Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blast From the Past: White vs. Madrid on Canon Certainty

Here is one of those great moments in debate. Learn this question. Learn the counter response given by Dr. White.

Second Question from James White to Patrick Madrid:

White: Mr. Madrid, I've asked you this before. How did the Jewish man 50 years before Jesus Christ know that the books of 2 Chronicles and Isaiah were Scripture? Would you like me to repeat that?

Madrid: No, I think I got that. Thank you. The Jewish man of the 50 year period before Christ knew that that Scripture, 1 and 2 Chronicles, was inspired because the Old Testament church, the Old Testament people of God, regarded it as Scripture. It had the official pedigree of coming from a prophet and it had always been regarded that way. So he would draw not only on what his internal testimony was of what those books say, but he would also base what his position was on what the constant teaching of the Old Testament people was as well. As you remember, they regarded 1 and 2 Chronicles as Scripture. What I'd like to ask you, though, is, and whether we do it now or later, is your choice, later in the debate tonight—is you keep going back to this issue of how does he know, how does he know? Well, that's what I want to throw back at you. How do you know? Let's take it out of the Old Testament, Mr. White, and bring it back to the New Testament. And let's settle once and for all how you know that those 27 books belong in Scripture. How do you know that they are inspired? How do you know Matthew wrote Matthew? What is your authority to know that? If you reject the Catholic Church that's fine, that's your choice. I think you do so at your own peril. But if you reject the Catholic Church you have to furnish us with some other source upon which you base your testimony that those words in that Bible—in that 27 books of the Bible—are God's words.

Now, I don't want to give anyone the false impression as I think you were trying to do earlier that I believe that the Catholic Church rendered the Bible as inspired. You know that that is not the Catholic position. You know Mr. White that the Catholic Church does not claim to have made the Scriptures canonical simply because she chose those books. That is a red herring. It's false. The Catholic Church recognized the canon of Scripture. The Catholic Church received the word that was given to her by her husband, Jesus Christ, and as you well know, the Church hears and recognizes the voice of her husband. So it is the Church, Mr. White, I assert, who recognized [Moderator: "Time."] I have 24 seconds left...the Church recognizes her husband's voice and she preaches that to the world. You, if you reject the Church, have to fall back on something else. What'll it be? The Muratorian Fragment? The Church Fathers? This or that Greek scholar, perhaps? Your own personal interpretation? You have to tell us tonight what your authority is, Mr. White.

White: First of all, in sticking to the actual question that I asked, we are told that the Old Testament Church told the man that Isaiah and 2 Chronicles were Scripture. Now that's interesting, because, does that mean the Old Testament Church was infallible? That is the same Old Testament Church that taught the Korban rule, I think, yes, the same Old Testament Church. Oh, that's the same Old Testament Church that rejected the Apocryphal books and never believed they were Scripture but you say that they are Scripture and place someone under the anathema that doesn't believe those things. So I guess the Old Testament Church was fallible which means that you can have a fallible authority to tell you that something is Scripture, because it's very plain that the Lord Jesus held everyone responsible for reading Scripture. In fact, in Matthew chapter 22, he said to the Sadducees, "But about the resurrection of the dead, have you not read God said to you?" And Mr. Madrid keeps saying, "What's your authority?" Listen to what Jesus says. He says to these men, "Have you not read what God said to you?" If God speaks to you, you do not ask Him for His business card. God's Word is theopneustos, it's His speaking.

Madrid: Mr. White the only thing worse than beating a [White joins Madrid in finishing the sentence in unison] dead horse is beating the wrong dead horse. And I've used that line before [White: "Yeah."], and I wish you had learned from it. You keep going around in circles. You are not giving us an answer. You keep saying that when God speaks to us we know His voice. Well that's what I said about the Church. And you'd have to show me where the Bible teaches that every individual Christian is going to know and recognize Scripture in all its parts. You talked earlier about the Mormon. Now the Mormon claims that God is witnessing to him. So, Mr. White, this is Mormonism that you are putting forth here. You are asserting that it is your burning in the bosom, perhaps, if you like that phraseology, it's what you think should be in Scripture. I think ultimately you are like a ship cut adrift—you have no anchor—you have no way of knowing, other than the fact that you accept the Church's teaching but won't admit it.

Does The Bible Teach Sola Scriptura? James White vs. Patrick Madrid September 28, 1993 Bayview Orthodox Presbyterian Church Chula Vista, California.

I found this snippet from the old White/Madrid debate rather timely. Recently, I posted the Sola Scriptura in Daniel 9 argument. I presented a very similarly point as made by James White- that is, Daniel knew Jeremiah was canonical without an infallible declaration from the Roman Catholic Church. I just knew eventually someone would stop by and say something like this:

Complete silliness here. Daniel is in the OLD testement. Think about that. The new covenant began at Pentecost. Before that the old covenenat applied. Scripture was determined by the tradition of that day. There were priests in Isreal and there was a hierarchy that could resolve disputes.”

Ok, is this person saying these priests in Israel (the Old Testament Church) were capable of infalliblity? They must have been to determine canonicity according to RCC paradigms. But... they can’t be capable of infalliblity, because these are the same people who taught the Korban rule. These same people rejected the Apocryphal books. How do you determine when they pronounced infallibly and when they did not? Oh, I know- When Trent declared the contents of the canon in the 16th Century!

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