Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sola Scriptura Debate - 2nd Rebuttal

DavidW’s comments misunderstand the fact that there are 2 categories in Scripture – theopneustos Scripture and non-theopneustos writings. Any reference to “Scripture” in the Scripture are claims about itself, because it’s God speaking. So anything that is God speaking carries the same attributes.

King David speaks glowingly about Scripture all throughout Psalm 119. Read it recently?

25 - My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

66 - Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.

94 - I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.

On and on it goes about the Scripture, yes, even the (looking back from modern times) limited Scripture that King David had. DavidW’s problem is with the Bible, not with me.

The Scripture was sufficient for King David and for Timothy to be saved, yes; see 2 Tim 3:15 and the Bereans of Acts 17. Progressive revelation, progressive responsibility. DavidW wants to catch me in some kind of 'trap' in affirming what Scripture transparently says, but argumenta ad incredulum are no good. Unlike him, I take all of what Scripture says and I submit my doctrine to it.

I'm not sure why DavidW thinks that Scripture's citing extra-biblical traditions would bother my position. It's simple - when the Scripture quotes something, that part of it is right. Doesn't make the rest of it inerrant or theopneustos, whether it's the Jewish oral traditions cited in Matt 23 or 1 Cor 10, pagan writings in Titus, or other writings in Jude.
Further, Maccabees is by and large a reliable historical account. So what if Christ celebrated Hanukkah? I've never denied that Christ followed various extra-biblical traditions. But He judged each one by Scripture, as Mark 7 makes clear. Not that DavidW would know that, as his treatment of Mark 7 is shallow (like most EOdox). He forgets that Christ uses the words "nullify the word of God by your tradition" right after quoting the OT. Naked assertions that "Word of God" can mean other things elsewhere doesn't do anything for him here. And I never claimed Mark 7:1-13 was a "condemnation of all tradition". Deal with what I actually said.

DavidW shoehorns extra-biblical tradition into 2 Tim 3 without telling us why we should think it's there. Assuming its presence doesn't get anyone anywhere, since he's supposed to PROVE his case. It is perfectly likely that "in the things you have learned and been assured of" is encompassed entirely in the NT, the entirety of which Timothy wouldn't have had on hand when Paul wrote that. Apostolic and authoritative oral tradition that was theopneustos and necessary for the church unto perpetuity became enscripturated. It's up to DavidW to prove, not assume, as he did with 2 Thess 2:15, the existence and God-breathed nature of some other alleged revelation. 2 Tim 3 also explains the end of oral apostolic tradition (so does Acts 20:32), as Paul commits his audience to the Word of God as refuge and authority during upcoming times of trouble, anticipating his upcoming death.

In citing Matt 19:7, DavidW makes a serious exegetical blunder. Christ is criticising the Pharisees for hard-heartedness at wanting to put their wives away for any reason, not Moses for allowing such. It's sometimes little things like this in which the hard heart of the errantist comes into view.

The Acts 15 council was working with a correct understanding of the purpose of OT dietary laws. Read Mark 7:14-22 and Hebrews. And it's another strawman to imply that I don't hold to the Holy Spirit's active guidance of the church of Jesus.

Let the reader judge whether
1) my quotation of Athanasius is indeed out of context.
2) whether context is all that important when someone makes such a straightforward and clear statement. DavidW has a real problem here b/c he likes to claim Athanasius is on his side, but in reality, there are two choices:
1. Athanasius held to Sola Scriptura. Thus DavidW's position fails b/c he needs SOMEone in the early church to believe like he does, otherwise his position has even less claim on the truth.
2. Athanasius was inconsistent throughout his lifetime. That leaves us with Church Fathers who have contradicted themselves. To be consistent with these Church Fathers (and remember, my claim is that modern EO-doxy is inconsistent with them), EOC would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as Athanasius did, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, leading to cognitive dissonance, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine Tradition. But they’ve indeed already done just that. Somehow this man from whom EOC ostensibly derives much of its tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings.

Now, how would the EO know this? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says.
In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern EOC is not totally faithful with Church Fathers and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of Apostolic Tradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point." Jesus judged tradition by Scripture. The EO instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct already in place to then look BACK on tradition AND Scripture and pick and choose what he will and won't believe. The problem is that DavidW doesn’t explain how he chooses between Orthodoxy and other “infallible interpreters”, but just assumes that Orthodoxy is correct. Perhaps he didn’t consider that an infallible interpreter can simply interpret selectively “2000 years of history” and anything else it wants to, for that matter, to support its view. That’s precisely what EOC does, but DavidW doesn’t see it.

We believe the Bible over other writings for lots of reasons, not least of which is that the ones he cited claim to be follow-ups and supplements to the Bible, yet contradict it at key points, thus proving inconsistent and untrustworthy.

I end with a review of what DavidW has not answered from my opener and rebuttal:

-“What could be of higher authority than the very speech of God?”

-“David, to deny the resolution successfully, must show us some other source of divine communication on par with or above Scripture.”

-What else might the man of God need that the Scripture can’t provide from the list I made of Scripture’s provisions in 2 Tim 3?

-How do you “define how we know what is good Tradition and bad tradition without a circular, question-begging appeal to The Church®?”

-Does David prove that the word of mouth is different in content than the letter mentioned? That the tradition mentioned there (like in 2 Thess 2:15) is distinct from the Scripture?

-Does David explain the lack of unity in his own church's walls if visible organisational/institutional unity is so essential? Does he exegete the disunity in the churches of Revelation 1-3, and 1 Cor 11:18-19, or does he just lazily throw up some "counter-citation" and hope nobody notices? Further, I'll add - does he explain how the Corinthian church could be so disunified and yet still be called "the church of God"?

(Word count: 1191)

(Comment repository post)


Jnorm888 said...

You're wrong about Saint Athanasius, not to mention a host of other things.

If I ever have time, I will eventually point out a few things, but until then I will just watch for I have too much on my plate right now.


Anonymous said...

Rhobes why the condescending/superior attitude and mockingly using an "r" next to someones church?

Rhology said...

It's because they claim to be the One True Holy And Apostolic Church.

If they didn't claim that exclusivity, I wouldn't mock the ludicrousness of the claim.

It is THEY who have the condescending/superior attitude (I don't claim that MY church is the One True Holy And Apostolic Church). I am disarming it.