Saturday, November 1, 2008

Answer 5 from Affirmative

MB: “God has always put forth His authority in a living entity.”

This claim is vacuous. God wrote the Ten Commandments in stone.

MB: “In the Old Covenant He gave the Jews the living Levitical priesthood to interpret the Living Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures put forth by God as Divine Revelation. There was a visible authority for the Jews to follow. Judaism was never a Scripture alone faith.”

See Answer 1. Additionally, the Levitical priesthood’s primarily purpose was carrying out the sacrificial system, not serving as lawyers.

MB: “We see a continuation of this with Jesus, the Word of God coming in the flesh to become the high priest who gave us a Church as "the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).”

The church can have the purpose of being “the pillar and foundation of truth” without always achieving that objective to the highest degree. Recall that the Sanhedrin had the Mosaic legislative role, but poorly executed it.

MB: “He also gave us a living Sacred Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures within this structure (2 Thess. 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2).”

The prooftexts don’t support MB’s claim.

MB: “The Church structure is visible ("I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" Matt. 16:18), it is passed down through apostolic succession.”

The comment about building His church doesn’t imply a “visible structure.” Jesus was a carpenter, but the church He built didn’t come from a lumberyard. Likewise, the gates of hell are metaphorical, not literal.

MB: “Christ told the disciples: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Luke 10:16)”

That proves the authority of the Scriptures those disciples passed down.

MB: “and the Church maintains a character of authority (Matt. 18:18),”

We agree that the church has authority, derivative authority.

MB: “just as the Nicene Creed also professes.”

Not true, see Answer 4.

MB: “By this Church entity given to us by Christ we can know the correct interpretations of Sacred Scripture and what the full deposit of Divine Revelation is.”

Even prooftexting fails MB, since Scriptures are unaware of the theology of Vatican II.

MB: “The chair of Saint Peter (John 21:15–17 "Feed my sheep . . . ", Luke 22:32 "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail", and Matthew 16:18 "You are Peter . . . ") was given to us just as the Jews had the chair of Moses (Matt. 23:2) as the uniting visible head of the Church, although Jesus Christ remains the true head of the Church (Hebrews 2:17) , he also gave us the Holy Spirit to guide it infallibly as well (John 16:13).”

The Bible doesn’t mention a “chair of Peter.” The passages cited don’t stand for the idea of Petrine primacy. Interestingly, MB decided to make a presentation for Petrine primacy in the fathers.

MB provided a quotation from Ambrose that Peter was the rock and foundation of the church. Despite insistence that Sola Scriptura advocates must find “alone” in their texts, Ambrose doesn’t say that Peter “alone” is the foundation. Furthermore, Ambrose himself goes on to say in book 5 that “the Person of Christ” “is the foundation of all and is the head of the Church,” having already said in book 2, “Nor was Paul inferior to Peter though the latter was the foundation of the Church.”

MB provided a quotation from Augustine that actually undermines his “Peter alone” theory, since Augustine states, “Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure ….”

MB provided a quotation allegedly from the Council of Ephesus, but in fact the simply the statement of Philip, a presbyter from Rome, at that council.

MB: “You said in your rebuttal, ‘Our interpretations are fallible, but Scripture is infallible.’”

Yes, because it is the Word of God: the only infallible Being.

Isaiah 40:6-8

6The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, … surely the people is grass. 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

1 Peter 1:24-25

24For all flesh is as grass … The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

MB asked, “If all interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures are fallible as you claim, then how can anyone know for sure what the correct interpretation is without an authority higher than the Scriptures themselves?”

Man can wish otherwise, but it is intrinsic to mankind in this life to fallibly interpret. There’s no way around it. The appropriate mechanism for understanding Scripture is comparing Scripture to Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit for assistance, and utilizing the subservient tools God has given us.

MB secondly asked, “Should we believe you just because you say so, or some confession says so?”

No. See Answer 4.

MB: “Of course one would answer with “the Holy Spirit tells us”, but every one of the 9000 denominations all tell us this as well.”

With respect to the counterplan – one is in the same boat: “my church tells me,” is the same thing that all the denominations that reject Sola Scriptura likewise say.

MB thirdly asked, “My question is, who can interpret the Sacred Scriptures infallibly, and how can we know for sure without a visible God breathed Church entity as the one I have pointed out above?”

God alone is infallible. The only God-breathed entity described in Scripture is Scripture itself. If MB wishes to claim that his church is inspired, he steps not only beyond Scripture and the early church, but even beyond the teaching authority of his own church.


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