Do you believe Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)? If you believe Scripture (the Bible) alone, can you cite where in the Bible this principle is stated? And if the principle of Bible alone is actually nowhere in the Bible, would this not be ironic?
If you believe Scripture alone, then where in the Old Testament is the list of the 27 books we are to use as our New Testament? If you believe Scripture alone, but you cannot find in the Old Testament a list of the 27 books we are to use as the New Testament, then do you really believe Scripture alone? If you believed a source other than the Bible, then you would violate the principle of Scripture alone, nullifying it, and making it untrue. This is exactly what you do every time you read your New Testament.
Every time you read the New Testament, you believe the Catholic Church rather than the Bible. The 27 books of the New Testament were selected and canonized by the Catholic Church.
Why are there exactly 27 books in the New Testament? Why not 152 books? Why not 73? Why not 8? There are 27 books in the New Testament because the Catholic Church says there are 27 books in the New Testament. If you don’t trust the Catholic Church, then surely you have been searching for all the books that the fallible Catholic Church left out of the New Testament. If you don’t trust the Catholic Church, then surely you have been removing all the inaccurate books that the fallible Catholic Church included in the 27.
Test All Things, Including Sola Scriptura
After nine years of believing (and never questioning) “Sola Scriptura,” this was the dilemma I recently faced. “Sola Scriptura” means “Scripture alone,” and is the method of authority that much of American Christianity applies to the Christian Faith. But Catholicism believes no such thing.
Catholicism has always believed that Christianity breaths from two lungs– the Bible, and the Apostolic Tradition (Sacred Tradition).
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word [Sacred Tradition] or our epistle [Sacred Scripture]. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:15
This verse tells us that Scripture is not alone. So if Scripture itself tells us that Scripture is not alone, then why do believe the principle of Sola Scriptura? Removing the Apostolic Tradition, which was relied upon for the first 1500 years of Christianity, was like removing buoys that mark the safe boundaries of an ocean channel. Without those buoys, an endless array of Biblical interpretations is possible. Since those buoys were removed 500 years ago, 30,000 (and counting) new Christian denominations have popped up, each reading the Bible “Sola Scriptura,” each believing something slightly different from the rest, each believing they are the ones truly being led by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does not teach 30,000 different versions of Truth. He teaches one version of Truth. Earlier I mentioned that the Catholic Church has always believed that Christianity breaths from two lungs– Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Surgically removing the essential lung of Sacred Tradition leaves the body winded and in a state of endlessly debating topics that were put to bed millenia ago.
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again… let us leave the elementary teachings [so what are some of these elementary truths?]… instruction about baptisms [Baptism] the laying on of hands [Confirmation]… ~ Hebrews 6:1-2
Baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit were resolved long ago, and have been transmitted through the Christian age as sacraments in the Catholic Church (Baptism and Confirmation). Baptism is not symbolic. It is regenerative. It is a physical act that removes original sin. Receiving the Holy Spirit is not the emotional experience that much of American Christianity believes it to be. It is a physical transmission in which someone who has already received the Holy Spirit lays a hand on someone who has not.
These are just two examples of topics that were settled long ago, but are debated anew among those who lack the precious guidance of Apostolic Tradition.
Removing Apostolic Tradition is like buying a car but refusing the two right tires and rims.
You tell the dealer that you believe in “Sola Leftura,” and you refuse the precious guidance that those two right tires could offer. The result is that your drive is cumbersome, uncertain, and dangerous.
I now see that to read the Bible “Sola Scriptura” is to refuse the precious guidance of 2,000 years of Apostolic Tradition– the Sacred Tradition faithfully guarded and passed down through the centuries by the very body through which the Holy Spirit brought us the Bible itself, the Catholic Church.
The Bible is always proven true.
Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians are my brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned much from all three groups. I have had family members in all three groups. And I have been greatly blessed by all three groups. I view each group as a sibling in the same family. We all call on the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ.
…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Acts 2:21