I felt contemplative and rather bored Saturday evening. It had been a good day mostly, but I was still feeling a little empty. I walked over to the borders by our apartment, and spent the evening reading DareDevil comics. A Christian musician was playing to a small crown in the coffee shop. Somehow it was encouraging to see another Christian there. Over the past couple weeks it seems like I have been assaulted with different ideologies. The very foundations of my Christian faith were questioned, and I was confronted with a multitude of systems that cried out that they were true and I was wrong.

To have such a bout with your faith is disconcerting. One of the fundamentals of the protestant reformation was the idea that Scripture is the basis for all we believe. At one time, the church depended on direct revelation from God through His prophets to direct the church. They did not have His revelation in a written form. Such supernatural experiences carried with them an air of excitement and mystery that is almost addicting, and it seemed in the New Testament age that the church had problems controlling their use. Paul addressed this emphasis on the supernatural gifts in 1 Corinthians, and exhorted the Corinthian church not to put so much emphasis on a transient phenomenon. Paul knew that a written word was eminent, and necessary for the growth of the church into maturity. Sola Scriptura, God’s word in written form, the final authority in all matters pertaining to doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. I have examined to the best of my ability, and I can not reconcile the idea that there is any other source of infallible and inspired revelation that is not expressed in scripture.

Satan likes to use circumstance to aid him in his nefarious aims against the church. In my specific case, I am weakest when I am tired. Such was the case these past couple weeks, and the whole ordeal culminated Saturday. So there I was, sitting in borders, reading DareDevil comics. About nine o’clock I bought a couple of CD’s and walked over to a parking garage, just north of the Borders. I like to go to the top floor and sit on the ledge that looks out over highway forty. In the evening, the parking lot is empty and the wind blows stronger for lack of obstructions.

I was considering the events of the past few weeks and just meditating on the day, thinking about myself and my relationship with God. I love comics. Sure I know that’s a rather strange statement to make at this point in the dialogue. Yet I find in the lives of comic book heroes a metaphor for the life of a Christian. If you read many comics at all, you know that the hero is forever facing some kind of constant battle against an evil power. The hero often falls, he loses friends and loved ones, he sacrifices and gives of himself for the good of mankind. The hero is distinguished from the common man, not by his power, but by his courage and his felt responsibility to use what he was given to serve others.

Are we not the same? Does not the Christian face a continual battle against an evil power. We fall, we lose friends and loved ones because of our faith, we are called to sacrifice what we have to carry the gift of salvation to humanity. There are great themes of love and sacrifice worked out in comic books. The hero always wins in the end, and such will be the way of life. It doesn’t matter how many times we fall, Jesus will be there to insure victory. In the middle of the greatest hardship there is hope. I am the hero, and my source of strength is Christ.

He spoke to me that night. His words were not audible, but they were as real as any conversation I have ever had. I told Him of my fears, my failures, and my desires, and from the wealth of scripture, He spoke to me. He told me that He loved me, more than I could know. He told me to call Him Abba, for I am His by adoption. He told me not to think of the task, for He has given me power enough to accomplish it. He told me not to think my heart to small, for He had enlarged it. He told me not to think my mind and strength to weak, for He had equipped me sufficient for the task. He told me that he had prepared my way in this world, that He had taken care of tomorrow. He told me that He had given me Life, and that I should live it.

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I have been writing on the web since 2000. I am a christian , a photographer, an occasional poet, a recovering dreamer, an occasional philosopher, a software developer, an autodidact, and i resemble the INFP personality type.

42 Comments

  1. Just ran into a blog post talking about this. Dunno if it’s at all helpful, as it’s only a brief overview of an obscure debate, but you never know.

  2. jason butler on

    Just like superheroes, we as Christians have super powers. I do not say this lightly. We are the deadliest creatures on this planet. Unlike most superheroes, however, our power is not the result of an accident. I think the Green Lantern is the best example. He gains his powers as a gift. He was chosen to fulfill his role.
    We must be careful. Our powers come with a cost. If we are to be true heroes, we must give up ourselves completely. When we don’t care about the glory we are most glorious. When we are weak, we are the strongest and most powerful. Such a paradoxical situation exsists. How can we be powerful when we are weak?
    Lastly, we must recognize that the powers we exhibit are not our own. No Christian can say, “Look at my awesome powers!” Instead we can only truly say, “Look at the awesome power that flows through me from the Father.” We are inextricable linked in a symbiotic relationship, albeit a one sided one. We can not exsist with out the Father. He is our source of power. We are like parasites that he willingly bleeds for us.

  3. Note: Jason below is Jason Butler. I was thinking exactly that Jason, when I wrote down my thoughts that evening. Thanks for the comments.

  4. I get tired of reading debates from people who are not much more educated or perhaps knowledgeable than I am. Even those that are rarely seem to agree. With all the confusion and debate, I find its much easier and perhaps safer just to read the source material myself. I form my views of theology and such over long periods of time. I allow people I trust to influence me some, but not completely, and I try to give deference to the source above all other things. Thanks for the link though…

  5. “I get tired of reading debates from people who are not much more educated or perhaps knowledgeable than I am.”

    Understandable. There wasn’t really all that much to the blog post I linked to; I just happened to run across it at almost the exact same time I read your post, and it seemed relevant at the time. I wonder though, you sound like you’re searching for certain answers, but you don’t seem willing to listen to anyone except those you already agree with. I realize the wisdom in listening to those whom you have grown to trust, but sometimes you need to look outside your normal sphere of influence to get the answers you’re looking for. What exactly are to trying to find an answer for, anyway? It all sounds like a rather vague search for… something. Certainty, maybe? Hope? Revelation? Meaning? The answers can be found, but it often depends on what you’re willing to risk to find them.

  6. You misunderstand… I’m not searching for answers to an specific question. There are, of course, things I don’t understand, but I am not on some sort of quest to resolve a question, I am on a quest to achieve a goal. It isn’t that I don’t listen to people outside of my ‘sphere of influence’, but I do not trust them readily. The point I was making with my post, was that I trusted scripture above all other sources. I don’t like reading theology books for several reasons, one of them is that I rarely trust the author, another is that they rarely speak to the problems I face as a christian. I’m not condeming them as a source, just arguing that they should not be the primary source. Scripture says the word of God is profitable for instructio in righteiousness, profitable for doctrine. It is sure, make wise the simple.

  7. jason butler on

    I always find it interesting those people who only want to look at the bible. God has given some the ability to teach, but teaching does not occur in a vacuum.
    Jason, I understand your skepticism. Every piece of information that comes into our heads should be thouroughly examined. I know you said that other books should not be our primary source of doctrine. But we are to become all things to all people. We can’t do that unless we know what other people think.
    I don’t really know why I felt compelled to respond here. I have gained so much insight by reading and listening to other people’s doctrine. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I vehemently opposed, but the ones that really affected me were the ones that made me think. When ever dealing with some one I always ask myself the question, “Why are they behaving that way?” or “Why do they believe that?” With writing it is the same way. You have to question the author’s motives.
    A lot of people don’t care for revisionist history because it casts famous people in a new light, questioning their motives and the eventual outcome. But it doesn’t mean that the revisionists are wrong! America was wrong to take the land from the Indians. Germany was wrong to sink the Lucitania. McCarthy was wrong to treat everyone like a Communist spy. We need, yes need, to hear opposing views. They can do only two things, if we have an open mind, that is. (By open mind I don’t mean the relitavistic mind of the Humanists, you know what I mean.)
    1. The opposing view can bolster our currently held views, inwhich case we benefit. or
    2. The opposing view can change our currently held view. I trust that you are a thinking, reasoning man who would not change his views lightly. So again, if this opposing view caused you to change your beliefs, there must be a reason for it and this too is beneficial.

  8. I must agree with Jason and Jason on some very excellent points. I very much agree that understanding opposing and even incorrect veiwpoints is beneficial to a christian and a thinking man. However I must also take the side of JWall that the bible should be our ONLY source of primary truth. We “intellectual” christians often spend more time trying to understanding the lies of the world than trying to understand the truths of God. If the bible is the revealed word of God for all of humanity than it must be sufficent to know truth (with the Spirit’s enlightening).

  9. I agree Mr. Butler. I do not shy away from hearing alternate viewpoints. I suppose I put to much emphasis on a personal inclination. I just don’t like reading theology. That’s a personal preference. I sometimes read it because I need to, but not often. My motives in the post were to emphasize the importance of Scripture as a dominant source for our understanding of God. I meet so many people who read their Bible casually, and study hard the works of christian authors, who tend to be biased toward a certain viewpoint. I know that everything has bias, I just prefer to spend most of my study time in the one book I can trust. You are influenced by what your read, much more so that by what you hear. You should be careful the priority you give to your reading material.

  10. After reading Jason Butlers post a little further… Boy this post generated quite the bit of controversy. <grin> The events of the past couple weeks did not prompt me to change my current beliefs. This is so for two reasons, I hesitate to make any kind of decision regarding things of such important when I am emotionally drained and tired. I rarely think logically when I am in that state. The arguements presented failed to address or disprove my understanding of Scripture. Even though there was a lot of peer pressure pressing for a change, most of that was a result of the fatigue. This post represented the culmination of a long two weeks. I had more downs that ups. My problems lie in the realm of application. Sure, I’m searching for something. I am searching for the inspriation to live the truth that has been revealed to me. I want to see in my life the evidence of my salvation. I want to show forth my Christ with my works. Theology books rarely help me in this matter, they address a different issue, one of doctrine, that I do not struggle with.

  11. “Over the past couple weeks it seems like I have been assaulted with different ideologies.”

    “The events of the past couple weeks did not prompt me to change my current beliefs… The arguements presented failed to address or disprove my understanding of Scripture. Even though there was a lot of peer pressure pressing for a change, most of that was a result of the fatigue.”

    Just out of curiosity, what “different ideologies” were trying to assault you? Your post was rather vague, and I simply responded with something I had come across, not knowing whether or not it was at all relevant. Have Muslims been trying to convert you? Wiccans? Hare Krishnas? That crazy guy down the street who mutters to himself? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. Dave said, “However I must also take the side of JWall that the bible should be our ONLY source of primary truth. We “intellectual” christians often spend more time trying to understanding the lies of the world than trying to understand the truths of God. If the bible is the revealed word of God for all of humanity than it must be sufficent to know truth (with the Spirit’s enlightening).”

    My problem with this is, not even the Bible makes this sort of claim for itself. Not only is this a relatively new doctrine (it didn’t exist before the Reformation), it nowhere even makes the claim for itself that it is our “sole source of truth.” Jesus never mentioned nor commanded the writing of books by His apostles; He seemed to think that His newly-founded Church was more important than whatever books its founders would eventually write. If the whole Protestant Reformation was founded on sola Scriptura, and this doctrine has no support in Scripture nor in history, then how can I in good conscience support or attend a Protestant church?

    I’m not saying all this in an attempt to convert anyone to my way of thinking; rather I’m just trying to explain why I’m shifting away from the entire Protestant mindset. As G.K Chesterton once said, the purpose of an open mind, as it is with an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. The more I looked, the more the foundations of the Reformation appeared as shifting sand, not as rock. As Jesus said, only the foolish build their house on sand, and below a crusty exterior, there is almost nothing solid beneath the surface of Protestantism. The only solidity they retain is from that which they kept from the Catholicism they broke away from.

    I’m probably asking for trouble by posting all this, but it won’t be the first time. :-)

    Big, hairy man to Mel Gibson in Scottish-barbarian garb: Where are ye going?
    William Wallace on a bad hair day: To pick a fight.

  13. I don’t actually want to pick a fight, I just thought it was probably inevitable considering the topic I posted on. If no one wants to take me up on it, that’s fine. Not that I’m running away, or anything…

  14. Suuure…. I would actually like to see the debate. So if anybody is up to the challenge, I’m just a little busy and can’t afford the time to be logical.

  15. I just reread my last post. Like I said, I don’t know why I posted. Perhaps just to be antagonistic, I don’t know. I believe that I happen to agree with Jason W. and David, if what they believe is that the bible is the unerrent word of God. I had a lengthy chat with Jon about his changing beliefs toward Catholicism that sparked alot of interest in Luther’s beliefs, the apocryphal, and other assorted items. (As a side note, despite his protests, I think Jon is trying to convert others to his way of thinking. We all are. We all think we are right. If we didn’t, we would belive something else.)

    That conversation sparked great interest to see why Jon believes his set of beliefs, or rather does not believe my set of beliefs. We did reach a mutual conclusion, much to my relief. We both are going to heaven. Despite the differences in doctrine, we both believe in the same God. A purposely vague God. It is not a lack of evidenc but the suppresion of evidence that causes us to have disagreements.

    Why God decided to hide knowledge of himself is clear – He didn’t want to be able to discover Him by sheer (shear?) reason. Where is the faith in that? (Any of you know about Douglas Adams and the babble fish?) But it was clear that He wanted His church to be united. So why did He not give us a way to do that? Perhaps this is God’s way of reaching more people since no two people need to worship the same way.

    Incidently, I would love for Jon to post some information on his thological dilemma either here or at mcstuff.net!

  16. I left it rather vague on purpose, not wanting to get into a discussion of the particulars… I’m going to let somebody else answer that request for a *fight*, at least for the time being. I don’t have time to make it worth your while. Any takers anyone?

  17. Ahhh, I see my words have been contested. That is good. I miss being the center of contention. Actually, I think it very brave of Jon to attempt to debate such a topic as this. Strictly from a logically veiwpoint, I must have a foundation on which I evaluate all that may be true. (I will refrain from arguing for the existence of truth as I assume we can all agree on that). Humanists reject revealed truth and accept rather their minds as the foundation to evaluate truth. That which they sense is that which is reality. A logically sound thought process in their mind is that which is true. There are some christians that take the opposite veiw and only trust revealed truth even to the point of denying their minds from evaluating truth at all ( snake handlers, fire walkers, ect.) I lean thowards the latter but not so far as some may take it. I CHOOSE to accept revealed truth OVER observed or logical truth. (Key words in caps ;) This is not that much of a stretch from any other person. Go to a magicians act and one must either accept the illusions as reality or deny their senses as being fallable. Look through history and note the many philosophies that have been postulated and one must concluded that (in general) man’s logical mind is also fallable. Also the fallability of our senses and mind is consistant with what we know of the fall of man. So given the choice between all of the above I choose revealed truth over observed or logical truth. Within the confines of the revealed truth I have choosen to accept I evaluate truth also through obervation and logic.

  18. Hear Hear… Yeah Jon, why don’t you post some of your reasoning about why the problems with protestant doctrines. It would at least give us a good starting point for formal and ordered discussion.

  19. I’m interested with where your going with this Dave. In relation to the debate between Catholics and Protestants concerning Sola Scripture, how does your explanation of revealed vs. observed truth play in to the matter?

  20. My point was more along the lines of defending my belief that scripture is the first and formost truth and the only truth that I accept without reservation. I would have to do quite a bit more research on the catholic understanding of scripture to address that particularly. But as I see it, the only options one has when attempting to know truth are: to look outside of oneself (what I called revealed truth); or to look within oneself (what I called observed and logical truth). Both are accepted by faith (in the revealer or in ourselves). If one does not take the Bible as the written authoritative word of God then one must accept another sorce of revealed truth in addition or beside or accept no revealed truth at all… It is quite possible I am not addressing Jon’s questions at all except I did state my personal reasons for accepting the Bible over and above all as the only truth I can know without reservation.

  21. So far, I understand your premise that all truth is taken on faith, and that truth can either come from inside or outside of yourself. The issue here is between two or more outside sources, and which one is correct or authoritative. Protestants founded their entire movement on the belief that the revealed truth could only be gained from scripture, whereas Catholics and some other denominations hold that, although scripture is revealed truth, there are other sources that serve to augment and/or interpret such truth, mainly the Pope and Church traditions.

    We would all agree that scripture is infallible. The issue I see here is proving from an agreed upon source that scripture the sole source of revealed truth to the Christian. I believe that one can prove from scripture that such is the case, and at some point in time I plan to write down an in-depth explanation of why, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to right now. I am interested to see if you have further insights though.

  22. Thanks for the clarification Jason. I understand I was misinterpreting the conversation. Sorry. I don’t have time to write now, maybe later.

  23. Hey guys, got clued into this debate by Jason B. and thought I’d check it out. I would like to respond at length but that will be another time. I do find it interesting, however, that Jon points to Sola Scriptura as THE basis for the Protestant reformation. What about the other foundational issues – Sola Gratia (grace alone), Sola Fide (Faith alone), etc.? I *don’t* want to derail the present discussion, but I do want to remind us that there is a lot more separating the Catholic religion and Christianity than just our view of Scripture.

  24. Warren thats a great point. I am at somewhat of a disadvantage in that I am not aware of much about those specific issues. Do you have time to give just a brief description of what the issue is and where the Protestant movement stands on the issue?

    Jon, if you could respond with a description of where the Catholics stand as well. I know a lot of missinformation gets toss about when differences of religion come up, and Catholics get vilified on poor grounds many times. I’d like to get a good understanding of the issue before I respond.

  25. Warren, it’s true that the Reformation was based on those three pillars, not just sola Scriptura, but sola Scriptura is by far the most important and basic of the pillars, in my opinion. BTW, Catholics wouldn’t disagree with the principle of sola Gratia as such, just the application of it by the reformers.

  26. Jon has just posted a brief summary of his journey to where he stands now on the issue of sola scriptura on mcstuff. He noted four reason/arguments made that seemed to have a ring of truth. I will not consider this a full response, but I have a few questions and thoughts to pose regarding those four questions.

    1. Jesus and the Apostles never claimed that the Bible would be the only infallible source of Truth. With this I would agree, for at that time there was no written word, and much of the church depended upon prophecies, tongues, and gifts of knowledge for God’s communication on matters that had not been addressed by Christ or the Old Testament books. Yet I believe that Paul speaks of a time when those specific sources of inspired revelation would cease and the advent of a dependence on a written word would appear.

    2. The Apostles even make it clear that we should follow traditions, both written and oral. With this I would also agree, but not to the extent that I understand the Catholic church does. In this I believe you to mean traditions as in the passing down of the word of God in written and oral form. The problem with an oral tradition is the ease of which it can be changed, altered and morphed into something it was never intended to be. Written traditions are far more stable. Unless I am mistaken, Catholics use the traditions of the church as a source of doctrine or at least as an interpreter of doctrine. In this matter Matthew 13 relates the same practice and the time when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for letting tradition obscure the commandments of God.

    3. Jesus marked the Church as the foundation of the Truth, not the Scriptures. The exact wording of 1 Tim 3:15 is that the Church is the ‘Pillar and Ground’ of the Truth. The Greek word for ‘ground’ is hedraioma and means a prop or support, and the Greek word for ‘pillar’ is stulos and means the same. The dictionary defines support as something that keeps something from weakening or failing. This supports the idea that the Church isn’t the source of Truth, but that it will function to hold it in position, to keep it from slipping or failing. Scripture is the written word of God, and since God’s words are true, scripture is true and we would all agree on this. The church as one of it’s responsibilities through the ages until Christ returns is to uphold the Truth and defend it against the lies that Satan has surely told.

    4. Jesus said that the Spirit would lead his Church into “all truth”. To be led in something implies that the thing being led isn’t the something being led in. The church surely has the Truth, and the Holy Spirit does of course lead us in it. This argument and the last neither prove nor disprove the issue of sola scriptura, for both point to a source or sources of truth beyond that isn’t the Church, but is something held by the Church and supported by the Church.

    In the matter of sola scriptura one has to prove that first all other sources but scripture have ceased to operate in this age. One can not argue that scripture has always been the sole source of doctrine, for there was a time when it did not exist and the church depended upon the Apostles and their knowledge of Jesus’ teaching as well as the supernatural manifestations of God’s Spirit through the revelatory gifts. Also one has to prove that the pope cannot speak without error when speaking ex cathedra or from the chair. The four arguments offered by Jon do not address these issues, and I have yet to either. At some point I will but for now, here are my thoughts. I welcome feedback, and especially from some of you learned Bible students from up Mobap way. <hint hint> Warren and Ben?

  27. Hey all Jason’s older brother here.
    I have a question for Jon. Where exactly do you put scripture in your heirarchy of Truth. While I would agree that scripture is not the sole source of truth, “the heavens declare the glory of God”, I do believe that it is the final authority when differences of opinion or disagreements occur between sources. I believe God can speak to us through many venues but when one of those venues disagrees with scripture then I must assume it was not God speaking.

  28. I read Jon’s arguments, and Jasons comments. Very interesting! I definately have major problems with some of the arguments. I have just barely began to study the topic. I may comment more later. I do wonder about Jon’s belief that the earth is much older than 6,000 year (give or take a few) but I do fear that would change the subject too much. Maybe later. (it is the scientist in me, I can’t help it).

  29. Jon makes a good point in his Blog concerning interpretation of the Infallible Word of God. I would like to make a response to it here. He asks the question “how can we rightly interpret an infallible Bible without an infallible teacher.” The question addresses two issues.
    1. Man is Fallible and thus prone to misunderstandings and misapplications of the Bible.
    2. The Bible requires some sort of interpretation if it is to be applied to a Christian Life.

    Both of these are very good points which I believe are answerable by taking into account the work of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2 epecially verse 10) Only through the agency of the Spirit can we understand the Scriptures. Without them we are unable to interpret them correctly. The Spirit of God is an infallible Teacher. All that remains is to discern when it is His Spirit speaking and not another.

  30. Jon, thanks for the viewpoint. I will not nit pick on most of your points because that’s petty, but I did want to clarify an issue in your third point. You said, “The Catholics don’t create new doctrine…” Are you familiar with Luther’s contention about communion? Catholics believe that the bread and the wine they receive at communion are the actual body and blood of Christ, not merely reminders of his sacrifice. They believe that during communion, the bread and wine go through a process called trans-substantiation where they are no longer there having been transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. This has some Biblical backing as Christ did say, “this is my body and blood” (loose paraphrase). One of the protestant issues concerns the fact that Christ, while on earth, took the form of a real human being, with all the limitations of a real human being.

    This means that Christ could not be in two places at once. Just to clarify, although Christ performed miracles, he always said that it was not him who did the miracles, but his father who did them through him.

    If there are two churches, let’s say one in Chicago and one in San Antonio, which are both in the same time zone, and they both give mass at the same time, how can Christ be in two places at once? If the bread and wine are his real literal body the he must be present, but how can he be in two places? This may seem like splitting hairs, but this is something that the Catholic Church and all Catholics must believe.

    On to my point about generating new doctrine. The Catholics invented this doctrine of transubstantiation. It is not found in scripture. I think that would be an example of making new doctrine.

    Again, not to be antagonistic, but stick that in your pipe and smoke it! Mister!

    I was also intrigued by someone’s (speak up so I can give credit) statement that God would not allow his church to wallow in misinformation, or something to that effect. Are you sure? He allowed Israel to go so far that they were worse that the Canaanites that God drove out before them. I don’t think it is beyond God to do something like that, He is, after all, absolute power.

    But I do agree that it is not likely because God is also absolute love. Why would God allow his church to become so splintered? Are all the protestant churches really going to hell? Don’t we all at this forum believe in the basics, one true God, salvation only through his son’s death and resurrection, a literal heaven and hell? Are these not the important parts of God’s covenant with us?

    Question: Despite all of our differences in belief concerning Sola Scripture, if you had to distill your personal belief system down to one single fact, what would it be? I expect some profound answer people, but I won’t be surprised if the answers vary. Although they should vary by much!

    If, however, you notice that your answer varies greatly from other people, you should tell us why. After all, we need to sharpen each other just as steel sharpens steel.

  31. Are we not the church? If the church is our teacher than what are we? I definately agree with Jeremy that the spirit was sent to be our helper. There is only one mediator between us and the father. I find it interesting that Jon says that the catholic church never invented doctraine only explaned it from the bible and tradition. I instinctly disagree but I will refrain from arguing at this point until I can study the subject more.

    PS. Big news in Kesselringdom.

  32. D and JB,

    Actually, I never said that the Catholic Church didn’t invent doctrines. I said, “The Catholic Church does not claim to ever invent new doctrines, only to explain and define the doctrines passed on by the Apostles” (emphasis added). If I did say anywhere else that Catholicism never invented new doctrines, then I misspoke. I’m still not certain whether I can agree with this claim of theirs or not.

    Jason, I’ll reply to your post eventually; hopefully by early this evening.

  33. Jason, I can’t respond right now. Busy most of the rest of the week, probably. Hopefully, Ben will join the fun when he comes in. (He took a class about the Reformation and should be able to offer more input than I could). I think you did an excellent job in your reply though. The burden is on the Catholics to prove the authority of the Papel seat.

  34. “3. Let us fix our gaze, then, on Mary, the icon of the pilgrim Church in the wilderness of history but on her way to the glorious destination of the heavenly Jerusalem, where she will shine as the Bride of the Lamb, Christ the Lord…

    In her Immaculate Conception Mary is the perfect model of the human creature who, filled from the very beginning with that divine grace which sustains and transfigures the creature (Lk 1: 28), always and freely chooses God’s way. On the other hand, in her glorious Assumption into heaven Mary is the icon of the creature who is called by the risen Christ to attain, at the end of history, the fullness of communion with God in the resurrection for an eternity of bliss…

    5. So let us sing our hymn of praise to Mary, the icon of redeemed humanity, the sign of the Church which lives in faith and love, anticipating the fullness of the heavenly Jerusalem. “The poetic genius of St Ephrem the Syrian, called the “lyre of the Holy Spirit’, tirelessly sang of Mary, leaving a still living mark on the whole tradition of the Syriac Church”

    Quotes from JPII a year ago on Mary. Taken out of context yes, still makes a point. If the Bible is the written word of God and perfect then I cannot accept anything that appears to contridict the bible. I have read a fair amount of apologetics (mainly by catholics) recently and can say that some good arguments have been made. But I have also been a protestant long enough to know all of their good arguments and frankly I think the catholic arguments are weaker and deny more blatent biblical doctrines. Anyway that is my rant of the day.

    [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/2001/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_20010314_en.html]

  35. Just posted a reply on my website in response to Jason B.’s “stick that in your pipe and smoke it” post.

  36. Hmm… a few points: The differences between the Catholic doctrines and the Protestant ones are massive, and we have not the time nor scope to cover them all here. I don’t want this thread to become a place for offering arguments against Catholicism. I am hoping for a logical and focused discussion on the issue of sola scriptura. The reason for this is that most, if not all, issues between Catholic and Protestant groups rely on this one for any kind of resolution. It is foundational and must be decided before entering a debate on the place of Mary, and the proper observance of communion.

    Now on to McStuff, you said:

    I know the passage you’re talking about – 1 Corinthians 13:10 (“But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”) and the surrounding text – but I still see no conclusive proof that St. Paul is talking about the writing of the Bible. He never mentions anything like a written text, and I think in context he is referring to the perfection of the believer in Christ. In the very next verse he talks about putting away childish things and becoming a man. My point still stands that the Apostles at least never explicitly said anything about the new Scriptures becoming the final authority.

    Here I disagree with you, and I think this point is foundational to the argument. There are three options available to us here:

    1. The Bible admits that at some point in time all sources of infallible truth except scripture will cease to operate.
    2. The Bible admits that more than one source of infallible truth will continue to operate.
    3. The Bible omits to say one way or the other

    Logically one of those points must be true and if this issue is going to be settled, then it must be settled using an infallible source that all parties agree upon. Since all parties agree that scripture is infallible, and since based on the above three points we can determine with sureity that one or more of those points are true, lets make this the foundation of the debate.

  37. I have posted a response to mcstuff here, and I’d like to continue this discussion on that post, so see you there.