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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pater Noster and Authority

I was telling someone about the txt version of the Pater Noster, when I stumbled on an interesting debate which kind of relates to the primacy of Scripture over tradition. It centers around the Greek word Epiousios. The flexibility of Greek allows several translations for this word, some which imply taking no thought for tomorrow, some which imply looking to the future, and some which imply Eucharistic meaning.

For me, of course, this leads to the larger question of Authority. When there are multiple translations which promote different takes on doctrinal issues, whose interpretation do you trust? Or, as I said before, without an infallble AND inerrant AND authoritative interpreter, does it matter if the source document is itself any of those?

Further, is it absolutely necessary for there to be some infallible, inerrant, authoritative source? We all seem to be suffering from the fallacious Appeal to Authority. We all accept that Christ IS the Authority and the full Revelation. So what you'll notice is that each of the traditions connects their secondary authority to Christ. For Protestants the Bible is (and this really bothers me) called The Word of God. Catholics have THE Vicar of Christ. Orthodox have their councils. In each tradition, there are those who say their source is, and must be, both infallible, inerrant and authoritative. So I point to the councils and you point to the Bible and he points to the Pope and, again, we're stuck.

I ask again, is it necessary?

5 Comments:

Blogger fra edwin said...

Pauper Frater writes:
In each tradition, there are those who say their source is, and must be, both infallible, inerrant and authoritative. So I point to the councils and you point to the Bible and he points to the Pope and, again, we're stuck.

Whoa thar, fella. You are already making at least one fallacious assumption off the bat. I won't speak to other traditions, but as for Roman Catholic tradition, the Councils, the Bible and the Church through the Pope has the authority you speak of: it is called the Magisterium. This is the Church's power to teach as given it by the Holy Spirit. So for us, at least, it is not one or the other or the other.

4:47 AM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

First, I have to make some generalizations or my posts will become even more burdensome with qualifications.

Second, you say that the Matisterium is "the councils, the Bible and the Church through the Pope." But I submit that the ultimate authority (by the Holy Spirit) is the Pope. According to the Orthodox, there are deviances between the 7 Ecumenical Councils and later "Roman" ones. As the ultimate earthly buck stops with the Holy Father, I'd say my generalization is a fair one.

That said, the question still remains: Is it necessary for their to be an infallible, inerrant, authority (other than God)? I'm especially asking this of the Sola Fide people. For Orthodox and Catholics there is one medium between the Holy Spirit and the layperson. For the Protestant, there is two: the Bible itself and the one interpreting it.

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Epistemologically yours,
Me

2:48 AM  
Blogger fra edwin said...

Po' Bro wrote:
Second, you say that the Matisterium is "the councils, the Bible and the Church through the Pope." But I submit that the ultimate authority (by the Holy Spirit) is the Pope.

Honestly, the Pope cannot get up one day and say, "Hey, I got a revelation and I'm going to change doctrine." He can't. So, if you won't believe me when I say that the Pope speaks with the authority of the Magisterium in so far as he expresses the teachings of the Magisterium, but he isn't the Magisterium, then I guess there is nothing more I can say on the matter.

Po' bro continued:
That said, the question still remains: Is it necessary for their to be an infallible, inerrant, authority (other than God)?

Edwin replies:
Whether it is necessary or not is immaterial since it is a fact that the Holy Spirit guides the Church in so far as we are willing to listen. That guide is infallible and inerrant. I admit a sanctification of the Church in the same way as I accept the sanctification of a man. We grow with God as we walk with God. That is why I am willing to accept theology beyond that understood by the Patristic Fathers and the early councils.

4:10 AM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

The Pope can't, or wouldn't?

I understand what you are saying. It's a fine line, to be sure, but very important. However, when I read this from Newadvent:

"the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church's in order to be infallible."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm#III

it seems to be more than just speaking with the voice of the Magisterium. But we can disagree here.

>>Whether it is necessary or not is immaterial since it is a fact that the Holy Spirit guides the Church in so far as we are willing to listen.<<

I entirely agree with the rest of what you say.

Peace,
Christopher

8:26 AM  
Blogger fra edwin said...

Pauper Frater said...
The Pope can't, or wouldn't?

Edwin replies:
Can't. It has to do with the nature of Papal infallibility. Infallibility isn't what many people think it is. Since you used the Catholic Encyclopedia (which is a little dangerous because it is pre-Vatican II, and therefore less ecumenical than post-Vatican II references), I will also:

"...infallibility is concerned with the interpretation and effective safeguarding of truths already revealed. Hence when we say, for example, that some doctrine defined by the pope or by an ecumenical council is infallible, we mean merely that its inerrancy is Divinely guaranteed according to the terms of Christ's promise to His Church, not that either the pope or the Fathers of the Council are inspired as were the writers of the Bible or that any new revelation is embodied in their teaching."

It is never claimed that the Pope can make a new teaching based on personal inspiration or revelation. Also, the nature of an ex-Cathedra statement is one of the Church, not of the human being who happens to be Pope.

7:36 AM  

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