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

Evangelical Rebuttal on Sola Scriptura

WOW! I have been very lazy in responding, so I make this promise. Whenever a posting is made, I will respond within 2 days. Here goes:

- Which Bible? The one with or without the Apocrypha? The translation approved by the Orthodox, King James, based on Greek, Latin or Aramaic, etc, etc?

Well, when I speak of inerrancy and infallibility, I'm speaking of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. I prefer the New American Standard or New King James translations. Having been raised in a church tradition where the Apocrypha isn't considered canonical, I don't, but I haven't done enough research of my own to decide whether I agree with that or not.

- There are several issues (like the perpetual virginity of Mary) on which we disagree. If you accept the (truncated) canon of scripture approved by the Ecumenical Councils, why do you not accept their other beliefs?

Because I don't believe that they are Biblical. I'm setting you up to let you lay into that one :o)

- Even if the Bible were entirely infallible and inerrant in its autograph (the original version), wouldn't you need an infallible, inerrant interpreter? "Why yes," you answer, "I am guided by the Holy Spirit." Then why is there such diversity of belief on important issues like Original Sin (not found in Orthodox theology) or the Real Presence (not found in most Protestant churches)?

Well, let's take those two issues as an example. Ultimately, where our sin comes from, whether by a stain given by Adam or our own choice, is irrelevant. The fact is that we all sin (Rom. 3:23), and therefore all need salvation. As a result, I don't think the issue of where the sin comes from is nearly as important as the belief that we are all sinners, which I think all Christians believe. We'll hbave to discuss the doctrine of Original Sin later.

As for Real Presence, the belief the the elements of the Lord's Supper literally turn into the body and blood of Christ, I think this is also irrelevant. If it happens, then it happens not because of some elaborate ceremony, but because it does. No amount of belief or lack thereof can change that. If it doesn't happen, then we can chant and believe all day long, but it still doesn't that the bread and wine (or juice) is just that.

There are certain things that are essential and others that are not. I have absolute confidence that I am wrong about certain issues and so is everyone else. We'll just find them all out when we get to Heaven.

An infallible, inerrant, authoritative scripture is still limited by fallible, errant humans. Soooooo .... what's the answer?

I don't think there is an answer except that we do the best we can, we identify the essentials, and we give grace on things that are not. However, I know you have a solution, so let's hear it, dear brother.


Blogger fra edwin said...

The Catholic answer, of course, is that the Church as a whole, guided by the Spirit, is the interpreter.

It has been pointed out that the interpretation changes sometimes. I would answer that it is because as we grow and develop, so does the application of the message.

7:27 AM  

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