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What is Truth? The 66 6 Protestant Bible, Sola Scriptura.

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What is Truth? The 66 6 Protestant Bible, Sola Scriptura.

Post by Dhugz on Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:49 am

"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura

by Dwight Longenecker

Pontius Pilate asked the basic question for all humanity when he asked
Jesus, “What is Truth?” The irony of the scene is powerful and poignant
because the Eternal Truth stood before him incarnate as a human person.
In John 14 Jesus had said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” Later
in the gospel Peter said, “Where else shall we go Lord, but to you? You
alone have the words of eternal life.” So the Christian answer is that
Jesus himself is the Truth. If you want the Truth come to him.
That’s something all Christians agree on, but that answer raises more
questions. The next question is-how do we come to know Jesus as truth?
How do we get in touch with this Jesus who is truth? We need answers to
specific questions-what should we believe? How shall we behave? How
shall we run the church? Jesus may be the Truth, but how do we get hold
of that truth? How do we know that what we believe is his truth?
In my evangelical days I was told the truth was to be found in the Bible
and in the Bible alone. In my Bible lessons at Bob Jones I memorized a
famous and important verse—2 Timothy 3.16-17: “All Scripture is given by
inspiration of God and is useful for doctrine, for instruction, for
correction and training in righteousness so the man of God man be fully
equipped for every good work.”
In other words—the Bible was where we turned to learn what to believe
and how to behave. And we believe the Bible because it is inspired—it is
God-breathed. But there are some problems with this view. A simple
problem is that since 2 Timothy 3.16-17 is in the New Testament it can't
refer to the New Testament. Paul—in writing to Timothy—is only talking
about the Old Testament Scriptures.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that it does refer to the New
Testament too. While the verse certainly says the Scripture is inspired
and that it should be used to determine doctrine and Christian
behavior—it doesn't say that Scripture is the ONLY authority for God’s
truth. And in fact nowhere in the Bible do you find such a thing stated.
In addition—if this is the only evidence for Biblical inspiration a
problem arises as soon as you start to push things a little.
The problem is this: 2 Timothy 3.16 says, “All Scripture is given by
inspiration of God...” And this is used to prove that Scripture is
inspired. But how do we know that 2 Timothy 3.16 is itself inspired? The
reasoning is circular. It goes like this:
We believe the Bible. OK—why is that? Because it is inspired. Why do we
believe it is inspired? Because the Bible says it is inspired and we
believe the Bible. OK, how do we know the Bible is inspired? Because the
Bible says it is inspired and we believe the Bible because it is
inspired. Too much of this type of reasoning makes you dizzy.
There has to be a better answer.
If that was one problem I also had another difficulty by the time I got
to Bible college. I had always been taught that the Bible was simple to
understand, and the simple gospel message was straightforward. But this
caused a problem. If the gospel message was simple and straightforward
why were there so many different Christian denominations all in
disagreement with each other?
When I asked a teacher I was told that the different denominations
agreed on the basics—which were plain and simply understood from
Scripture, but they disagreed on the extras. But when I examined what
the different denominations taught they not only disagreed on little
things like whether women should wear hats to church or whether you had
to be baptized by immersion or sprinkling, but they also disagreed on
important things like baptism, communion, how you should be saved, who
was in charge of the church, who was going to heaven and many other
things. If Scripture was the only source of authority shouldn't the
Church be united around one simple, clear teaching from Scripture?
Another verse I had to memorize was 2 Peter 1.20: “No scripture is of
any private interpretation, but holy men of God spake as the Holy Spirit
instructed them.” Obviously all the different Christian denominations
disagreed because they all had different interpretations of the Bible,
and they were all convinced that their interpretation was right. And if
they all had different interpretations of the Bible then they must be
interpreting them on their own—but 2 Peter 1.20 says that the Bible
cannot be interpreted privately. Something was wrong here.
So I wound up with two basic problems:
1. If the Bible gave the only support for its own inspiration then it
was proving itself and that didn't seem to work. There had to be some
other authority which could validate the inspiration of the Bible.
2.If the Bible was the only source of authority for Christians, then why
were all the different churches so divided? There had to be some other
authority which could decide how the Bible was to be understood.
Live with Disagreements?

In the face of these questions a lot of people nowadays give up
believing in the inspiration of the Bible. About the disagreements in
the Church they say, “Well, you can't really know the right
interpretation—we have to live with these disagreements.”
But can that be true? Is it possible that Jesus called himself the Way,
the Truth and the Life and commanded his apostles to go out into all the
world to preach the gospel if, at the end of the day, we can't really
know what is true after all?
Is it possible that we have a gospel to proclaim, but God hasn't
provided a certain way for us to know what that gospel consists of and
how it is applied? We've ended up like Pontius Pilate—shrugging our
shoulders and saying cynically—“Ahh—What is ‘truth’ anyway?”
In fact there are some excellent rock-solid answers for these questions.
The Bible IS inspired, but the evidence for its inspiration rests on
something more than 2 Timothy 3.16. There is also a sure-fire way to
know the right interpretation of the Bible, but the evidence for that
sure interpretation is profound and goes to the very roots of Scripture
The Bible didn't just drop down out of heaven. Although we believe it
was inspired by God, this inspiration happened through real people in
real situations in real place and time. The Scriptures were written by
the people of God, for the people of God. They were read by the people
of God, used to teach the people of God, and used for the worship of the
people of God.
Maybe the best way to describe the Bible is to say that it is the ‘story
of the people of God’—the Church-both the Old Testament Church and the
New Testament Church.’ The Bible was never just a list of things about
God which His people must believe. Neither was it a set of rules to be
obeyed. Instead the Bible was first and foremost the story of God’s
loving relationship with humanity.
Furthermore, the same people who wrote the Scriptures-used the
Scriptures, prayed the Scriptures and learned from the Scriptures-chose
which holy writings should be included as Scripture. By the end of the
first century after Christ the Jews made the final decision about which
of their writings were to make up the Old Testament.
By the year 130 AD the early Christians were unanimous in accepting the
four gospels and the thirteen letters of Paul. By 170 the church leaders
had put these writings on the same level as the Old Testament, and
within another two hundred years-by the year 369 we have the first list
of the same New Testament books which we all agree on.
Then in 382 at the Council of Rome the whole church agreed on a list of all the Old and New Testament books.
History shows that from the beginning there has been an extraordinary
group of people who claimed to be God’s chosen people. The Christian
church was founded by a clear and direct act of God’s inspiration at
Just as the Old Testament people of God were guided by a pillar of
fire-representing the Holy Spirit—so the New Testament Church is a holy
people—guided by the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. This community of faith
is a fact of history.
That it is guided and protected by God is historically evident. Because
it speaks with Spirit-filled authority the Church—the people of God who
were inspired to write the Scriptures—can also validate the inspiration
of the Bible.
So Catholics say the Bible is inspired NOT just because 2 Timothy 3.16
says so, but also because the Bible is the product of the people of God.
The Bible is inspired because it is the product of the Spirit-filled
Church. The inspired people of God wrote the Scriptures, used the
Scriptures, prayed the Scriptures and chose which writings were to be
considered Scripture, and that is why we believe the Bible to be
The Authority of the Church

The truth in the Bible comes to us through the experience of the Church
and this matches up exactly with Paul’s view. In 1 Timothy 3.15 he says
something very important “...God’s church is the household of the living
God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” and in Ephesians 3.10 he says
that it is God’s ”…intent that through the church the manifold wisdom
of God should be made known.”
In other words it is through the Church that we learn the truth about
Jesus—not just the Bible. It is by belonging to the living body of
Christ—the Church—that we come to understand and know the mystery of
Jesus Christ himself.
Paul says the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.
So the Church is the basis for the truth, the support for the truth, it
is on the Church that the whole edifice rests and is supported. Without
the Church the whole thing is built on sand. Not only does the Church
establish and validate the inspiration of the Bible, and not only was
the Bible the product of the Church’s life, but the Church also
determined which books went into the Bible. It’s no exaggeration to say
that without the Church we wouldn't have a Bible at all.
As a result Catholics conclude that you cannot have the Scriptures
without the Church even today. The two pillars of Scripture and the
Church’s teaching stand together. The Scriptures offer the inspired Word
of God and the Church’s Teaching offers the God-given interpretation of
the Word. Catholics believe the Bible is interpreted by a living,
dynamic, spirit-filled Church, and from Pentecost onward this Church has
always passed its teaching on from one generation to the next in both
written form.
Oral Tradition

But the church did not only pass the teaching on in written form. From
the earliest days the teaching was also passed on through an oral
tradition. By ‘Tradition’ Catholics don't mean dead religious customs,
ceremonies, rules and regulations. Instead when Catholics speak of
‘tradition’ we are referring to a body of teaching which is formed by
the experience of the Church. A body of teaching which is at once
ancient and yet fresh and alive.
Is this what the early Church believed? Did Paul rest his faith only in
the Scriptures? He certainly rested them in the Old Testament
Scriptures. He told Timothy, “devote yourself to the public reading of
Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” Elsewhere he told Timothy to
“continue in what you have learned... because you know those from whom
you learned it and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures.”
Paul believed in the Old Testament. He also believed that his own
writings were to be taken as authoritative for determining doctrine and
right Christian behavior. But he also believed his other teachings were
authoritative. This strand of apostolic teaching isn't written down. It
is the inspired preaching of the apostles, and this oral teaching and
preaching comes directly from God as does the written word.
Jesus said to his apostles in Luke 10.16 that “whoever listens to you
listens to me.” In 2 Peter 3.2 Peter pointed out that the word of the
apostles comes as from the Lord himself and in Galatians 1.11-12 Paul
proclaimed, “I want you to know that the gospel I preached is not
something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I
taught it; rather I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
Peter in 1 Peter 1.24-25 called this divinely inspired preaching the
“living and enduring word of God.” and said that it would stand for
ever. So along with the written word of God there was to be an enduring
oral tradition—a teaching which would be passed on from generation to
Paul stated this most clearly in 2 Thessalonians 2.15. There he said,
“So then brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions we passed on to
you whether by word of mouth or by letter.” So the teachings which Paul
received from Jesus he passed on both in writing and by word of mouth.
Some people say that the word of mouth tradition ceased once the Bible
books were written, but Paul acknowledges that both sources of teaching
existed when he wrote to the Thessalonians. We also see that Paul not
only received this oral tradition from others, but he also passed it on
to his hearers. In I Corinthians 15. 2-3 he said, “By this gospel you
are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you….For what I
received I passed on to you as of the first importance.”
Paul knows the importance of the oral teaching as well as the written
teaching because he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1.13 to faithfully guard
the oral teaching which he had received. So he writes, “What you heard
from me keep as the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in
Jesus Christ guard the good deposit which is entrusted to you.”
Elsewhere he praises the Corinthians for ‘upholding the traditions which
I have passed on to you.’ (I Cor.11.2)
Catholics believe that this ancient teaching of the apostles has been
handed on from generation to generation and kept alive by the constant
and continual life of the Church—the new people of God. Did Paul think
this oral teaching was to be passed on? Paul said to Timothy in 2
Timothy 2.2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of
many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to
teach others.”
In other words he commanded Timothy to hand on the oral tradition which
he had received from Paul. Its interesting that in this passage Paul is
referring to four generations of succession—his own, Timothy’s, the
people Timothy would teach and the ones they would teach in turn.
The Deposit of Faith in the Early Church Fathers

The documents of the early Church in the years just after the death of
the apostles show that they believed their Church leaders had inherited a
precious deposit of faith—both in the writings of the apostles and in
the oral traditions of the apostles. In about AD 95 a Church leader in
Rome called Clement wrote to the church at Corinth about his church,
“the faith of the gospels is established and the tradition of the
Apostles is revered.”
Writing about the year 189 Irenaeus—a bishop in the French city of Lyons
wrote: “What if the apostles had not left writings to us? Would it not
be necessary to follow the order of tradition which was handed down to
those to whom they entrusted the churches?”
Elsewhere Irenaeus also pointed out how important this apostolic
tradition is for people to know the full truth. “It is possible then for
everyone in every church who may wish to know the truth to contemplate
the Traditions of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the
whole world.”
This helps us answer the difficult question—where do we turn for a
faithful interpretation of the Bible? Is there a body of teaching which
has been faithfully passed down from the apostles that would help us to
interpret the Scriptures the right way?
If such a body of teaching exists then it provides a rich mine for us to
turn to when we try to interpret the Scripture. If an ancient strand of
teaching exists which goes back to the apostles themselves then we have
not only the Scripture for a source book, but we have a rich tapestry
of teaching which helps us to understand the Scripture.
As Catholics we believe that we have just such a source for properly
interpreting the Bible. So when we have a difficult question of Biblical
interpretation we don't just read the rest of the Bible to find the
answer to the difficult question.
We turn to the tradition to see what the people of God believed before
us. Did they face the same question? How did they answer it? Did they
face a similar circumstance? How did they confront it? Did they face the
same doubts, problems, heresies and attacks? How did they stand up for
the truth in their day? How can it help us determine the truth today?
The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

From the beginning the gospel of salvation was passed on by both word of
mouth and by a living oral tradition of teaching. Eventually the
written Word came to be collected together into what we know as the New
Testament, but that didn't mean the dynamic, infilling Holy Spirit
ceased to function in the Church.
We know that the Spirit of Pentecost is still poured out on the
Church—guiding and protecting and teaching. In John 16.13 Jesus promised
that the Holy Spirit—who guides the Church—would lead his apostles into
all truth, and in John 14.16 Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would
be with the apostles forever.
Second Peter states: “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private
interpretation.” So if we are not to interpret the Scripture on our own,
who is to interpret it for us? Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide us
into all truth, so the Holy Spirit plays a part.
But Peter himself answers the question in the same epistle. In verse
16-18 of chapter one Peter claimed teaching authority because he was an
eyewitness of Jesus’ life and glory and got the truth direct from Jesus.
He then said in verse 2 of chapter three that the truth was spoken in
the past by the holy prophets and the commands are now given by Jesus
Christ through the apostles.
What is important to see here is that Peter compares the role of the New
Testament apostles to the Old Testament prophets. The prophets were
directly inspired by God. Their preaching was considered to be a direct
word from God to the people of God. We have already seen that Peter
considered his preaching to be ‘the Word of God which stands forever.’
As such the apostles are the prophets—the God-inspired teachers of the
New Testament people of God. When Peter says “No prophecy of Scripture
is of any private interpretation” he also means that only the
prophet—that is—the apostle is entitled and empowered by the Holy spirit
to give the right interpretation.
Paul agrees with him. In Ephesians 3.5 he says the mystery of God has
now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. And
it is the same Spirit-led group of men who are the foundation of the
church—so Paul says in chapter 2 verse 20 that the Ephesians are members
of the Church—the household of God which is built on the foundation of
the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief corner stone.
Jesus is the corner stone of this Church, but it is the apostles and the
prophets—inspired by God’s Holy Spirit—who provide the foundation for
the Church. (Cf. Rev. 21.14)
This verse fits together with Paul’s other teaching that the Church is
the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’? (I Tim 3.15) So the Church—based
on the teaching of the apostles—is the source for Scripture, and who can
rightly interpret the Scripture?
The same apostolic Church continues to be the faithful interpreter of
the Scripture. The Church which was inspired to write the Scripture and
inspired to choose which books went into the Bible is also the chosen,
Spirit-filled interpreter of Scripture.
Where does one find this apostolic Church today?

If its true that the apostles were the ones to interpret Scripture, and
the apostolic Church was therefore the one to interpret Scripture, does
that same apostolic authority exist today? Does the apostolic Church
exist today? If so where can we find it?
We have seen that Paul explicitly handed on his teaching authority to
Timothy and commanded him to hand on that authority to others who would
in turn hand it on to their successors.
Timothy wasn't the only one. Paul also sent Titus to Crete to organize
the Church there. He calls Titus his son in the faith and says, “The
reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything
organized there and to appoint elders in every town the way I told you.”
And what kind of a man must this elder be? “He must have a firm grasp
of the unchanging tradition so that he can be counted on to expound
sound doctrine.”
So in the New Testament we see Paul clearly setting up the Church with
his sons in the faith as his successors in the various locations.
The writings of the early Church testify that the first generation of
Christians after the apostles believed their Church leaders had somehow
inherited the same teaching authority that the apostles had.
So Clement—the leader of the Roman Church around 95 AD writes: “The
Apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ...and
they went out full of confidence in the Holy spirit...and appointed
their first be bishops and deacons. Our apostles knew there
would be strife on the question of the bishop’s office, therefore, they
appointed these people already mentioned and later made further
provision that if they should fall asleep other tested men should
succeed to their ministry.”
So Clement of Rome believed the apostles—one of whom may still have been
alive—had wished for their teaching office to be continued in the
Ignatius of Antioch was martyred in the year 115. In writing to the
Trallian Church he equates the Church elders with apostles: “Submit
yourselves also to the priests as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ.”
And Irenaeus who wrote around 180 AD also believed firmly that the
Church had inherited the authority of the apostles to teach the truth
faithfully. According to him it is because the Church leaders have
inherited the apostolic authority that they can interpret Scripture
properly. So he writes, “By knowledge of the truth we mean: the teaching
of the Apostles; the order of the Church as established from earliest
times throughout the world...preserved through the episcopal succession:
for to the bishops the apostles committed the care of the church in
each place which has come down to our own time safeguarded by ...the
most complete exposition...the reading of the Scriptures without
falsification and careful and consistent exposition of them—avoiding
both rashness and blasphemy.”
Remembering that Paul handed on his teaching authority to Timothy and
Titus, and seeing how through history that authority has been handed
down from generation to generation, Catholics believe that the dynamic
and living teaching authority continues to live within the Catholic
bishops who have received their ministry in direct line from the
apostles, passed down over the last 2,000 years.
Because of this direct link Catholics believe the Church has a living
connection with the apostolic authority, and that within the living
apostolic tradition of the Catholic Church we can find a rock-solid,
sure, historic and unified body of teaching which illuminates and
interprets the Bible without fail.

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Re: What is Truth? The 66 6 Protestant Bible, Sola Scriptura.

Post by sr_kakashi on Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:28 pm

Kasalanan ba sa Diyos kung Sola Scritura ang mga anak nya?

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Re: What is Truth? The 66 6 Protestant Bible, Sola Scriptura.

Post by pilosopo_tasyo on Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:58 pm

Ok pala dito copy and paste.. kaya mo bang paliwanag yan ha dhugz?

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Re: What is Truth? The 66 6 Protestant Bible, Sola Scriptura.

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