Oral Tradition, as Nan pointed out existed before the canon of the Bible. It IS “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jesus taught His apostles. His Apostles taught others and they taught others for decades. This was all ORAL! Then some of the apostles wrote down SOME of the things that Jesus taught them. John tells us that not all of it is written down b/c “the world could not contain all the books” if this were done. So, ORAL TRADITION GAVE BIRTH TO THE WRITTEN SCRIPTURES. They are all a part of the Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Constantine: Why do you start in the middle? The tradition of Christianity didn’t begin with the Apostles but with the Old Testament. That’s why the Apostles repeatedly quoted the OT. That’s why Jesus came to fulfill the OT. And the OT clearly shows that God created His covenant people via His written word. It was His written “treaty” that proclaimed His majesty, His people’s servitude, the blessings they could expect from following the “commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law” (Deut. 30:10) and the curses they could expect from deviating from the written word. Joshua continued that teaching given by God to Moses: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night…” (Joshua 1:8). Any “oral tradition” existed only as a means of proclaiming the written word and the written word was the measure by which any oral proclamation was deemed valid. (An interesting treatment of this can be found in a work by today’s foremost Talmudic scholar, Adin Steinsaltz, entitled “The Essential Talmud”. According to Rabbi Steinsaltz the written law as always the “legal and logical basis for oral law….”). So, very clearly, with all due respect to Nan, it was God’s Written Word that not only allowed for any oral tradition, but created the covenant community from which it could be proclaimed.

    BFHU: I fail to see your point. Yes, the OT preceded the NT

    Constantine: You only know what Paul taught because you read it. Or because somebody read to you what Paul (or others, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) wrote down.

    BFHU: True. I don’t read Greek or Hebrew so I rely on the translation of Scripture.But where does Scripture teach that “our only reliable record is the written Scriptures”? I contend that this a Protestant Tradition.

    Constantine: Fair question. See answer above.

    BFHU: What answer. Please write out and cite your scripture that condems our use of the Oral Teaching of the Apostles.

    Constantine: Your first post spoke in the present tense and now you use the past tense. Your first post said, “The Catholic Church HAS the Fullness of the Truth. We HAVE both the Oral and the Written Tradition that St. Paul speaks about.” Now you say that your position is that you hold to what had been “taught by him (Paul) and the apostles.” I think that causes the confusion. If your meaning is the latter, we are in agreement. But I suspect you don’t mean the “Oral and Written Traditions taught by him” but you rather mean that you have the ability to supplement Scripture by ongoing oral teaching that is not based on written Scripture.

    BFHU: We do not supplement Scripture byongoing oral teaching.
    Sacred oral TRADITION cannot be added to anymore than Sacred Written Tradition/Scripture.

    BFHU: Where does Scripture condemn everything except what is in the Bible? As I said before, Sola Scriptura is a tradition of men. And where does Scripture proclaim itself “sufficient” You see, we have here yet another Protestant Oral Tradition.?

    Constantine: Nowhere.

    BFHU: Thank you for your honesty.

    Constantine: But, it does establish that Scripture is the sole infallible source for doctrine.

    BFHU: Where? What verses in Scripture “establish that Scripture is the sole infallible source for doctrine.”

    Constantine:I hope what I’ve written before makes that case. Also, that what was written before makes the case that Sola Scriptura is not man made, but God made.

    BFHU: No, Constantine, I am afraid that you have not made your case or proven that Sola Scriptura is not man-made. Martin Luther invented Sola Scriptura. It is a Protestant Tradition.

  19. Robert says:

    Constantine,

    He is indeed saying that there is no such thing as an esoteric, i.e., gnostic or secret, and separate line of hidden oral tradition which is Tradition and is the deposit of faith.

    The reasons are fairly simple, but unfortunately it’s a difficult thing to get one’s hands on a copy of that book! But I assure you that the priest is not contradicting the Catholic view at all– rather, there are so many misconceptions about the Catholic view that he seems as if he is to you!

    Tradition in the proper sense is not a separate thing which contains “parts of revelation”– that is, we cannot conceive of Tradition as being the supplement, as if we have some doctrines derived from Scripture, and others derived from a purely oral tradition (in the sense of a secret, passed-down teaching). Rather, revelation in its unity is materially contained in the Scriptures (hence, all doctrine has its basis in some literal sense of Scripture, and Thomas Aquinas likewise affirms this), but Tradition is the formal way in which the Church knows and interprets Scriptures.

    It cannot be an esoteric oral tradition, for revelation is public, not secret. But tradition must exist as the correct interpretation of Scripture, as the Fathers affirm. This, after all, is why the heretics always err, for they do not interpret the Scriptures as the Church does.

    This of course does not amount to asking for proof-texts for doctrines (a modernistic Protestant view if there ever was one!), but nonetheless sacred doctrine always has its source in the Scriptures.

    Michael,

    I’m not sure he interacts with the second Vatican council– and I’m not sure that’s because I didn’t get that far in the book (I must admit to having only read the first half so far), or because he wrote it before the Council. Regardless, he takes his view from an examination of the Fathers and careful distinctions with regard to the possible meaning of the Tridentine definitions.

    He shows from an examination of the fathers that a reference to a separate ‘oral tradition’ which has parts uncontained in Scripture refers only to *practices* and not to doctrines, the most salient being the three-fold immersion of baptism.

    -Rob

  20. happy says:

    Hello Constanine,

    I am following along and just curious, which oral teachings of the Church do you have a problem with exactly? I was raised on sola scripture and I am in study of the Church. You may have addressed this and I missed it, but I am curious what you find that you have a problem with.
    Thank You,
    Ally:)

  21. Michael says:

    ROBERT
    Dei Verbum was promulgated on 18th October 1965. When your edition of Congar was published? Before or after?

  22. Michael says:

    I apologize, ROBERT. On re-reading I note that the book you have was written before, and that is enough for me. I thought that you might have a post-Vatican II edition which would be helpful in understanding the Dei Verbum. Thanks.

    CONSTANTINE
    Do, please, respond to my post addressed to you. The doctrine on Tradition is not all that simple as BHFU has put it to you, and you might have misconceived it.

    From purely practical point of view, it would have been helpful in perusing your debates with BHFU, had you allocated numbers to each pair of assertions/replies, and if she used the same numbers when referring to them, then you in the next set etc.

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