TRADITION

 

 

 

Q. As long as tradition can have a parallel to the Bible it is as the Bible. But do not be confused, some traditon is not Biblically correct. The doctrine of Vatican II is something Catholic and is not in the Bible..

A. When the Catholic Church talks about Tradition it is referring to the Teachings of the Apostles. This is not changeable either. These are not the “teachings of Men.” As the years passed we understood this teaching more deeply. For instance the Trinity is not explained anywhere in the Bible but it was taught in Oral TRADITION. It is only obliquely referred to in Scripture. That is why the Bible only Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity.
The reason no doctrine of the Catholic faith contradicts anything in scripture is because the Bible actually came out of the Teaching of the Apostles or the TRADITION of the Catholic Church. Some of it got written down but a lot of it was taught and passed down orally. As 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.

Unlike most of our Protestant brothers and sisters, who take the Bible and determine the doctrines of their faith by study of the scriptures the Catholic Faith came long before the Bible was canonized. Therefore, we do NOT sit down with the Bible and derive our doctrines OUT of Scripture Alone/ Sola Scriptura. Luther invented that doctrine 1500 years after the time of Christ. And the Catholic Church rejects Luther’s doctrine. We take all of our doctrines directly from the Teaching of the Apostles of Jesus Christ –BOTH ORAL and WRITTEN.

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26 Responses to TRADITION

  1. Adrienne says:

    Exactly what we just taught at RCIA…

  2. Constantine says:

    YOU WROTE:

    “When the Catholic Church talks about Tradition it is referring to the Teachings of the Apostles.”

    How would I find a list of these Teaching of the Apostles that you call Tradition?

    Thanks,

  3. bfhu says:

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the easiest and most accessible resource. Be sure to read every footnote regarding doctrine that interests you.

  4. Constantine says:

    Thanks.

    I read the appropriate sections (Part I, Section 1, Chapter 2, Article 2) and footnotes 32-62 but there is no list of Traditions. The Catechism talks about the transmission of Tradition, its relation to Sacred Scriptures, and Interpretation but nothing about what they ARE.

    So could you tell me where I can find a list of them? The Church says they are sacred, so there must be a list somewhere.

    Thanks, again.

  5. Joel says:

    I think a good place to start on a list of Holy Tradition is in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and the Sacrements (which as defined by the Catholic Church may be more exhaustive than one might presume upon his preliminary survey!).

  6. Nan says:

    Tradition isn’t authoritative unless it’s in list form? So the ten commandments are in because they’re a list, but communion is out because it’s not on a list? It’s only a sin if it violates a rule on the list? That’s not what my priest says!

  7. Robert says:

    Constantine,

    Tradition is not a ‘list’ of separate truths, as if one *part* of revelation was given in Tradition and another *part* of revelation was given in Scripture, which form two sets of different by complementary truths.

    Rather, Tradition and Scripture form two different modes whereby revelation is given wholly and completely. Indeed, by Tradition the Church knows and unlocks the fullness of revelation given in the Scriptures. Not as if by some ‘list’ but as guided by the same Spirit who inspires each, she unlocks the fullness of the meaning of the Scriptures, which contains materially the fullness of revelation.

    Church teaching and the writings of the Fathers witness to the Tradition of the Church, but are not in themselves it.

  8. bfhu says:

    Constantine,

    Sorry I was not clear because you misunderstood my referring you to the Catechism. As commentators above have mentioned there is not a list I am aware of of the Sacred Traditions of the Church as you seem to want. I understand because as i was coming into the the Catholic Church I asked for a list of Mortal Sins so I could be sure to avoid them. But there isn’t one comprehensive list. There are a few lists in scripture but they are not exhaustive. The diabolical creativity of Our Enemy would make any attempt at list making obsolete as soon as he had the chance. I digress…

    What I meant in my comment above was for you to read about a doctrine, like transubstantiation, in the Catechism. You will find references to Apostolic Tradition in the text or in the footnotes that refer to Scripture and writings of the early Fathers of the Church and other very early documents.

    The faith found in these earliest writings are some of the first written teachings of what were at first oral teaching or the oral tradition Paul was writing about in 2 Thess 2:15. For Protestants, who are used to thinking that everything they need for guidance is in the Bible, the realization that there are 36+ volumes containing Apostolic Tradition is overwhelming.

    But a good place to start is still the compact Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  9. Constantine says:

    Joel,

    You are exactly right. When you write, “I think a good place to start on a list of Holy Tradition is in the interpretation of Holy Scripture…” It would be tremendous to find an authoritative interpretation of the entire Scripture. Has the Magisterium produced one? If so, I would love to see it.

  10. Constantine says:

    Nan,

    The Catechism says, “”Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other.” (Para. 80). If you don’t like the word “list”, ok, but please give me some examples of Tradition “communicating”. And remember, Rome binds us to the teaching of “Tradition” under pain of damnation, so we should be able to know this pretty clearly, don’t you think?

    Peace to you.

  11. Constantine says:

    Hi bfhu.
    I’m sorry if I misunderstood you. I do that sometimes, but I try not to be intentional about it!

    I certainly have read about transubstantiation in the doctrines of the Church, but I can’t find anything in the Bible or the Apostolic teachings about it. And when the article we are all responding to says, “When the Catholic Church talks about Tradition it is referring to the Teachings of the Apostles” it seems like somebody could give some evidence of that. Where did the Apostles ever teach about transubstantiation? They didn’t, so Tradition has got to be something else.

    Next time, a few thoughts about 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

    Peace to you……

  12. bfhu says:

    Constantine:
    Where did the apostles ever teach about transubstantiation?

    BFHU:They taught it ORALLY whenever and wherever necessary. These teachings they did not write down except Paul’s teaching on eucharist in I Cor. 10 & 11. Some of what the Early Church Fathers taught on Eucharist can be seen at Catholic Answers

    Where did they get this teaching? Not out of the New Testament…it had not been canonized infallibly. This teaching came down to them from the ORAL TEACHING of the apostles

  13. Constantine says:

    Because 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is often mis-cited in support of “Tradition” let’s take a look at it. Here is the text:

    So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thess. 2:15

    Paul uses pretty strong language here. The Thessalonians are to “stand firm” and “hold” to these teachings Paul had already given them. So they must be important. So what are these “teachings”? The key is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:8

    And what makes that teaching so special? Please look with me at verse 12:

    … I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12

    So Paul is demanding that the Thessalonians (and Galatians) “hold fast” to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed directly to Paul, and communicated to them in the past.

    And “how” did Paul faithfully proclaim this direct revelation from Christ? He did it by “word of mouth and by letter”. So that is how Paul passed on the direct revelation from Christ. That is how he did it. Paul communicated orally and by letter. And we can continue to communicate orally and by letter.

    But here is the question….

    What can we proclaim, orally or in writing?

    The only answer is those “teachings” that had already been passed on. That is to say, the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed directly to the Apostle Paul. And how do we know this Gospel? Because it is written down for us in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

    What about Tradition? If it is “a gospel other than the one we preached to you”, the one you have in writing, the one that is complete in the past, Paul says to him who preaches such a thing, “let him be eternally condemned!”

    Paul believed the Gospel given to Him by Christ was perfect, powerful and complete. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 is his command to us to “hold fast”!

    Hold fast, friends. Hold fast!!!

  14. Michael says:

    CONSTANTINE, I am fascinated by your attempts to interpret the scriptural texts, but surely you can’t claim infallibility. Because of the ambiguity inherent in any language, not to mention other factors involved, the same text can be interpreted in many different ways. The New Testament is itself nothing but the early tradition in so far as it has been put in writing. It was written by the Church, and acknowledged as canonical by the same Church. She is its divinely inspired author and the sole authentic interpreter. Any interpretation that is incompatible (as different from being different but compatible) with the Church’s understanding of the Scripture is false, because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit who is God. It is through the Church that the Scripture has reached you. So, if one wants to understand it as its authentic author understands it, one has to start with the Catechism which is full of references to the Scripture and other sources.

    The Scripture is not above the Church as – so I understand – the Moslems believe their Quran to be; likewise some Protestant denominations. It is a sort of Church’s own manual, a point of reference, highly authoritative because it is written under the Inspiration, but as such, entrusted to the Church. It is her own book primarily for her own use.

    Tradition is a living process whereby “the Church in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits…what she believes” as received from Christ and the Apostles. There is no “list of Traditions” because the elements of Tradition cannot AS SUCH be put on record – various records are only witnesses to it: Apostolic Fathers, Fathers, Doctors and theologians in general, liturgical books, penitential books, architecture, icons, paintings, music, catechetical manuals, theological manuals; documents of the Magisterium which interpret authentically all this, and finally the doctrine, life and worship of the Church today.

    If one wants to get involved the best start are the most recent documents, the Catechism to begin with. Go through its thousands of references (the easiest way to trace them is in the Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the copy I have has 1000 small print pages in which extracts from all the sources mentioned in the references are quoted in the same order as they are on the CCC pages). If one than wants to go further, he has to get hold of the complete sources referred to in the CCC as a reference, and most of them would point you to their own references, and so on. If you go on and on you will see what the Tradition is all about in so far as it is on record.

  15. Constantine says:

    Hello Friends,

    I wish you all blessings this day!

    When I came across this post a few days ago, it was very unsettling. There are so many errors in just one post – and blatant ones at that. Now that we have reviewed some individually, let’s recap and look at one more. (Thank you all for your responses.)

    The author made the claim that the Bible “came out” of the “Teachings of the Apostles”. The Old Testament alone is enough to disprove that. The further claim that “Tradition” comes out of the Teachings of the Apostles, was shown to be untrue upon just a brief analysis of 2 Thessalonians 2:15. And much more could be said about Jesus’ condemnation of tradition.

    The then further claim that, “no doctrine of the Catholic faith contradicts anything in scripture” is false because such doctrines as Purgatory, indulgences, the treasury of merit, celibate priests, and the Marian dogmas – just to name a few Catholic “doctrines” – are ALL contradicted by Scripture. So how this claim can be put forth so boldly displays an amazing nescience.

    The error I would like to highlight today is “Bible only Jehovah’s Witnesses” slight. The author takes an unfortunate swipe at this group while displaying his ignorance of them. The JW’s are NOT a “Bible only” sect. They rely upon the direction and Biblical interpretation of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society – their “infallible interpreter”. The Society produces literature, sponsors meetings and sends out directives to its members telling them exactly how to use their Bibles as well as other tools of their Church. And it tells them exactly how to interpret their Scriptures. So they are definitely NOT a “Bible only” group as the author states so dismissively.

    So we have seen that every point made in the post on this website – about the Bible, Tradition, Apostolic teaching, JW’s – all of it is in error. And stated with such confidence!

    So friends, lets be on guard for error. Don’t fall for cheap shots or bold assertions.

    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8.

    Peace to you all.

  16. Nan says:

    Constantine, this is very much a chicken and egg argument; Tradition was around long before the New Testament appeared in written form. It has also been translated many times over.

    In any case, The Watchtower Society can hardly be infallible; the tradition hasn’t been around much more than a hundred years and is just another offshoot of Protestantism that has a history of projecting incorrect dates for Armageddon. You’d think that if their tradition was infallible, they could get the date right; most recently they figured Jesus would return in 1975. Have you seen him?

  17. Constantine says:

    Hello Michael,

    Thank you for your kind note. I’m always glad to provide some “fascination” to a friend!

    And you are exactly right; I would not claim infallibility for myself! To God alone be that glory!

    When you state that every language has ambiguity in it, you are quite right. But ambiguity cannot be the only characteristic of language. If it were we would not be able to have this dialog! So God has also built consistency, persistency, etc. into language so that it can be used. He used words to speak to His disciples and He has given us His Holy Word. He tells us in Matthew that man does not live on bread alone but on every “word” that comes from Him. The Apostle Paul (as I noted in the post to which you here refer) was absolutely certain the about right “words” that made up the revelation he received from Christ. And he told Timothy to hold on to the “pattern of sound words” that Paul gave to him. (2 Timothy 1:13). And the Apostle Luke emphasized how important it was to compare even apostolic preaching to the “words” of Scriptures in order to assess its accuracy. Isn’t that great? Luke tells us (Acts 17:11) that the Bereans were correct to examine Paul’s preaching against the written word! And Paul got his words directly from Christ! So Michael, if there was so much ambiguity in the words of Scripture, why would Luke do that? If ambiguity ruled the day, how could Paul be sure? And Peter, too, knew with certainty. In 2 Peter 3:15 describes Paul’s writings as coming from “the wisdom of God” just like all the other Scriptures. And we don’t have time to go over all the OT citations, but just think how important the written “word” was to God on Mt. Sinai. He gave Moses tablets with “writing” on them. I suppose he could have told Moses to memorize the Ten Commandments and pass them along, but He didn’t. God wrote them down in human language! Isn’t that great, Michael? (And isn’t it a great blessing that He would humble Himself by revealing Himself to us through such an imperfect tool as language? In the words of that old hymn, “I scarce can take it in!) So, Michael, please don’t let the obvious imperfections of human language dissuade you from the fact that our perfect, all-powerful God has overcome it! And please don’t believe that the Bible is a work of man. God is true to His Word, that we can KNOW the truth. (John 8:32)

    Michael, the New Testament is not merely a history of early tradition. In fact, after the Gospel is read at Mass, the priest always says, “This is the Word of the Lord”. He never says, “well, this was just what the apostles happened to write down.” Do you see the difference? Words carry the attributes of the speaker. My words carry my characteristics and yours, yours. And God’s Word carries His attributes. That is exactly why the Apostle Paul says that the “gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) And in 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul tells us that the Gospel is not “human words” but carries the power of the Cross. And that same Apostle tells us in Galatians to NOT follow his teachings unless they comport with an objectively discernible standard that he recognized as the Gospel. So the Scriptures are decidedly not written by the Church. They are God’s eternal Word, revealed to man by the Holy Spirit. In fact, I think the Catechism even describes the Scriptures as the revealed Word of God.

    “Any understanding of the Scripture that is incompatible with…the Church’s understanding is false.” OK, Michael. Would you please tell me where I can find a Magisterial, infallible teaching of the Bible? How about just one verse…the verse I mentioned earlier, 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Guess what, there isn’t one. Now what do you do? Do you see the predicament? Your telling me I can only agree with a teaching that doesn’t exist! Jesus said He would send His Spirit to lead us into ALL truth (John 16:13). Not that He would establish an institution to withhold it.

    “The Scripture is not above the Church….” Well that would be true if the Scripture was nothing but a history book written by twelve fishermen. But the Scripture is “God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) and identical with the person of Christ. “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13) Jesus’ very name is the Word of God, Michael. So, yes, the Word of God is above the Church.

    Hard as it is to believe there is more to say about the canon, etc. But that will have to wait for another day.

    Blessing to you Michael. I pray that God will lead us both into His Holiness for the glory of His Name.

    Peace.

  18. bfhu says:

    Constantine,
    I don’t have time to respond in detail to your comment about my post. I did err in saying that the Bible came out of the teaching of the apostles. I meant the New Testament.

    The then further claim that, “no doctrine of the Catholic faith contradicts
    anything in scripture” is false because such doctrines as Purgatory,
    indulgences, the treasury of merit, celibate priests, and the Marian dogmas – just to name a few Catholic “doctrines” – are ALL contradicted by Scripture. So how this claim can be put forth so boldly displays an amazing nescience.

    Actually, Catholic doctrines are not contradicted by Scripture. They are merely contradicted by the Protestant interpretation of Scripture. That is a big difference.

    Scripture must be interpreted. Certain Scriptures are interpreted one way by one Protestant sect and another way by a different sect. The Catholic Church interprets Sacred Scripture different from many Protestant Churches. Then again some Protestant Churches agree with the Catholic interpretation of certain scriptures. Therefore, the Catholic Church founed by Jesus Christ does have infallible doctrine, dogma and interpretation of Scripture.

    Who do you say has the infallible interpretation? You? Your sect? The Baptists? Chuck Smith? Billy Graham?

    The New Testatment came directly out of the teachings of the Apostles whose teaching came directly from Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ upon Peter and the Apostles and it canonized the New Testament. The NT is from the Catholic Faith which has been in existence since Pentecost (2000 years) All other Protestant Churches are 500 years old or less. Calvary Chapel is barely 40 years old.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses do consider themselves sola scriptura despite their submission to the their society. And, their rejection of the Trinity is absolutely based upon Scripture alone. They can’t find the Trinity spelled out in the Bible so they reject it.

    You accept the Trinity because the Catholic Church enshrined it in dogma around 400 AD. When the Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church they took this dogma as well as others with them. TRADITION!

  19. Michael says:

    CONSTANTINE, In a sense God is “alone” infallible, but He, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, has endowed His Church, who is His Mystical Body, with the gift of infallibility in matters that pertain to the doctrine. On the other hand, I am not sure that your admission of your own non-infallibility is free from a rhetoric; otherwise, you would have to admit too that all that you have posted thus far might be substantially wrong.

    I do not dispute that a language can be used for communication. However, the latter involves not only a communicant but also a recipient of communication who has to appropriate what the communicant is trying to communicate, in the sense intended by the communicant. This process is called interpretation. If he fails to grasp the communication in the sense intended by the communicant it is called – misinterpretation. There are now some five hundred Christian groups each claiming that its own interpretation of the Scripture is correct – the best evidence of the presence of ambiguities in the Bible – but only one is correct: that of the early Christian community who wrote the Scripture and is now known as the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. She has written (I will come to this later) the NT and adopted the OT as her own, giving it a specific Christian meaning.

    I am glad that you introduced the word “dialog”, but have to make clear for the sake of dialogue that, as far as I am concerned, any argument of yours, if drawn from the Scripture to challenge the doctrine of the Catholic Church is a priory false; so you are well advised to take it on board and save your time. You are arguing in vain.

    In vain, because you take for granted what I question, i.e. that the Scripture can be authentically interpreted outside the context within which it was written or adopted. I repeat: the Scripture was written by the Church…. She is its divinely inspired author and the sole authentic interpreter.

    “Would you please tell me where I can find a Magisterial, infallible teaching of the Bible?”. The question is not well formulated. If you mean “about” or like, instead “of” I have already told you to consult the CCC and the references therein. You will find there (in the CCC) about the Bible too (Nos. 101-133, more specifically: 109-119; also No. 85). For further reading: DV on transmission of Revelation and on Interpretation of the Scripture.

    The word “inspired” implies that the Scripture is the Word of God – I do not have to be taught it; but it is in the sense as understood by the Church. You have actually learnt that it is the Word of God not from the Scripture itself but from the Church, and at the same time – misunderstood it, having conceived it as a sort of fax-machine printout cabled from Heaven, whereby its human author was nothing but the – fax machine. This is what you imply by: “please don’t believe that the Bible is a work of man.”

    “He would humble Himself by revealing Himself to us through such an imperfect tool as language” – correct, as far as it goes, but there is more to it: he used imperfect human beings as well, not as a dehumanized “tool”, but as He created them: with reason and free will. So, they were not faxmachines but true authors of their books (CCC 106), which themselves are full of imperfections and ambiguities. God did not “overcome” this by a miracle, but by ensuring that there remains in the texts a Message He wanted to convey in spite of human imperfections, non merely imperfections of the human language. So, the Bible is the work of God as well as the work of man, not in the sense that a part of it is the work of God and part of it is work of man, but that the work of God is submerged in the man’s work.

    By “God” I mean the Holy Trinity. So, the Scripture is not “God’s eternal Word, revealed to man by His Spirit”. The “Word” in this context is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and the “Spirit” is the Third Person. Revelation is not merely a set of facts not known before and recorded in the Bible, but God’s personal self communication, gradually through the prophets of the OT and fully, by the Incarnation of the Second Person – the Word of the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, to see whom is to see the Father (Jn 14:9). He not only taught the Apostles – the first Bishops, the facts, but lived and prayed with them; and they have passed that experience of Him to the Church so that she continues handing on what she received, unfolding it – both by the guidance of the God Holy spirit, to the present day. I wrote about it last time (see CCC 77-79).

    By “written by the Church” I do not mean an abstract creature called “church”, but that the NT was written by divinely inspired men of the Church. There was quite a flood of literature about the experience of the early Church of the time, and the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, whom Christ promised to send (John 16:3), has selected those writing which reflected her Faith most adequately, and set aside others as unreliable – now known as the NT apocrypha. Guided by the same Holy Spirit, she has adopted as her own the books of the OT, understood in Christian sense, not in a Jewish sense. Some of the books of both Testaments she has adopted without much hesitation; for others she took time to reflect. Thus, eventually she adopted more books of the OT than the Jews had adopted – these additional books are known as Deuterocanonical books, and approximately correspond to what is sometimes printed in Protestant bibles under the heading of “Apocrypha” (warning to Catholics: do not keep Protestant bibles). The books of the NT, which were adapted among the last, were: the letters of St. John, St. Peter’s second letter, Apocalypse, Hebrews, there are one/two more – can’t say off hand. What you use is taken from the scriptural canon of the Church, with the exemption of the Deuterocanonical books of the OT. So, your bible is a defective bible: you are discarding ca. 25% of the OT of the Word of God.

    You impute to me that “the New Testament is… a history of early tradition”. No, it is the early tradition in so far as it has been put down in writing. The early tradition, and the tradition as a whole, includes more as I said last time. What St. Paul says in “Romans”, “Galatians” and “1 Corinthians”, is what he has received from the early tradition plus his own inspired reflection.

    I think I have answered all your points; just a WARNING TO CATHOLICS who might be tempted to get involved in a scriptural argument with you. They should avoid it at all costs for four reasons: firstly, you are likely to be more familiar with the Scripture, so the argument would not be about the truth but about winning the debate between two unequals; secondly, they might in ignorance misinterpret the Scripture if they do not take on board that its interpretation is “entrusted exclusively to living voice of the Church Magisterium whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (DV 10/2); thirdly, equally in ignorance, they might misinterpret the tradition, which is also the Word of God subject to the authentic interpretation by the Magisterium (ibid.); fourthly, not all but many, or at least some, of those who live in countries with a substantial Protestant population are likely to have made their own at least some elements of the Protestant “sola scriptura” position, and tend to see the Scripture as something above the Church instead of taking it as a part of the Church’s tradition, and thus, in ignorance, concede to you many assertions they as Catholics shouldn’t concede.

    A few comments on your “Hello friends” post.

    The doctrine on “Purgatory, indulgences, the treasury of merit… and the Marian dogmas” are not “contradicted” by Scripture, but they are not explicitly there, and as you know from what is above, the Tradition too is the Word of God (DV 10/2). “(T)he Church does not derive from Holy Scripture alone the certainty she posses on all revealed truth” (DV 9).

    The “celibate priests” is not a doctrine, but canonical discipline in the Western part of the Catholic Church, a very prudent one I think.

    “The JW’s are NOT a ‘Bible only’ sect. They rely upon the direction and Biblical interpretation of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society – their ‘infallible interpreter.’”

    What is the difference, when that Tract Society is itself the “Bible only”
    study group? If it isn’t, why the Witnesses go from home to home trying to persuade people, and claiming to rely on the Scripture only? To qualify the challenge as the “slight” isn’t conductive of a friendly dialogue. I just wonder why the Witnesses keep Russell and Rutheford in hiding…

    I have to be tough with you, not that I am not friendly, but have to make sure that you take on board that you cannot expect from well informed Cataholics to buy your assumption that the Scripture can be used to challenge the teaching of the Church.

  20. Constantine says:

    Hi bfhu,

    Your question,

    Who do you say has the infallible interpretation? You? Your sect? The Baptists? Chuck Smith? Billy Graham?

    is fascinating in its presuppositions. But infallibility is an attribute of God, not found in a fallen creation.

    But what I would suggest for your consideration is that God alone is the infallible interpreter of Scripture. That is why the writer of Hebrews says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”. God alone is qualified to witness to God. In the OT, God did that face-to-face (i.e. Adam, Abraham, Moses) and through the written Scriptures. Jesus taught face-to-face (to his Apostles) and His teaching continues through the NT. Jesus authorized a few men to speak with His authority; His apostles. He promised them His Holy Spirit to “lead them into the truth” and bid them take this truth into all the world. And the Apostles were very jealous to guard this “pattern of sound teaching” (2 Timothy 1:13) which “ was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3) and which was based on “God’s power” and not the wisdom of men. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) And bid their followers to test their own teaching (and all others) by the written Scriptures.

    Because the apostles would die and because they could not be all places at all times, they reduced this “pattern of sound teaching” to writing. Which is why Paul could say so emphatically, “Do not go beyond what is written.” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

    So, bfhu, when the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill” do we need an interpreter for that? When Jesus says, “Love your neighbor” does that need to be interpreted? No, I think you would agree. Those commands have a clear meaning. So why do we need an interpreter when these same “God breathed” Scriptures say, “Do not go beyond what is written.”?

    But here’s the danger.

    The Apostles were not making idle chatter about this. Paul says that we are to break fellowship (excommunicate in Catholic parlance) anyone who does not live according to this teaching and John says that curses await those that add or subtract anything from the written Word; both men having received their instruction directly from Jesus.

    So, I offer all this to you as evidence that any “Tradition” that is beyond “what is written” does contradict the clear and obvious commands of Scripture. It places those who follow that “Tradition” outside of the fellowship of believers and puts their souls in mortal danger.

    I’m still hoping you will support your claim to the contrary.

    Blessing to you, bfhu.

  21. Scripture and Tradition

    Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith, meaning that it contains all of the material one needs for theology and that this material is sufficiently clear that one does not need apostolic tradition or the Church’s magisterium (teaching authority) to help one understand it. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages. Anything extraneous to the Bible is simply non-authoritative, unnecessary, or wrong—and may well hinder one in coming to God.

    Catholics, on the other hand, recognize that the Bible does not endorse this view and that, in fact, it is repudiated in Scripture. The true “rule of faith”—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.

    In the Second Vatican Council’s document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: “The Word of God”), the relationship between Tradition and Scripture is explained: “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

    “Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence.”

    But Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants, who place their confidence in Martin Luther’s theory of sola scriptura (Latin: “Scripture alone”), will usually argue for their position by citing a couple of key verses. The first is this: “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” (John 20:31). The other is this: “All Scripture is
    inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be equipped, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). According to these Protestants, these verses demonstrate the reality of sola scriptura (the “Bible only” theory).

    Not so, reply Catholics. First, the verse from John refers to the things written in that book (read it with John 20:30, the verse immediately before it to see the context of the statement in question). If this verse proved anything, it would not prove the theory of sola scriptura but that the Gospel of John is sufficient.

    Second, the verse from John’s Gospel tells us only that the Bible was composed so we can be helped to believe Jesus is the Messiah. It does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation, much less that the Bible is all we need for theology; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ. After all, the earliest Christians had no New Testament to which they could appeal; they learned from oral, rather than written, instruction. Until relatively recent times, the Bible was inaccessible to most people, either because they could not read or because the printing press had not been invented. All these people learned from oral instruction, passed down, generation to generation, by the Church.

    Much the same can be said about 2 Timothy 3:16-17. To say that all inspired writing “has its uses” is one thing; to say that only inspired writing need be followed is something else. Besides, there is a telling argument against claims of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants. John Henry Newman explained it in an 1884 essay entitled “Inspiration in its Relation to Revelation.”

    Newman’s argument

    He wrote: “It is quite evident that this passage furnishes no argument whatever that the sacred Scripture, without Tradition, is the sole rule of faith; for, although sacred Scripture is profitable for these four ends, still it is not said to be sufficient. The Apostle [Paul] requires the aid of Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15). Moreover, the Apostle here refers to the scriptures which Timothy was taught in his infancy.

    “Now, a good part of the New Testament was not written in his boyhood: Some of the Catholic epistles were not written even when Paul wrote this, and none of the books of the New Testament were then placed on the canon of the Scripture books. He refers, then, to the scriptures of the Old Testament, and, if the argument from this passage proved anything, it would prove too much, viz., that the scriptures of the New Testament were not necessary for a rule of faith.”

    Furthermore, Protestants typically read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context. When read in the context of the surrounding passages, one discovers that Paul’s reference to Scripture is only part of his exhortation that Timothy take as his guide Tradition and Scripture. The two verses immediately before it state: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14–15).

    Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned for two reasons: first, because he knows from whom he has learned it—Paul himself—and second, because he has been educated in the scriptures. The first of these is a direct appeal to apostolic tradition, the oral teaching which the apostle Paul had given Timothy. So Protestants must take 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context to arrive at the theory of sola scriptura. But when the passage is read in context, it becomes clear that it is teaching the importance of apostolic tradition!

    The Bible denies that it is sufficient as the complete rule of faith. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).

    This oral teaching was accepted by Christians, just as they accepted the written teaching that came to them later. Jesus told his disciples: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16). The Church, in the persons of the apostles, was given the authority to teach by Christ; the Church would be his representative. He commissioned them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).

    And how was this to be done? By preaching, by oral instruction: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The Church would always be the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit “Christ’s word” to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.

    Further, it is clear that the oral teaching of Christ would last until the end of time. “’But the word of the Lord abides for ever.’ That word is the good news which was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:25). Note that the word has been “preached”—that is, communicated orally. This would endure. It would not be
    supplanted by a written record like the Bible (supplemented, yes, but not supplanted), and would continue to have its own authority.

    This is made clear when the apostle Paul tells Timothy: “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). Here we see the first few links in the chain of apostolic tradition that has been passed down intact from the apostles to our own day. Paul instructed Timothy to pass on the oral teachings (traditions) that he had received from the apostle. He was to give these to men who would be able to teach others, thus perpetuating the chain. Paul gave this instruction not long before his death (2 Tim. 4:6–8), as a reminder to Timothy of how he should conduct his ministry.

    What is Tradition?

    In this discussion it is important to keep in mind what the Catholic Church means by tradition. The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it encompass transitory customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

    They have been handed down and entrusted to the Churchs. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).

    Handing on the faith

    Paul illustrated what tradition is: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. . . . Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:3,11). The apostle praised those who followed Tradition: “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2).

    The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book. The teaching Church, with its oral, apostolic tradition, was authoritative. Paul himself gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

    This saying is not recorded in the Gospels and must have been passed on to Paul. Indeed, even the Gospels themselves are oral tradition which has been written down (Luke 1:1–4). What’s more, Paul does not quote Jesus only. He also quotes from early Christian hymns, as in Ephesians 5:14. These and other things have been given to Christians “through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:2).

    Fundamentalists say Jesus condemned tradition. They note that Jesus said, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt. 15:3). Paul warned, “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). But these verses merely condemn erroneous human traditions, not truths which were handed down orally and entrusted to the Church by the apostles. These latter truths are part of what is known as apostolic tradition, which is to be distinguished from human traditions or customs.

    “Commandments of men”

    Consider Matthew 15:6–9, which Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often use to defend their position: “So by these traditions of yours you have made God’s laws ineffectual. You hypocrites, it was a true prophecy that Isaiah made of you, when he said, ‘This people does me honor with its lips, but its heart is far from me. Their worship is in vain, for the doctrines they teach are the commandments of men.’” Look closely at what Jesus said.

    He was not condemning all traditions. He condemned only those that made God’s word void. In this case, it was a matter of the Pharisees feigning the dedication of their goods to the Temple so they could avoid using them to support their aged parents. By doing this, they dodged the commandment to “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12).

    Elsewhere, Jesus instructed his followers to abide by traditions that are not contrary to God’s commandments. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice” (Matt. 23:2–3).

    What Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often do, unfortunately, is see the word “tradition” in Matthew 15:3 or Colossians 2:8 or elsewhere and conclude that anything termed a “tradition” is to be rejected. They forget that the term is used in a different sense, as in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, to describe what should be believed. Jesus did not condemn all traditions; he condemned only erroneous traditions, whether doctrines or practices, that undermined Christian truths. The rest, as the apostles taught, were to be obeyed. Paul commanded the Thessalonians to adhere to all the traditions he had given them, whether oral or written.

    The indefectible Church

    The task is to determine what constitutes authentic tradition. How can we know which traditions are apostolic and which are merely human? The answer is the same as how we know which scriptures are apostolic and which are merely human—by listening to the magisterium or teaching authority of Christ’s Church. Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the “canon of Tradition” by establishing which traditions have been passed down from the apostles. After all, Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18) and the New Testament itself declares the Church to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

    SOURCE: http://www.catholic.com/library/Scripture_and_Tradition.asp

    A question to be asked, is how is it obvious and to whom is it obvious when these constructs and interpretations of the later modern age (the Reformation’s sola scriptura) provide evidence for a true conflict?

  22. Constantine says:

    Hi Michael,

    You can “be tough” with me. I sense that you are a gracious man. You have not been personally insulting to me so I take our exchange as an honest one between two well-meaning people. But I noticed one thing in your response that may prompt a “tough” response from me. Just know that its never, ever personal.

    In the interest of saving space (and a little typing on my part!) may I refer you to a post I just submitted in response to bfhu? I think I addressed that topic of infallibility fairly thoroughly. If that is not enough, I would be glad to do better. Thanks.

    I would like to respond to a couple of your other points:

    You wrote:
    Revelation is not merely a set of facts not known before and recorded in the Bible, but God’s personal self communication, gradually through the prophets of the OT

    Isn’t it odd that the Apostle Paul didn’t know that? He always talks in the past tense about Revelation; never in the future tense. And Jesus is the one who taught Paul! And Jude didn’t know it either when he wrote, “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” And Jude was Jesus’ brother! Once, for all; hold fast to that which you already have, that which you have been given – all phrases indicating an event, perfectly complete in the past.

    You the wrote:

    What you use is taken from the scriptural canon of the Church, with the exemption of the Deuterocanonical books of the OT. So, your bible is a defective bible: you are discarding ca. 25% of the OT of the Word of God.

    Aahh. This is the “my Bible can beat up your Bible” defense.

    Here’s some of what the Apocrypha teaches, Michael:

    Tobit claims to have been alive when Jeroboam revolted (931 B.C.) and when Assyria conquered Israel (722 B.C.), despite the fact that his lifespan was only a total of 158 years (Tobit 1:3-5; 14:11)!

    Judith mistakenly identifies Nebuchadnezzar as king of the Assyrians (1:1, 7). Tobit endorses the superstitious use of fish liver to ward off demons (6: 6,7)!

    Wisdom of Solomon teaches the creation of the world from pre-existent matter (7:17) (This, by the way, is a tenet of Mormon theology, not Christianity.)

    Tobit teaches salvation by the good work of almsgiving (12:9) — quite contrary to inspired Scripture (such as John 1:3; II Samuel 12:19; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 4:5; Galatians 3:11).

    So Michael, the “25%” you are so adamant about is full of theological and historical errors. So, could you please tell me, again, where is the “defect”? Don’t you think it is dangerous to perpetrate such errors on the Body of Christ?

    You next wrote:

    . What St. Paul says in “Romans”, “Galatians” and “1 Corinthians”, is what he has received from the early tradition plus his own inspired reflection.

    No, Michael. Paul was taught directly by Christ (see Galatians quote below) and he specifically rejected all teaching based on anything else, even his own “reflection”:

    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

    This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” 1 Corinthians 2:10-13.

    “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

    I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11-12

    Not man, but God, Michael. Not man’s knowledge Michael, but God’s. Not man’s “reflections”, but God’s.

    You further wrote:

    WARNING TO CATHOLICS

    Well, that’s it. When one side has to tell you what to think, they have conceded the matter.

    To my dear Catholic friends:

    I would never presume to tell you what to think. If you are reading this then you’re an adult. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead you. And if anyone else tells you what to think, you should ask what he or she is hiding. If they claim some special authority, it is incumbent upon them to prove it. God created you with an intellect “in His image” and He sent His Spirit to “guide you into all truth.” He knows you by name and He is good to His word. In Jesus’ own words, “You will know the truth.”

    So we have seen that the “Tradition” of the Church does, by its very existence contradict Scripture.

    Michael, I do wish you peace. I encourage you not to be defensive about the truth of the Gospel and I hope we interact again. I sincerely offer you every good blessing (even if you are tough on me!)

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

  23. bfhu says:

    BFHU: Who do you say has the infallible interpretation? You? Your sect? The Baptists? Chuck Smith? Billy Graham?

    Constantine: is fascinating in its presuppositions. But infallibility is an attribute of God, not found in a fallen creation.

    BFHU: Then Sacred Scripture, written by fallen human beings cannot be infallibe? Or would it be possible for God to communicate infallible truth through sinful men enabling them to write infallible truth?

    Constantine: But what I would suggest for your consideration is that God alone is the infallible interpreter of Scripture.

    BFHU: If this is true then no man on Earth, at any time, is able to understand what Scripture really actually means.

    Constantine: That is why the writer of Hebrews says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”. God alone is qualified to witness to God.

    BFHU: In that case then all preaching and teaching is futile since God alone is infallible.

    Constantine:
    In the OT, God did that face-to-face (i.e. Adam, Abraham, Moses) and through the written Scriptures. Jesus taught face-to-face (to his Apostles) and His teaching continues through the NT. Jesus authorized a few men to speak with His authority; His apostles. He promised them His Holy Spirit to “lead them into the truth” and bid them take this truth into all the world.

    BFHU: This contradicts your assertion above that God alone is the infallible interpreter of Scripture and witness to Himself.

    Constantine: And the Apostles were very jealous to guard this “pattern of sound teaching” (2 Timothy 1:13) which “ was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3) and which was based on “God’s power” and not the wisdom of men. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) And bid their followers to test their own teaching (and all others) by the written Scriptures.

    BFHU: Oh, so you don’t really belive that God is the only witness to God. It would appear that you agree with the Catholic Church that by the power of God, fallible men can be empowered to teach and give witness to the infallible truths of God.

    Constantine:
    Because the apostles would die and because they could not be all places at all times, they reduced this “pattern of sound teaching” to writing. Which is why Paul could say so emphatically, “Do not go beyond what is written.” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

    BFHU: But Paul does not really explain what he means by that phrase. Do not go beyond what is written? In this letter? In the OT?
    Because, remember, the NT did not exist at this time so an argument could be made that the NT goes beyond what is written in the OT and therefore is it out of bounds?

    Constantine: So, bfhu, when the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill” do we need an interpreter for that?

    BFHU:
    Actually you do. Because if you take it at face value then God sinned against His own law by ordering the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. To execute the adulterer etc. All war in self defense is immoral. For a husband to kill someone who is attempting to kill his family is immoral. But the kill in the commandment means, murder/unauthorized killing.

    Constantine: When Jesus says, “Love your neighbor” does that need to be interpreted? No, I think you would agree. Those commands have a clear meaning.

    BFHU:
    Yes, I do disagree. You interpret them as you read them and conclude in your own mind that they mean something. It seems clear to you. But what does it really mean to “Love my neighbor”? Am I in sin if I act lovingly towards my neighbor but I do not trust him b/c he has proven untrustworthy in the past? Can I really say I love my neighbor if I do not have a warm feeling of affection towards him? Would it be unloving to marry a man or woman who had proven unfaithful?

    Constantine:
    So why do we need an interpreter when these same “God breathed” Scriptures say, “Do not go beyond what is written.”?

    BFHU: They are God breathed but God in His infinite love, mercy and wisdom entrusted these God Breathed truths to the Church He founded. Yes, anyone can read the Bible and get very much truth out of it. But if left to his own interpretation he can also get very much error. All heresy is based in some way on the scriptures and an erroneous interpretation. This is precisely why we need and infallible TEACHER as well as infallible Scripture.

    Constantine
    : But here’s the danger.

    The Apostles were not making idle chatter about this. Paul says that we are to break fellowship (excommunicate in Catholic parlance) anyone who does not live according to this teaching and John says that curses await those that add or subtract anything from the written Word; both men having received their instruction directly from Jesus.

    BFHU: First of all, since the NT as a book or collection of books, did not exist at the time of the writing of Revelation we must ask, “What book is Rev. 22:18-19 referring to? Seemingly just the book of Rev. since it is found at the end of it.


    Rev. 22:18
    I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

    Are you aware that this warning was also given in the OT?

    Deut. 4: 2“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

    Therefore the Jews could just as easily denounce the NT based on this warning in Deut..

    Constantine: So, I offer all this to you as evidence that any “Tradition” that is beyond “what is written” does contradict the clear and obvious commands of Scripture. It places those who follow that “Tradition” outside of the fellowship of believers and puts their souls in mortal danger.

    BFHU: Thank you Constantine but it remains unconvincing because you are relying on Protestant Tradition for these interpretations of the verses you site. There is nothing in scripture that rejects all TRADITION. The word simply means that which is handed down. Scripture does condemn “traditions of men” which contradict the truth of God. But since St. Paul clearly exhorts us to hold fast to the TRADITIONS he taught both ORAL and written. I think I will hang with Paul on this one.

    On what basis then can anyone justify jettisoning Catholic Tradition/Teaching of the Apostles which is nearly 2000 years old just because the Protestant ORAL Tradition, which has existed for a mere 500 years, contradicts it?

  24. Constantine says:

    Hi Simple,

    Are you asking, “How is it possible to know a construct (i.e. Sola Scriptura) and by whom can it be known?”

    Or are you asking whether or not the pro and con of the issue is a real conflict?

    Peace.

  25. Constatine writes:

    So we have seen that the “Tradition” of the Church does, by its very existence contradict Scripture.

    Except for the fact that the very canon of the New Testament itself IS a Tradition.

    Constantine, please share with us what you know about the codification of the Scriptures, and when the New Testament canon was actually codified with a final and binding understanding of what books were to be left in, and which books were to be left out.

  26. Michael says:

    CONSTANTINE,

    “Revelation is not merely a set of facts….”
    – You have chopped off the rest of what I had said in that paragraph, which has a direct bearing on your comment. Why did you? Jesus is both God and Man, and in Him the apostles were direct recipients of Revelation which is Himself, as I had explained in that part which you chopped. It was the case with Jude who wrote a letter if he was one of the Twelve. If not, what he wrote about reflects the early tradition he had received from the first generation of Christians. I wrote about St. Paul last time.

    It isn’t clear to me what you want to say by “He always talks in the past tense about Revelation; never in the future tense”. He, like Jude, proclaims what they have received. The Revelation was completed with the death of the last apostles, but the “Word of God” continues in the doctrine, life, and worship of the Church, i.e. in Tradition. It is no longer the Revelation but its unfolding under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

    “Aahh. This is the ‘my Bible can beat up your Bible’ defence.”
    – No. I mean, the Bible you use, which is what you received from the Catholic Church, but defective not in the sense of what it contains but what you have trimmed, i.e. the Deuterocanonical books. They are an integral part of the Scripture, and the interpretation of the passages of these books, as you should have taken on board by now because I repeated it twice, is entrusted to the Catholic Church. You can’t use it to argue with me against the teaching of the Church.

    “No, Michael. Paul was taught directly by Christ (see Galatians quote below)”. If he was, the same would apply to him what is applicable to other apostles, which I covered by the passage you have chopped off; and, by the way, Galatians 1:11 doesn’t use he word “directly”- it is your own making. I hope you do not believe that the epistles were dictated to him from heaven. His “reflection” refers to the process of his own appropriation of what he has received in whatever way he received it, and a subsequent linguistic expression of it in the epistles, inspired by God the Holy Spirit.

    The warning to Catholics was not intended for you, but for the Catholics, who, as a rule, are not geared to argue from the Bible, because they rely on the Church for its interpretation, which as you can see from the CCC, is of a kind quite different from yours, and the truth of which is guaranteed by God. That should have been by now perfectly clear.

    I believe I replied to all your points.

    Now about your replies TO BFHU.

    You took no notice what I wrote about INFALLIBILITY earlier (the starting paragraph).
    “God alone is the infallible interpreter of the Scripture”, but one must be able to interpret correctly what you call His interpretation.

    About INTERPRETATION. You do not seem to know what it is when claiming that for “Thou shall not kill” or “Love your neighbour” we do not need an interpreter.
    Every communication requires interpretation. There are three stages of communication: initiator, method of communication, and recipient of the communication. The initiator has to conceive what he wants to communicate, and choose an adequate method (say: language he supposes that the recipient understands). The recipient has to “take in” what is communicated as it is, and try to understand it. This process of grasping, understanding is the recipient’s interpretation of what he has “taken in”. If he grasps it exactly as the initiator had it in mind his interpretation is correct; if not it is a misinterpretation.

    Now, because of ambiguity inherent in any language (one and the same word can be used to convey many meaning and their nuances, not to mention the construction of sentences which could be differently understood by different individuals, and the fact that in each communication much is implied but not articulated in a language and unless known to both parties can lead to misinterpretation of what is articulated) misunderstandings occur even if the meaning of what is articulated seems “obvious”. Not to mention the special difficulty when there is more than two thousand years’ interval between the communicator and the recipient. They are in two quite different extralinguistic contexts, and a great skill is required of the recipient when it comes to understanding what the communicator intended to say to his primary audience two thousand years ago; and must distinguished from what a present day reader makes out of it.

    Does the killing refer to animals, to fertilized ovum; if one causes a severe bodily damage but death occurs 10 years later, is it the killing; if one offends somebody and he dies of a heart attack, if one fails to feed the hungry and the hungry man dies; if one kills unintentionally; does a “killing” argumet violates the commandment etc. How to understand the word “love”: emotion, sexual love making, doing a neighbour what you want to be done to you, keeping the Commandments…

    And mind you, and individual’s opinion is irrelevant here: one must be sure what God intends to communicate. Otherwise, our understanding of what He “says” is misunderstanding, misinterpretation. And what he intends to communicate to us can only be known with certainty from the interpretation given to us by the Church He has established, i.e. the Catholic Church. This comes down to us through the Tradition which is contiuous with the original Message.

    There is no such thing as the “clear and obvious commands of Scripture”. If it were we would not have so many Christian denominations. Who guarantees you that it is you, and not others, that grasps what God wants to communicate to us?

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