A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

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A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby e.daniel.box » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:36 pm

This year marks 500 years after the launch of the Protestant Reformation. As we all know, Jesus prayed repeatedly during His last supper that those who believe in Him "may all be one" (Jn. 17:20-22). Given then, that Jesus longs for His Body and Bride, the Church, to be one, my hope is that this year will be a year of dialogue between denominations of Christianity and a year in which each of us seriously reflects upon our reasons for remaining apart. We have a duty to Christ to strive to heal the wounds of the past and to work unceasingly for the reunification of the Church.

I myself was raised in a mixed household (i.e. a Methodist dad and a Catholic mom), and deeply respect all Christians, regardless of the expression of Christianity to which they subscribe, and their sincerely held beliefs.

So how do we work toward unity? Perhaps unsurprisingly, I'd say we have to examine the source of our disunity. And I would propose that the source of all Christian disunity is the doctrine of sola scriptura. Of course, we all agree that the Bible is the infallible and inspired written Word of God, but is it our sole authority?

To kickstart our convo here, then, and to help drive home the point that Scripture (I think) is not our sole authority, I want to ask two simple questions of my non-Catholic brothers and sisters:

(1) Where in the Bible does it teach sola scriptura?; and

(2) How do you know what books should be in the Bible? What if there are books that are in there that shouldn't be in there, or books that were mistakenly left out? History shows that the Catholic Church made these decisions--She gave us the Bible--at the Councils of Hippo (393AD) and Carthage (419AD). If we accept that the Holy Spirit inspired sinful men to write the Bible, don't we also have to conclude that the Holy Spirit inspired sinful men (i.e. the 4th & 5th Century Catholic bishops) to compile the Bible? And if the Catholic Church was inspired by the Holy Spirit hundreds of years after the apostles, why not still today?

God bless you all. May our conversation help bring about the reunification of all believers.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby ccgr » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:48 pm

Here's a link regarding the Bible's sole authority - http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/ ... bible.html


And another link regarding your second question - https://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:24 pm

(1) Where in the Bible does it teach sola scriptura?
I know this question really isn't for the non-Protestant folks here, but I just wanted to comment that this question has a lot to do with defining what Scripture is. For Protestants (and someone call me on this if I'm mistaken) There's the Bible (sans Apocrypha) and absolutely nothing else.

For Mormons, we have a lot more to our Scriptural canon than others, and in addition we have the Prophet who can be compared with the Pope in terms of his earthly leadership.
(2) How do you know what books should be in the Bible?
For us, the answer is divine revelation. We know the Scriptures to be true because we feel the Holy Spirit giving us that assurance. Rather than get into ancient and academic debates over whether Maccabees should be included in canon or whether the Book of Mormon should, we simply take Heavenly Father at His word in James 1:5 and ask Him.

Note: The Apocrypha is regarded by the LDS Church as being useful reading for those who are interested in it but not part of the canon of scripture.
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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby e.daniel.box » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:13 pm

Hey team, thanks for the posts! Cheryl, I'll address your two articles first, and then, ArticFox, I'll comment on your post.

I followed the two links you sent, Cheryl, and read them with interest. Ultimately, however, despite what each article claimed, I don't think either one really addressed the issue. And here's why I think that:

(1) The first article mostly seemed intent on proving that "All Scripture is...inspir[ed] of God and is profitable" (2 Tim. 3:16-17), but never proved that "only" Scripture is inspired and profitable, which of course is the crux of our debate. In other words, the articles cites to passages like Jn. 17:17 ("Your word is truth"), Ps. 119:142 ("your law [is] true"), Ps. 19:8 ("The law of the Lord is perfect"), Mt. 4:4 (Jesus refutes Satan using written Scripture passages), Mt. 22:29 (Jesus affirms that we can be misled if we do not know Scripture), and Mt. 24:35 (Jesus words won't pass away)--but none of these passages prove sola scriptura. Instead, these passages show, among other things, that Scripture (i) is true; (ii) everlasting; and (iii) very useful in our struggle not to be misled. But these passages never show that Scripture is alone our authority.

The Catholic position denies sola scriptura (i.e. only the Bible), and instead affirms sola verbum Dei (i.e. only the Word of God--whether written or oral).

Scripture itself tells us that It is not our sole authority and that we must accept both the written and oral Word of God. In 2 Thess. 2:15, Paul commands us to "hold fast to the traditions that [we] were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." Paul also tells the Thessalonians that the words that they "heard" from him (i.e. not just the words that he wrote) were "the word of God" (1 Thess. 2:13). Plus, Scripture itself makes reference to oral tradition, for example, in Mt. 2:23 (n.b. the Old Testament never says, "He shall be called a Nazorean"), in 2 Tim. 3:8 (n.b. the Old Testament nowhere talks about Jannes and Jambres), in 1 Cor. 10:4 (n.b. the Old Testament never mentions a rock "following" the Israelites in the desert), and Mt. 23:2 (n.b. the Old Testament never speaks of "the chair of Moses"). This last passage (i.e. Mt. 23:1-3) is especially important, because it shows that even Jesus believed in tradition, the oral Word of God, and the authority of sinful men over God's believers! That is, although Jesus does warn against the traditions of men (Mk. 7:13) and against the two-faced hypocrisy of the Pharisees, He nevertheless tells his followers that "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you" (Mt. 23:1-3).

The followers of Jesus in the Bible were not sola scriptura people. Instead, whenever there was a debate on matters of faith, they let the leaders of the Church make authoritative decisions that were binding on all the faithful. We see this happen most profoundly in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem. When certain Christians are erroneously telling others that they must be circumcised, Paul and Barnabas first attempted to settle the matter, but when they were unable to do so, they took the matter "up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the presbyters [i.e. elders or "priests" for short]" (v. 2). The apostles and presbyters (n.b. who had been appointed leaders of the Church by the apostles themselves (see Acts 14:23, 1 Tim. 4:14)) then debate the matter (Acts 15:6-7), and it is Peter (the man whom I would call the first Pope) who stands up (v. 7) and gives and authoritative pronouncement on the matter (v. 7-11), in response to which "[t]he whole assembly [falls] silent" (v. 12). So confident are the leaders of the Church of their authority, that they send a letter to all the churches around the world telling them of their decision--a decision that is described as "the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us" (v. 28). And what do the Christians do when they receive and read the commands contained in the letter? Scripture says, "[T]hey rejoiced" (v. 31). They never say, "Hold on, let me check Scripture, so I can make sure for myself that the apostles and presbyters got it right." If they had believed in sola scriptura, it is very likely that at least some of them would have disagreed with the apostles and presbyters, because Scripture indicates that circumcision is a perpetual covenant (Gen. 17:9-13).

Jesus gives Peter and the apostles the authority to bind and loose things on earth and in heaven (Mt. 16:19, 18:18). The apostles considered themselves to be bishops (Gk. episkopen) (Acts 1:20 (Peter interprets Scripture to command that another man take Judas' now-empty office or "episkopen")) and also presbyters (1 Pet. 5:1), and they appointed other men to be bishops, such as Titus (Titus 1:5-7) and Timothy (1 Tim. 3:1), and gave them the same authority that Jesus gave to them, plus the authority to appoint other men as bishops and presbyters (Titus 1:5, 2 Tim. 2:2), thereby handing on to future generations that same authority given by Christ. This is why the author of Hebrews commands the faithful to "[o]bey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you" (13:17). The leaders of the Church, who are the apostles and their successors, are supposed to "instruct" people about proper doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3), "give instruction to the brothers" (1 Tim. 4:6), "[c]ommand and teach" (1 Tim. 4:11), and "[r]eprimand publicly those [presbyters] who do sin" (1 Tim. 5:20). So the Church was, from the very beginning, structured and hierarchical, given that "[s]ome people God has designated in the Church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers" (see also Eph. 4: 11-16). And whenever trouble arose in the young Church, it was because Christians obeyed the wrong leaders--that is, because Christians listened to preachers who have preached "without any mandate from [the apostles and the presbyters]" (Acts 15:24, Rom. 10:15). The test of whether someone today is a true leader of the Church is whether that someone can trace their authority back to the apostles themselves, and only the bishops and presbyters of the Catholic Church are able to do this.

Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would be with them "always" and that He would teach them "everything" and lead them into "all truth" (Jn. 14:16, 26, 16:13). This means that the successors of the apostles today, even though sinners just as the apostles themselves, are guided into all truth. For this reason, Jesus tells the apostles that "[w]hoever listens to you, listens to me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me. And whoever rejects me, rejects the one who sent me" (Lk. 10:16). So it's not just the written Word of God we must obey. We must also obey the oral word of God (2 Thess. 2:15), which is preserved today by the ever-inspired successors of the apostles, who lead the Church, which is the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

(2) The second article, which for the most part was historically accurate, actually proves the Catholic position! It does this by concluding that, although "[t]he human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed, God in His sovereignty...brought the early Church to the recognition of the books He had inspired." Precisely! God inspired the Catholic Church, despite being made up of sinful bishops and presbyters (as She is today and always will be), to compile correctly the canon of Scripture, three hundred years after the death of the last apostle at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage, the same way that God inspired the apostles and presbyters at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.

We should judge sola scriptura on the basis of its fruits. Before Martin Luther came around, there had only ever been one major divide in Jesus' Church (i.e. between Catholics and the Orthodox). But after Martin Luther and his novel idea of sola scriputra, there are now over 40,000 Christian churches. This is the inevitable product of sola scriptura, because under this doctrine every Christian is left to himself to interpret the Bible. And the Bible itself tells us that "there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation" (2 Pet. 1:20) and that "n [Paul's letters] there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures" (2 Pet. 3:16). Let us therefore have the humility of the Ethiopian eunuch, who answers Philip, "How can I [understand Scripture], unless someone instructs me?" (Acts 8:31).

ArticFox, because this post of mine is already way too long, I'll simply say that I appreciate your post, especially because it explained to me that Mormon approach to Scripture. I think we all agree that Scripture is a gift of divine revelation, but how do we know who has received that divine revelation? What if different Mormons were to disagree on what books should be considered Scripture? Who has the authority to decide? I think this is the irony of accepting Scripture, but refusing to accept the authority of the human Church leaders who compiled Scripture. It all seems so logically inconsistent to me. Perhaps the Church of the LDS has a more logically satisfying answering to this question than other expressions of Christianity, but without knowing what the Mormon answer would be, I have to say that the Catholic answer to this question appears to me to be the most compelling. God bless!

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:14 pm

ArticFox, because this post of mine is already way too long, I'll simply say that I appreciate your post, especially because it explained to me that Mormon approach to Scripture. I think we all agree that Scripture is a gift of divine revelation, but how do we know who has received that divine revelation? What if different Mormons were to disagree on what books should be considered Scripture? Who has the authority to decide? I think this is the irony of accepting Scripture, but refusing to accept the authority of the human Church leaders who compiled Scripture. It all seems so logically inconsistent to me. Perhaps the Church of the LDS has a more logically satisfying answering to this question than other expressions of Christianity, but without knowing what the Mormon answer would be, I have to say that the Catholic answer to this question appears to me to be the most compelling.
Great questions!

As to how we know who has received that divine revelation... The answer is probably both very similar to, and very different from, how a Catholic might respond. (So please set me straight if I'm mistaken on that.) In terms of similarity... The Pope is regarded as being infallible when speaking Ex Cathedra, and so not only do you know, as a Catholic, that his words would originate from God, but the reason for that is an unbroken line of authority going back to Peter, the Rock upon which Christ built His church.

The LDS perspective is very much the same, in that all priesthood authority must come from an unbroken line back to the Savior. When it's time for a new prophet to be chosen the procedure is very much like the one for the Pope... the Apostles/College of Cardinals pray to receive God's will and once that's been accomplished, the Church has a new leader.

Where we differ is that there's an additional step with LDS. We are also encouraged to pray for a testimony of the authenticity of the Prophet as being chosen by Heavenly Father. The membership sustains the new Prophet and if there are any objections, those are discussed and worked out.

Where we also differ is in how that line of authority can go back to the time of Christ in an unbroken chain, but that's probably a conversation for a separate thread.

How that all relates to Scripture... well, that brings us to the next question.

Mormon scripture is defined by the Church leadership, so there isn't a whole lot of basis for individual members to just decide what is and what isn't scriptural. At present the formal canon of scripture includes the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of great price and the Doctrine & Covenants. Other documents and words are sometimes also considered, unofficially, to be divinely inspired, but not scriptural in the same sense. (For example, the Constitution of the United States.) The canon is open, in that new scripture may yet be written or discovered, but at the moment this is where we're at.

The authority to decide rests with the First Presidency, which is the Prophet and the 2 councilors. More broadly, there are 12 Apostles who also get involved with the big decisions in the Church, and all make their decisions based on the promptings of the The Holy Spirit.

So yes, similar to the Catholic Church, human authority plays a huge role, but all must be based on direct revelation from Heavenly Father.
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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby RemnantRD » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:41 pm

The issue that many of us have who do not agree with the Roman Catholic religion goes farther than Sola Scriptura. If one believes in the authority of scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, would that be considered Sola Scriptura?

There are also issues with doctrine, beliefs, traditions, etc which contradict scripture. Some beliefs and doctrine are not found at all in scripture yet are held up on the same level as scripture or as defended by scripture when there is no direct support. Sometimes, the doctrine can even delve into heresy. Since the inception of the Roman Catholic religion around 300AD, there have been issues of syncretism and merging of pagan beliefs and practices into the state religion of Rome. These reasons also are why many disagree with the Roman Catholic religion.
Last edited by RemnantRD on Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby Comotto » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:51 am


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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby RemnantRD » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:08 pm

Ecumenism is a tricky subject.
While unity among Christians is something we should already have, we need to be careful what we unify with. I'm not a huge fan of gotquestions as they tend to have a theological slant, but they are right in the fact that we need to be careful in unity. One of the huge mistakes we find in the church today is that we need to establish unity for the sake of unity. When we unify with something, we stand in agreement with it in all entirety. Christians who put aside deep theological differences need to realize that unifying with error is not what we are called to do. So while gotquestions states that as long as our "core" beliefs are not compromised we can unify, I would argue that the "core" beliefs for Christians are inclusively found in all 66 books of the bible. The Holy Spirit will not tell different people different things when it comes to the basis underlying absolute truth of the scripture. The application of God's absolute truth can be vastly diverse.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


When we begin to lump the Roman Catholic religion into the mix, we establish ecumenism on a more universalist basis. Universalism is completely wrong from a biblical perspective. It brings to question the very fabric of what it means to be born again with Jesus being the only way to eternal life. One can look at Pope John Paul II trying to bring all religions together on a basis very much founded in universalism as a key example of this error.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby Sstavix » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:42 pm

I also took some issue with these links, as they basically take a severe theological slant, as RemnantRD points out. The first link is extremely dismissive of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and is skeptical of Roman Catholicism. Likewise, the second link has the approach of stating flat out that if someone isn't Catholic, there is no way to unify because they're already going to Hell anyway.

Frankly, I think this is the height of hubris on the parts of the leaders of the churches. When you get right down to it, there really is only one being who really decides who gets to go to Heaven and who doesn't. Until Jesus Christ comes again, none of us actually have any proof that their way is the One True Way - or even if there is a One True Way here on Earth at this time. Who are we to decide we are the Eternal Judge? By sitting in the throne and determining who is worthy of Heaven and who is not, aren't we succumbing to the temptation of pride, to elevate ourselves to the status of God?

Personally, I think we need to get back to basics - all of us, church leaders and lay worshippers alike. The Scriptures have the clues right in them - let's start with the oft-quoted John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Note that the passage doesn't say "only Baptists will have eternal life," or "only Catholics will have eternal life," or any denomination. ALL who believe in Him will have eternal life.

Another passage to look at would be Matthew 18:3. "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." The way I interpret this is that we need to have the faith of a child in order to enter the kingdom. In other words, trust in Heavenly Father completely. All of this discussion about ecumenical beliefs, or the Nicenean creed, or the reformation... are these all things that children can understand? Or are we making things unnecessarily complex?

Now I'm not saying that we need to leave all of our respective churches. If you truly believe that God has led you to where you are, then so be it. That is what I believe for myself. With my upbringing, and the knowledge I had as a former "church hopper" (not to mention a fan of Joseph Campbell, and an interest in interfaith relations and backgrounds), I never, ever would have seen myself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Yes, in case you didn't know, I'm one of the resident Mormons on the forums. :) ) But Heavenly Father told me, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to join this church, and I didn't want to be the kind of person to tell God "no." :wink:

But I think we can all unify on the basics. We are all brothers and sisters of Christ. We all have chosen Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior. We all have a testimony of Christ and what He has done in our lives. We may have other differences in what we believe, for various reasons, but we can all find common ground in our Savior's love.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby Comotto » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:34 pm

AMEN!

CARZ

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby e.daniel.box » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:02 am

Some interesting and insightful posts here, friends.

RemnantRD, nice to meet you! I appreciate your perspective, and will first respond by saying, in answer to your question, that no, believing in the authority of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit would not be considered sola scriptura (n.b. Catholics too believe in the authority of Scripture and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit). But in your post, you also seemed to imply that you take issue with Catholic teachings that cannot "be found at all in scripture." Your statement here sums up what sola scriptura is--namely, an approach to Christianity that argues that "if it's not in the Bible, it must not be Christian." But the irony of such an approach is that it is unbiblical. The Bible nowhere says, "Only what's in the Bible is true and Christian." In fact, the Bible says that opposite, when it tells us that we must "keep our traditions that [we] were taught. either by an oral statement or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). So our authority, as Christians, is not the Bible alone, but the Word of God alone, which includes the Bible but also includes oral Tradition.

Who is the keeper of the oral Tradition? The Church is. In fact, Scripture tells us that the Church is the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). So whenever there is a debate regarding true Christian belief who gets to decide? Not the Bible alone, because (1) that's not what the Bible teaches; and (2) following the Bible alone has resulted in thousands of different beliefs and denominations of Christianity, each claiming to teach the truth but each disagreeing about what truth is. No, the Bible teaches that the Church gets to decide matters of faith and morals, as She does in Acts 15, when Her leaders debate whether or not circumcision is necessary and then make a binding decision on all the faithful around the world, saying, "It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us..." (Acts 15:28). Only the Catholic Church behaves this way today.

I understand that you believe that the Catholic Church believes many things that contradict the Bible, but I of course disagree. Could you provide some examples? God bless, my friend.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby RemnantRD » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:19 pm

I also took some issue with these links, as they basically take a severe theological slant, as RemnantRD points out. The first link is extremely dismissive of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and is skeptical of Roman Catholicism. Likewise, the second link has the approach of stating flat out that if someone isn't Catholic, there is no way to unify because they're already going to Hell anyway.

Frankly, I think this is the height of hubris on the parts of the leaders of the churches. When you get right down to it, there really is only one being who really decides who gets to go to Heaven and who doesn't. Until Jesus Christ comes again, none of us actually have any proof that their way is the One True Way - or even if there is a One True Way here on Earth at this time. Who are we to decide we are the Eternal Judge? By sitting in the throne and determining who is worthy of Heaven and who is not, aren't we succumbing to the temptation of pride, to elevate ourselves to the status of God?

Personally, I think we need to get back to basics - all of us, church leaders and lay worshippers alike. The Scriptures have the clues right in them - let's start with the oft-quoted John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Note that the passage doesn't say "only Baptists will have eternal life," or "only Catholics will have eternal life," or any denomination. ALL who believe in Him will have eternal life.

Another passage to look at would be Matthew 18:3. "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." The way I interpret this is that we need to have the faith of a child in order to enter the kingdom. In other words, trust in Heavenly Father completely. All of this discussion about ecumenical beliefs, or the Nicenean creed, or the reformation... are these all things that children can understand? Or are we making things unnecessarily complex?

Now I'm not saying that we need to leave all of our respective churches. If you truly believe that God has led you to where you are, then so be it. That is what I believe for myself. With my upbringing, and the knowledge I had as a former "church hopper" (not to mention a fan of Joseph Campbell, and an interest in interfaith relations and backgrounds), I never, ever would have seen myself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Yes, in case you didn't know, I'm one of the resident Mormons on the forums. :) ) But Heavenly Father told me, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to join this church, and I didn't want to be the kind of person to tell God "no." :wink:

But I think we can all unify on the basics. We are all brothers and sisters of Christ. We all have chosen Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior. We all have a testimony of Christ and what He has done in our lives. We may have other differences in what we believe, for various reasons, but we can all find common ground in our Savior's love.
The main issue I have with gotquestions.org is that they are highly focused on a reformed theology perspective, one which I pretty much disagree with when it comes to their understanding of predestination and free will. While their reformed theology/calvinist slant did not rear its head in that particular link, I do not disagree with their stance on JW/LDS/Roman Catholic Religion.

Our unity must be in truth within its entirety. It's not simply about basic tenants because while many groups may have similar beliefs in what some people call the "essentials" (which truly should be the entirety of Scripture found in 66 books), they may ascribe to other doctrinal beliefs which may confer false doctrine to other important aspects of our foundational beliefs.

As a former church hopper myself, the Lord brought me out of that lifestyle. I began to settle into the charismatic movement as it was very interesting to watch, but something in my Spirit showed me something was off. God then led me out of the Charismatic movement/Word of Faith movement quite drastically and planted me in a church which truly does study the scriptures in context with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You say that we shouldn't leave our prospective churches, and I agree. Without the leading of the Holy Spirit we do nothing... and we need to make sure we are actually listening to the Holy Spirit and not a false counterfeit spirit. In order to do this, we need to test the spirits as we know the Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict scripture when applied in correct context.

What we do need to examine is whether our churches are following a biblical standard. We need to test what comes out of the pulpit with the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Errors that are found should be brought up to the eldership of that church in private or perhaps in open forum style for study of the scriptures. If the eldership refuses to change from defined error against the scripture, then yes, it would be time to leave that church and find one where the earthly shepherds are correctly exegeting the scriptures in with a proper contextual basis. We have the 2 Peter 2 warning against false teachers and the resulting consequences of being led astray by false teachers to the laity as well. To those who are called out of the world, having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are following these false teachers, they are brought into bondage by these false teachers.

So if we find that our eldership is perpetuating false doctrine from the pulpit and refuse to change, it's time to find another local church. A little leaven leavens the whole lump, and when it comes to false doctrine/gospel being taught by the eldership, it is no longer a "little" leaven. People often say that there are true believers in "this" denomination or "this" religion (with the name of Christian on it), but the Holy Spirit in us if we truly listen to Him will not allow us to remain in pits of leaven and darkness. We need to take care in regard to which churches we attend and whom we allow to be head over us in the local church. What happens to the head goes down to the body.

We cannot have unity for the sake of unity. We have to iron out our other differences as well. The Holy Spirit will not tell one believer that the scriptures establish a particular truth, then turn around and tell another believer that the truth means something else. The application of that truth may be diverse, but the meaning of that underlying truth is an absolute constant. This is why it is so important to test what we hear from any spirit or individual when they speak according to God's absolute truth with the scriptures.
Last edited by RemnantRD on Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby RemnantRD » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:53 pm

Some interesting and insightful posts here, friends.

RemnantRD, nice to meet you! I appreciate your perspective, and will first respond by saying, in answer to your question, that no, believing in the authority of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit would not be considered sola scriptura (n.b. Catholics too believe in the authority of Scripture and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit). But in your post, you also seemed to imply that you take issue with Catholic teachings that cannot "be found at all in scripture." Your statement here sums up what sola scriptura is--namely, an approach to Christianity that argues that "if it's not in the Bible, it must not be Christian." But the irony of such an approach is that it is unbiblical. The Bible nowhere says, "Only what's in the Bible is true and Christian." In fact, the Bible says that opposite, when it tells us that we must "keep our traditions that [we] were taught. either by an oral statement or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). So our authority, as Christians, is not the Bible alone, but the Word of God alone, which includes the Bible but also includes oral Tradition.

Who is the keeper of the oral Tradition? The Church is. In fact, Scripture tells us that the Church is the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). So whenever there is a debate regarding true Christian belief who gets to decide? Not the Bible alone, because (1) that's not what the Bible teaches; and (2) following the Bible alone has resulted in thousands of different beliefs and denominations of Christianity, each claiming to teach the truth but each disagreeing about what truth is. No, the Bible teaches that the Church gets to decide matters of faith and morals, as She does in Acts 15, when Her leaders debate whether or not circumcision is necessary and then make a binding decision on all the faithful around the world, saying, "It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us..." (Acts 15:28). Only the Catholic Church behaves this way today.

I understand that you believe that the Catholic Church believes many things that contradict the Bible, but I of course disagree. Could you provide some examples? God bless, my friend.

It is nice to meet you too e.daniel.box.
What I stated in my original post was Sola Scriptura + the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In addition, scripture tells us to test the spirits, even the Holy Spirit, to ascertain whether they speak truth. What do we compare this to? Well, since the Roman Catholic Religion wasn't established until around 300AD, then it certainly wasn't the Roman Catholic Religion and the "Oral Traditions" of the Roman Catholic Religion. We would then compare it to scripture.

To be fair, I never stated that if it cannot be found in scripture it's not Christian. However, as the scripture is our blueprint, we can use the precepts found in scripture to establish what we should do as Christians. When things do not line up with scripture, we throw it out. If things aren't asked of us to do, yet we assert they are tradition to follow and it doesn't line up with scripture, we throw it out.

Who is the keeper of Oral Tradition? Originally it was the Jews. However, oral tradition will not contradict scripture. If we have 2000 years of tradition in error, then it doesn't change the fact that it is error. We know the early church was established by the apostles meeting from house to house and breaking bread daily. The oral traditions spoken of in the bible were recorded in the bible, hence the fullness of scripture. Interestingly enough, even until Jerome, the apocrypha were not included in the canon of scripture used by the Roman Catholics. It wasn't until much later that the apocrypha were added in and called the deuterocanonical books. The Eastern Orthodox church has even more apocrypha. As we know the apocrypha have doctrinal assertions which contradict the entirety of Scripture (66 books: Genesis - Revelation), we know this isn't included in our understanding of scripture from a doctrinal basis. They may contain factual history and thus good to read for that aspect, but we know they are not inspired as God will not contradict Himself.

If we believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV is established:
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We know then that every line of scripture is inspired by God to mankind through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can then infer that whatever is written that is inspired by the Holy Spirit will not contradict other writers of the Bible since the Holy Spirit inspired them as well. We know we have the entirety of scripture found in 66 books because the entire bible is harmonized. Nothing in scripture contradicts at all when understanding the scriptures in correct context. Many atheists try to point out contradictions, but when looked at through the lens of scripture, we find there is no contradiction at all.

Since you asked me, here is a short list of examples of Roman Catholic beliefs/doctrine which contradicts scripture. I don't like doing this as it makes it seem that I am "bashing" the Roman Catholic Religion, but you did ask :P
1 ) Mary: Praying/Veneration of Mary - Mary the: Mediatrix/Co-Redeemer/Helper (blasphemous) - Mary being sinless - Mary being assumed into heaven (not scriptural) - Mary being born without sin (not scriptural) - Mary never having other children (contradicts scripture)
2 ) Prayer to dead (physically) saints (Scripture says this is prohibited and likens it to divination and witchcraft. We can look at the example of Lazarus and the rich man where the dead do not communicate with the living). Your explanation does not line up with scripture.
3 ) Establishment of the Pope (Vicari Christi and Pontificus Maximus) --> Peter is the rock (Petros) and the Rock (Petra) which the church is built upon is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Peter told people not to bow to him or kiss him as he was simply another worker along with the other saints.
4 ) Pagan imagery (sun rays/disk behind the heads, Immaculate heart ie sun god and moon god/dess babylonian practices)
5 ) Real Presence/Eucharist and Transubstantiation (Yes the EOC and some denominations do this)
6 ) Forbidding priests to marry (also nuns) = Doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1-3)
7 ) Commanding to abstain from foods which the Lord God has given us to receive with thanksgiving = Doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1-3)
8 ) Papal establishment of saints (all born again believers are saints and of a royal priesthood)
9 ) Purgatory (not scriptural) - when we die, we go to our eternal destination
10 ) Catechism of the RCC contradicting scripture (see 10 commandments + much more)
11 ) Historically persecuting those who did not believe in the Eucharist and killing them (Waldenses & Abrigenses)
12 ) Historically persecuting and killing those who made bibles in a language the people can read (Wycliffe and Tyndale)
13 ) Indulgences - esp seen with days of "Holy Obligation"
14 ) Rosary - Mary is not the Queen of Heaven --> the bible mentions a queen of heaven... and it's not good. This also ties into point 1.

There are more, but we can stop there for now.
Last edited by RemnantRD on Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:41 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby Sstavix » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:50 am

While their reformed theology/calvinist slant did not rear its head in that particular link, I do not disagree with their stance on JW/LDS/Roman Catholic Religion.
So are you saying that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Roman Catholics are not "true" Christians? If so, can you see that you're basically falling into the same dismissive trap of pride that I pointed out in my post? Has God made you the ultimate judge in what constitutes the definition of a "Christian?" On what divine authority have you been appointed to this seat?

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Re: A Question for My Non-Catholic Friends

Postby RemnantRD » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:25 am

While their reformed theology/calvinist slant did not rear its head in that particular link, I do not disagree with their stance on JW/LDS/Roman Catholic Religion.
So are you saying that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Roman Catholics are not "true" Christians? If so, can you see that you're basically falling into the same dismissive trap of pride that I pointed out in my post? Has God made you the ultimate judge in what constitutes the definition of a "Christian?" On what divine authority have you been appointed to this seat?

I personally did not say that they aren't Christians. Let us reason scripturally and logically instead of throwing around the word judgment when perhaps judgment isn't being exhibited. What I'm saying is that if a group or religion's doctrines and beliefs do not line up with scripture, it's time to take a hard look at whether or not we can unify with them and possible error. If Christians stand in unity, it must be unity in the truth and not for the sake of unity by putting aside theological and doctrinal error to make a facade of unified front. We are specifically told to worship Him in spirit and in truth. In order to do this, we need to be able to discern between truth and error.

When you have established belief systems claiming that Jesus is Michael the Archangel or the brother of Satan and one of Elohim's many spirit children instead of His only begotten Son, we need to take a moment to examine the identity of who Jesus is for that particular system of belief. If a religion believes that Mary is a Co-Redeemer of mankind with Jesus Christ, the Helper who is only identified as the Holy Spirit in scripture, as well as a Mediatrix of mankind when the scriptures state that Christ is our Mediator and High King and Priest, we also need to take a moment and examine the identity of who Jesus is as well for that religion.

The scriptures warn against having another doctrine, another gospel, and another Jesus. If the identity of Jesus is altered in any way shape or form, we essentially have another Jesus. If another person shares in the same roles as Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it establishes a different Jesus and Holy Spirit. If a religion changes what the word of God says to promote doctrinal ideas, the very word of God is no longer the same and creates the possibility of an altered gospel.

God has not made me a judge in what constitutes a Christian. The only judgment we are called not to make is the judgment of the heart. By utilizing discernment to recognize truth from error as God exhorts us to do, we do indeed make a judgment, but not of the heart. The Scriptures tell us that judgment begins in the house of God. Paul lets us clearly know that we are called to judge the fruit, doctrine, and beliefs of those who claim to be in the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

In Matthew 7 we are called not be hypocrites by removing the plank from our own eye in order to be able to make the clear action of helping a brother remove the speck from theirs. This can only be done if we are discerning truth from error and avoiding hypocrisy in our own lives.

With the Holy Spirit Who indwells in every born again believer, we are called to examine everything that is brought before us that claims to be God's truth. We are called to compare everything we hear with scripture to ascertain the veracity of that statement/doctrine/belief. I believe this example is shown clearly with the Bereans even though the Judaizers came in after and quickly turned them away from the truth. If we do these things, how can we not have a red flag warning when things purporting to be Christian stand in contrast with the very scriptures God has given us? This is not an example of dismissive pride. The authority for all believers to discern truth from error is given to us by God as we have His Spirit dwelling within us and His sheep hear His voice :)


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