As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Elevated Traditions and Universal Churches

I think it's the same with the Bible. Even if it is infallible, inerrant, and a couple of other words which start with "in" in the original autograph, it doesn't matter. We don't know the Bible ding an sich." We know it as we percieve it.

Well, I perceive that you spelled "perceive" incorrectly. In all seriousness, that's an interesting point.

The Church, by the way, did not have the New Testament in the beginning, yet was able to make definitive statements about the faith. This was based on the authority of the apostles. The Church continued to make definitive statements and these, collectively (including, but not limited to, Scripture) are the Tradition of the Church. They are things that the successors of the apostles, the Bishops, worked out together in councils, identifying that which was True by the power of the Holy Spirit and discarding that which was false.

Is there a solution? Not really. You say you trust in the Bible, but you don't. You're really trusting in yourself as the interpreter of the Bible. All Protestants are. I think that's incredibly dangerous!

The problem here is that it seems like you are elevating the traditions of men to an equal status with Scripture. My point is that all the councils and discussions of wise men over all the years of church history are just that, discussions of's interpretations of Scripture.

Here's the Catch 22...I might not have a problem submitting myself to the authority of the church prior to the Middle Ages, but the Catholic Church went off the deep end after that. It seems that we have an all or nothing proposition here. Either you accept the authority of a universal church to interpret Scripture for you, or you make your own decisions guided by the Holy Spirit.

And lest we forget, there wasn't a universal church when the Orthodox and Catholic churches divided. So, which church's interpretation do we follow? When we choose, are we not then relying on our own understanding and interpretation of Scripture in order to make the decision. There is no denomination that doesn't have some statement of beliefs; a creed, if you will. The only difference between us now and Christians of 500 AD is that instead of 2 choices, we have a whole buffet. So when you say that all Protestants are trusting in their own interpretation of Scripture, it would be more accurate to say that all Christians across the board are doing that.

I trust in the Church. I have faith in what Jesus said, that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. They were preaching the Gospel and teaching the Christian life long before anything was written down.

I do not trust in the church because the church is made up of humans. I don't even trust myself, which is why I am willing to constantly evaluate my non-essential beliefs in the light of new evidence. I trust in Christ. The Scripture you quoted doesn't mean that Satan will not defeat the church. It means that the church will always defeat Satan.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwin replies:
I see three issues: Infallibility, Inspiration and revelation. I feel that in your search for authority, you are mixing up the elements.

Revelation is supernatural knowledge. Most of us don't have access to the very voice of God the way Moses did, for instance. The parting of the Red Sea is a revealed act. The description of revelation through a prophet or book does not diminish its importance or truth. Many books of the bible describe revealed truth.

Inspiration is a grace given to a prophet or author to speak or to write consistently with the will of God. This is the law of the Spirit written in the hearts of the faithful.

Infallibility has to do with interpretation of revelation and inspiration and the authority to discern under the guidance of the Spirit.

It would appear that no one here questions the ability of God to speak through revelation and inspiration. But no one seems to agree on infallibility. Both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church agree that this authority is within the Church. By and large, Protestants have rejected any form of infallibility granted by the Spirit to Church.

This Protestant denial of infallibility stems from the early days of rebellion where they had to declare the magesterium of the Church of Rome as dead in the Spirit in order to escape her authority. This was replaced by a "personal relationship" which made each person their own Church and their own Pope.

For this reason, I cannot understand how one can call oneself "Catholic" or "Orthodox" without Church. You cannot claim the history without accepting the authority.

7:00 PM  

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