Monday, April 05, 2010

Sola Scriptura in Action

Here's reason number #986 why I keep the book Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Volume One on my desk.

On another blog, I had a brief interaction with someone who claimed to not be Roman Catholic. He stated, "I don't need to be [Roman Catholic] to realize Sola Scriptura is fatally flawed."

I told him if sola scriptura is fatally flawed, this certainly isn't proven by Roman Catholic claims or argumentation. Like Romanists, if this non-Roman Catholic has God's voice somewhere else other than the Scriptures, he needs to prove it. Till then, I'll stick with that which is God breathed and which can thoroughly equip a believer (2 Tim. 3:16). I don't recall God mentioning Tradition or an infallible magisterium was "God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

I never did find out exactly what position this particular non-Roman Catholic held, he never told me. He did though respond to the above:

James, Ah, not so fast. The NIV has for 2 Ti 3:17, "thoroughly equipped for every good work", but many translations, like the ESV and NASB, don't have the word "thoroughly". And look at James 1:4. The NIV has "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." So perseverance will make you complete and lacking nothing? Scripture will do that, and so can perseverance? Obviously, you're taking 2 Ti 3:17 out of context. In fact, look at how the King James version translates James 1:4: "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be PERFECT and ENTIRE, wanting NOTHING." It's making an even stronger case for perseverance, much stronger than the case for the Scriptures in 2 Ti 3:16-17. So bible-only Christians are misusing 2 Ti 3:16-17.

In 2 Tim. 3:17, Paul uses the Greek participle exertismenos which is the participle form of exartizo. It means 'having been completely or fully equipped,' so, it doesn't matter which translation you use, the Greek says what the Greek says. If you can point to God's voice elsewhere other than scripture sovereignty declaring what is need to be completely or fully equipped, please do so. As to any other passage that would use similar phraseology, it needs to be noted that whatever other passage you use... they are all Scripture, and as such form and norm moral behavior. Apart from Scripture, you would have no way of knowing that "perseverance must finish its work...etc."

I was able to put forth this response because I remembered the same type of argument was put forth by Robert Sungenis:

If we were to use the concept of `sufficiency' that Protestants force into 2 Timothy 3:17, we could claim, in light of the similar language in 2 Timothy 2:21, that refraining from bad influences and behavior is all that is needed to make a man useful for every good work [Not By Scripture Alone, p.117].

...And then this argument was responded to by David King in depth in the span of two or three pages. Here's though is the relevant section that helped me in my response:

Sungenis notes that the phrase `every good work' is found in six other places in the New Testament (2 Tim. 2:21; Col. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:17; 1 Tim. 5:10; 2 Cor. 9:8; Titus 1:16; Titus 3:1;'or Hebrews 13:21). His intent is to try to prove that Scripture itself teaches that Scripture alone is not sufficient to prepare one for every good work, since it teaches that God uses other means in addition to Scripture to accomplish that purpose. But with respect to each occurrence of `every good work' in the Pastoral Epistles (or elsewhere in Scripture for that matter), it needs to be noted that these passages are all Scripture, and as such form and norm moral behavior. Apart from Scripture, Sungenis would have no way of knowing they exist! Using 2 Timothy 2:21 to argue against the sufficiency of Scripture, he unwittingly proves the very point he seeks to undermine. Other Scriptural instances of `every good work' cited by Sungenis do not advance his claim against the sufficiency of Scripture, but rather, we find Scripture fulfilling the very purpose for which it was given as described in 2 Timothy 3:1617, namely, informing and norming for us `instruction for righteousness.., for every good work.' The question is not whether the disciplines are necessary, but what is the source of revelation which reveals them as necessary? With every quote from Scripture, Sungenis only succeeds in demonstrating that the revelatory source, by which these disciplines are normed, is none other than holy Scripture itself. [David King, Holy Scripture The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith Volume One, pp. 85-86].

21 comments:

Nick said...

James,

If this book is so solid, perhaps it could give a well-rounded and direct response to James White's comments on Sola Scriptura:
"You will never find anyone saying, "During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational." Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is "sufficient." It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, "See, sola scriptura doesn't work there!" Of course it doesn't. Who said it did?"
http://vintage.aomin.org/This%20Bereans%20passage.html

By this admission, Sola Scriptura was not practiced during Apostolic times. Further, this means at no time could the Apostles be instructing Christians to engage in SS, which means Paul couldn't be instructing Timothy to engage in SS in 2 Tim 3:16f.

Now to comment upon some of what you've said:

J: Like Romanists, if this non-Roman Catholic has God's voice somewhere else other than the Scriptures, he needs to prove it. Till then, I'll stick with that which is God breathed...

N: If that's your "argument," then you've fallen into a logically fallacy. I address this very argument in this link:
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/02/sola-scriptura-is-self-refuting.html


J: I'll stick with that which is God breathed and which can thoroughly equip a believer (2 Tim. 3:16).

N: You're misreading the passage. It does not state nor necessitate Scripture *alone* thoroughly equips, much less "a believer" in general. Note Eph 6:11-18, esp v17, and how this can be seen as a parallel to Paul's instructions to Timothy. Here being 'fully equipped' clearly depends on having various tools at one's disposal, but that in no way implies only one of those tools alone fully equips.


J: I don't recall God mentioning Tradition or an infallible magisterium was "God-breathed and useful for teaching...

N: I don't recall any requirements (esp in Scripture) where something must be explicitly said to be "God Breathed" to be inspired and authoritative. The Apostle's oral Teaching is explicitly called the "Word of God" (1 Thes 2:13) and Christians are told to "hold fast" to Apostolic teaching in oral and written form (2 Thes 2:15).

J: In 2 Tim. 3:17, Paul uses the Greek participle exertismenos

N: Ultimately, that doesn't matter because it is speaking about the Man of God without indication Scripture is solely responsible for that state. Using James 1:4 is not for word comparison purposes, but rather for concept comparison, thus your counter-argument is fallacious. If X makes Y complete, that doesn't necessitate only X is required or sufficient in making Y complete.
(cont)

Nick said...

J: His intent is to try to prove that Scripture itself teaches that Scripture alone is not sufficient to prepare one for every good work, since it teaches that God uses other means in addition to Scripture to accomplish that purpose. But with respect to each occurrence of `every good work' it needs to be noted that these passages are all Scripture, and as such form and norm moral behavior. Apart from Scripture, Sungenis would have no way of knowing they exist!

N: This is simply bad logic. Starting with the last sentence, that claim is bogus because what what Sungenis would have apart from Scripture is irrelevant. The point is Scripture itself says other means are used to accomplish or ready the man for "every good work," thus it's absurd and wrong to assume only one thing is sufficient in that regard.

J: With every quote from Scripture, Sungenis only succeeds in demonstrating that the revelatory source, by which these disciplines are normed, is none other than holy Scripture itself.

N: Bogus. Sungenis goes to Scripture alone because Scripture is the only thing the Protestant will accept. Think about it, if Sungenis quoted another source, you all would brush it off on the grounds "that's not Scripture, so it's non-authoritative." He's using the only authority you accept to refute your position.

According to the Bible, the only thing capable of being sufficient for making man equipped for every good work is Grace - 2 Cor 9:8.

Lvka said...

On another blog, I had a brief interaction with someone who claimed to not be Roman Catholic. He stated, "I don't need to be [Roman Catholic] to realize Sola Scriptura is fatally flawed."


He didn't say "I'm not Roman Catholic", he simply said "I don't need to be one to know that..."

Rhology said...

Nick,

I'll take a stab at your comments, though of course James can speak for himself.

By this admission, Sola Scriptura was not practiced during Apostolic times. Further, this means at no time could the Apostles be instructing Christians to engage in SS

I don't see why that follows at all - are you saying that the apostles had no idea that God might be giving Scr during their lifetimes? What evidence do you have for that claim?
Further, why couldn't the apostles use a little foresight? Even heed prophecies of the future?


Paul couldn't be instructing Timothy to engage in SS in 2 Tim 3:16f.

Except the text says what it says. And of course Timothy had the OT!


If that's your "argument," then you've fallen into a logically fallacy.

Your post is flawed, since the Scr presents only one source for divine communication to man, and especially only one source for AUTHORITATIVE and CERTAIN divine revelation - Scr. Scr DOES teach Sola Scr. Now, where's your competition?


It does not state nor necessitate Scripture *alone* thoroughly equips, much less "a believer" in general.

It's the only thing Paul points Tim to. Like we keep asking, bring forth your competition.


Note Eph 6:11-18, esp v17, and how this can be seen as a parallel to Paul's instructions to Timothy.

Sorry, but isn't Eph 6 IN SCRIPTURE? How else would anyone know it except it's IN SCRIPTURE?
how does "17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Go" help your case?



I don't recall any requirements (esp in Scripture) where something must be explicitly said to be "God Breathed" to be inspired and authoritative.

Oh, so it's perfectly OK to say that something that DIDN'T come from God to receive the label "inspired and authoritative"? I don't think you've thought this thru.
So, if you have sthg that IS from God and sthg that IS NOT from God, by which one will you judge the other? Please let us know, thanks.


The Apostle's oral Teaching is explicitly called the "Word of God"

Yep, the apostles' teaching. See any apostles around today?
Further, it simply begs the question to assert that their oral teaching was substantively diff from what was eventually inscripturated.


Ultimately, that doesn't matter ...counter-argument is fallacious.

Let the reader judge, but this doesn't even merit a reply.



Starting with the last sentence, that claim is bogus because what what Sungenis would have apart from Scripture is irrelevant.

Oh, so let's take away Scr. Now please demonstrate how you know your assertion.
Or is this an example of your "non-God-breathed and yet inspired and authoritative teaching"? How do you know it is?


The point is Scripture itself says other means are used to accomplish or ready the man for "every good work,"

On your shallow level, sure it does. I guess we should all be thankful there's better exegesis in the post than you're providing.



Sungenis goes to Scripture alone because Scripture is the only thing the Protestant will accept.

how do you know that? Did you ask him?
So what is the other source?



According to the Bible, the only thing capable of being sufficient for making man equipped for every good work is Grace - 2 Cor 9:8.

Ah, more out of context citations. Keep 'em comin'!


Peace,
Rhology

Nick said...

Rhology,

R: I don't see why that follows at all - are you saying that the apostles had no idea that God might be giving Scr during their lifetimes? What evidence do you have for that claim?
Further, why couldn't the apostles use a little foresight? Even heed prophecies of the future?

N: See the quote from James White: he plainly says SS was not operational during times of enscripturation. And his reasoning is sound: The rule of faith was coming into being; it didn't *fully* exist yet.

Thus, neither the Apostles nor Apostolic Christians were practicing SS.


R: Except the text says what it says. And of course Timothy had the OT!

N: This is the fallacy of anachronism: your 'interpretation' requires you to read back into the text something that was historically impossible. That was a time of inscripturation, and thus SS was not operational. Paul could not be instructing Tim to engage in SS when SS wasn't operational. Having the OT is irrelevant, since no Protestant claims the OT is sufficient.


R: Your post is flawed, since the Scr presents only one source for divine communication to man, and especially only one source for AUTHORITATIVE and CERTAIN divine revelation - Scr. Scr DOES teach Sola Scr. Now, where's your competition?

N: Your comment here not only is not addressing what I said, it contains glaring errors itself. Scripture presents more than one source for divine communication to man, and no rational Protestant would deny that: God spoke to men before Scripture existed, through all sorts of created mediums, dreams, fire, cloud, oral preaching of Apostles, etc.

R: It's the only thing Paul points Tim to. Like we keep asking, bring forth your competition.

N: Just reading v14 refutes your argument, since Paul points to all Tim's teachers. Further, to limit your analysis to 16f and say "that's all Paul points to" assumes Paul wanted to lay down a rule of faith here without regard for what he taught elsewhere.

R: Sorry, but isn't Eph 6 IN SCRIPTURE? How else would anyone know it except it's IN SCRIPTURE?
how does "17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Go" help your case?

N: Yes, it's in Scripture. That fact is irrelevant. I'm pointing to Scripture because *YOU* wont accept anything else. Verse 17 helps my case because Paul is speaking of 'fully equipping' them by 'putting on the full armor of God', in which the sword is only one piece.

Nick said...

(2 of 2)



R: Oh, so it's perfectly OK to say that something that DIDN'T come from God to receive the label "inspired and authoritative"? I don't think you've thought this thru.

N: You're in such a rush to find problems that you misread what I say. I never said something inspired can come from anyone other than God, quite the contrary. What I said is the specific description of "God Breathed" doesn't need to be used to mean something is from God.

R: Yep, the apostles' teaching. See any apostles around today?

N: No, but irrelevant.

R: Further, it simply begs the question to assert that their oral teaching was substantively diff from what was eventually inscripturated.

N: Where did I assert their oral teaching was substantively different? Nowhere. Thus you're jumping to conclusions. That said, you're begging the question as to assuming the extent of what was eventually inscripturated was sufficient.

R: Let the reader judge, but this doesn't even merit a reply.

N: Agreed. Let the (rational) reader judge.


R: Oh, so let's take away Scr. Now please demonstrate how you know your assertion.
Or is this an example of your "non-God-breathed and yet inspired and authoritative teaching"? How do you know it is?

N: How do I know my assertion? By basic logic. What Sungenis knows apart from Scripture is irrelevant to his argument.

R: On your shallow level, sure it does. I guess we should all be thankful there's better exegesis in the post than you're providing.

N: How is pointing to multiple other scenarios of men being equipped for "every good work" shallow?

R: how do you know that? Did you ask him? So what is the other source?

N: LOL. You're so desperate to find fault that you'll ask and assert the most absurd things. Scripture is the only thing you accept, thus it's *futile* to even consider other sources.

R: Ah, more out of context citations. Keep 'em comin'!

N: How is 2 Cor 9:8, stating only grace is capable of being sufficient for every good work 'out of context'?

James Swan said...

He didn't say "I'm not Roman Catholic", he simply said "I don't need to be one to know that..."

Actually, he did. Simply visit the link I provided and you'll find the following:

"Christian (BTW, I'm NOT Catholic, but I don't need to be to realize Sola Scriptura is fatally flawed.)"

James Swan said...

If this book is so solid, perhaps it could give a well-rounded and direct response to James White's comments on Sola Scriptura:
"You will never find anyone saying, "During times of enscripturation—that is, when new revelation was being given—sola scriptura was operational." Protestants do not assert that sola scriptura is a valid concept during times of revelation. How could it be, since the rule of faith to which it points was at that very time coming into being? One must have an existing rule of faith to say it is "sufficient." It is a canard to point to times of revelation and say, "See, sola scriptura doesn't work there!" Of course it doesn't. Who said it did?"
http://vintage.aomin.org/This%20Bereans%20passage.html

By this admission, Sola Scriptura was not practiced during Apostolic times. Further, this means at no time could the Apostles be instructing Christians to engage in SS, which means Paul couldn't be instructing Timothy to engage in SS in 2 Tim 3:16f.


This type of response bothers me for a few reasons. First, it's not the subject of my blog entry. Second, it begins by admitting not reading the book in question, third, if one wants to dialog with Dr. White call the Dividing line. Fourth, my time is limited so I'm not fond of rabbit trails. Fifth, the comment shows little or no understanding of sola scriptura, as there's nothing Dr. White is saying that isn't sola scriptura 101.

James Swan said...

N: If that's your "argument," then you've fallen into a logically fallacy. I address this very argument in this link:
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/02/sola-scriptura-is-self-refuting.html


Ah, it's the Scott Windsor appproach!

James Swan said...

Note Eph 6:11-18, esp v17, and how this can be seen as a parallel to Paul's instructions to Timothy. Here being 'fully equipped' clearly depends on having various tools at one's disposal, but that in no way implies only one of those tools alone fully equips.

This is the exact point of this blog entry:

As to any other passage that would use similar phraseology, it needs to be noted that whatever other passage you use... they are all Scripture, and as such form and norm moral behavior.

Nick, you seem very familiar. Are you someone from CARM or the Catholic Answers forums?

The rest of your comments will have to wait, but so far, I'm not impressed. I suggest you purchase the book I mentioned in this blog entry.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rhology said...

Or do you only 'expose' the 'easy' targets?

1) Are you calling yourself an easy target?
2) Are you calling Scott Windsor an easy target?
3) I'd like to see YOU try to get someone from the Magisterium to man up and actually face some examination. Have fun with that.

Nick said...

Rhology,

The quality of your arguments and responses both here and in the past has led me to conclude you're not one worthy of my time. None of your three "questions" are accurate nor relevant to what I actually said.

Rhology said...

Really? Not even #3?
But the feeling is definitely mutual about worthwhile expenditure of time. See y'around.

Rhology said...

Nick and anyone else,
I respond to you here.

Scott Windsor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Windsor said...

Searching for my name here, I found this comment from a year ago...

Nick posted a URL (which I have "linked" in my response)...


>>> Nick: I address this very argument in this link: http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/02/sola-scriptura-is-self-refuting.html

>> James: Ah, it's the Scott Windsor appproach!

> Nick: And what is that supposed to mean?


I believe James was referring to the fact that you posted a link as your response. Even though HE uses such "rabbit trails" quite often, he has to make a stink about it when someone "links" a response to something written here (which you didn't do, if we want to be precise - for a "link" is something one can click on, what you provided was a URL, which would require the reader to copy and paste if they want to follow it). It should also be noted that YOUR "response" was actually written a couple MONTHS BEFORE the article you posted the URL in "response" to.

"The Scott Windsor approach" has been and continues to be - that I will post here in the combox when a response will appropriately FIT in the combox. IF my response gets too big and/or I want to add formatting no allowed in the combox, THEN I will create a response on my blog. There has been times as well, as in your case, where I've already addressed the issue being discussed and I will point to my previous article rather than repost the article here.

James will call ANY such "link" a "rabbit trail" - whereas I typically only call something a "rabbit trail" when it ventures OFF-TOPIC into DISTRACTIONS which are essentially invalid arguments to begin with.

Notice, what James did was deflect the discussion from ANY substance you may have had in your article and put the focus upon me, avoiding your argument(s) completely.

James himself includes at least two "links" to other blogs in his article. I guess he too uses "The Scott Windsor Approach," and since imitation is the the sincerest form of flattery, I stop on that note!

Scott<<<

Rhology said...

I'm pretty sure "The Scott Windsor Approach" referred to the quality of argumentation.

Scott Windsor said...

Alan writes: I'm pretty sure "The Scott Windsor Approach" referred to the quality of argumentation.

I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that. James' comment came right after Nick posted a URL to what he'd already posted on his own blog. James has made this exact statement about me several times (even whilst at the same time "linking" to others!). At any rate, if you want to continue the apologetics of personal destruction, feel free to do so Alan. The FACT is Nick posted a URL to his blog, James didn't respond to Nick's article AT ALL and simply said, "Ah, it's the Scott Windsor approach." Thus diverting from what Nick had intended to be the response and making the subject ME and not sola scriptura. The tactics relate to items 1 and 2 on the "Top Ten List" I posted a while ago. I'm just waiting for #5 to be used next. :-)

Scott<<<

James Swan said...

Hi Scott-

It was actually both the argumentation as well as answering in attempt to shift either the conversation proper or aspects of the discussion off to another blog.

I would though like to apologize for the comment. However I thought about your apologetic method then, it was simply wrong for me to make such a personal comment. Keep in mind, sometime after that we had a much more in-depth conversation about Luther, by which I got to know you a little better. Still, even though I didn't know you as well then, I should not have made such a comment- so whatever my reasoning, it was still wrong to make such a comment.

I have not forgotten about the death of your daughter, and still feel very sorry for your loss. I haven't visited your blog in a while, but it is good to see, at least by the comments you recently left here, that you are once again taking up your interest in apologetics.

Regards, James

James Swan said...

Scott, if you'd like the comment in question deleted, please let me know. I was going to delete it, but I just visited your blog, and saw you had mentioned it. If you'd like the comment to stay up for polemical blogging purposes (or some other reason), that's fine as well. I'll leave it up to you.

Regards, James