In regard to his treatment of sola scriptura, the article states:
Bouyer also sees a negative principle that the Reformation unnecessarily associated with sola Scriptura or the sovereignty of the Bible. Yes, the Bible alone is the Word of God in the sense that only the Bible is divinely inspired. And yes the Bible’s authority is supreme in the sense that neither the Church nor the Church’s Tradition "trumps" Scripture. But that doesn’t mean that the Word of God in an authoritative form is found only in the Bible, for the Word of God can be communicated in a non-inspired, yet authoritative form as well. Nor does it mean that there can be no authoritative interpreter of the Bible (the Magisterium) or authoritative interpretation of biblical doctrine (Tradition). Repudiation of the Church’s authority and Tradition simply doesn’t follow from the premise of Scripture’s supremacy as the inspired Word of God. Furthermore, the Tradition and authority of the Church are required to determine the canon of the Bible.The debate, as I understand it, is that the Roman Catholic side finds the "Word of God" in another form besides Scripture (Tradition, the Magisterium). In the discussion I mentioned I was unsure what was meant above by "the Word of God can be communicated in a non-inspired, yet authoritative form as well." My genuine concern was whether or not the article wanted to go so far and say infallible Tradition is not divinely inspired. If so, they've set up a situation in which Tradition (and any infallible pronouncement from the Magisterium) is infallible but not divinely inspired.
In response, the following undocumented quote, alleged to be from Jimmy Akin, was provided:
The Catholic Church teaches that the Bible alone is the inspired word of God, where inspired refers to the action of the Holy Spirit in guiding the human authors to write what God wanted written, in the precise way he wanted it written. Sacred Tradition, though also the word of God, does not come to us in an inspired (or "God-breathed") form (cf. 2 Pet. 3:16). Theologians talk about sacred Tradition being "assisted" by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, to be sure, as they do the teaching ministry or magisterium of the Church. But only Scripture has God as its primary author and in that sense only Scripture is divinely inspired.I have no reason to believe this quote is not Jimmy Akin's, but without a context, the following comments are speculative. The position being put forth by Akin appears to be as follows:
1. There is only one inspired Word of God: the Bible.
2. There is another Word of God called Tradition which is not inspired by God but is "assisted by the Holy Spirit."
3. Only the Bible has God as it's primary author, and only if something has God as it's primary author can it be described as inspired.
4. Tradition (and the Magisterium) are the primary authors of themselves with God assisting, therefore if God acts as an assistant, he is not inspiring either because He is not the primary author.
Now if I've got this position correct, the popular Roman Catholic proof-text for Tradition, 2 Thes. 2:15 would imply that what was passed down by word of mouth was not God-breathed (or inspired by God), but rather assisted by the Holy Spirit. I don't consider myself any sort of expert on the relationship between Scripture and Tradition in the Roman church, but in what I have read, I don't recall ever coming across a dogmatic pronouncement making a distinction between a Word of God that is assisted rather than inspired.
The crucial phrase (as I see it) from Mr. Akin's quote is "Theologians talk about sacred Tradition being 'assisted' by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church...". Had the position been a perspicuous dogmatic declaration (if there really is such a thing), I don't think Mr. Akin would've used the word "Theologians." It appears to me the position being put forth is an interpretation of (at least) Dei Verbum, and perhaps some other official Roman statements.
Another of Akin's articles was brought into the discussion. After a number of points about how to use and explain Tradition, Mr. Akin states, "While these considerations may be useful as an apologist explores the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, he ultimately will have to decide how he thinks they fit together. So far, the Church has left him considerable latitude." Indeed. Here was a good example that "Tradition" will be explained somewhat differently depending on which Roman Catholic one is engaging. Some years ago I posted “Tradition” as Viewed by Popular Roman Catholic Apologists… and a Response. There I stated,
There is not a consensus opinion as to the exact content of Tradition, the precise relationship between scripture and Tradition, and exactly how the vehicle of Tradition functions and becomes known by the church. Rome’s official statements do not explicitly define whether Tradition is the second of a two-part revelation (known as partim-partim), or if both forms of revelation contain the entirety of God’s revealed truth. Does Tradition function as the interpreter of scripture, or is it interpreted by scripture, or do they interpret each other? Is the content of Tradition confirmed by historical scrutiny, or is it an unwritten opinion only confirmed by a movement within the developing church? Vatican II commands Catholics to accept and honor something quite ambiguous. One wonders if individual Catholics attempting devotion and reverence toward Tradition actually have the same or a differing concept in view. While dogmatic statements from official Roman Catholic councils are put forth to clarify truth, their statements on Tradition have done quite the opposite.