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Sola Scriptura

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Distruzio
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Sola Scriptura

Postby Distruzio » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:56 am

In order to avoid further thread jack in the "Jesus Died for You" thread, I have decided to start a new one on a topic of contention among atheists and Christians alike...

Is the Bible alone all that is needed in order to follow Christ?

I should begin with an explanation, I am Eastern Orthodox. The original Church. We, along with the Latin (Catholic), Oriental, Lutheran and Anglican Churches (although this is hotly contested, I admit that this particularity is my own perspective and should not be considered the universal position of all the Eastern, Oriental, Latin Church, or even the Anglican Communion), can show, through Apostolic Succession, our inheritance of the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were conferred upon the Disciples by the Apostles, who in turn received their spiritual authority from Jesus Christ. In other words, it was the Orthodox, and those previously mentioned, who wrote the New Testament and cannonized the Bible into the book we all know today. It was us who handed down the Creed and established what a Christian is to believe in order to avoid heresy against the Word.

In keeping with this perspective, I and I alone consider many, if not most, Protestants, to be bibliolaters (worshippers of the Bible) based upon their rejection of Apostolic Succession, the Patriarchal Consensus, and the Holy Tradition. That said, my position that Sola Scriptura is idolatry is not necessarily the topic of this thread. The topic is the position of Sola Scriptura itself:

Is the Bible alone all that is needed in order to follow Christ?

Of course, I don't think it is. I arrive at this conclusion by asking very simple, yet subtle, questions:

Does the Scripture teach that it is "all that is needed in order to follow Christ?"

...from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Timothy 3:15-17).


This is the verse most often used in order to substantiate the claim to Sola Scriptura. After all, if scripture alone makes the man pure, then it should be obvious that scripture alone should be sufficient to walk with Christ! Unfortunately, this interpretation requires very muddy thinking as well as a very cursory reading of scripture.

Was the New Testament completed when Paul wrote this of Timothy? Of course it wasn't. Which in and of itself exempts the Holy Traditions, founded in the New Testament, from the assertion that "scripture alone will suffice." Indeed, the "scripture" Paul is writing about is the Old Testament, the Jewish texts. Further, were Paul writing against tradition, why would he cite non-OT oral tradition in the very same chapter?

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith (II Timothy 3:8)


There are also several more occasions in which Paul, and other writers, cite non-OT oral tradition in the NT - Enoch and Jude spring to mind.

By establishing a canon, an authoritative list of official texts to be received and considered as Sacred Scripture, the early Church was defending itself against the spurious claims to legitimacy of the Gnostic Christians with their competing texts. These texts, the early Church agreed, distracted from, and even misrepresented the Truth of the Christian doctrine. In handing down this Canon, the Church was by no means declaring that such texts were the absolute end-all container for everything necessary and proper for Christian life.

What was the New Testament used for?

The New Testament can basically be categorized into four literary genres: gospel, historical narrative, epistle, and prophecy.

The Gospels, of course, describe the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The historical narratives recount the history and organization of the early Church. The epistles were responses to specific problems that arose in the various Churches. Things that were understood by all, and not considered problems, were not touched upon in any great detail. The disputed doctrinal issues were generally disputed or misunderstood doctrines. The prophecy was intended to foretell of God's inevitable triumph.

Note what is missing from these genres... worship. The OT repeatedly and extensively describes the manner in which those of the Old Covenant, the Jews, are to worship. Yet the NT is strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, all but silent on the matter. In fact, on the rare occasion worship is mentioned, it is described not as a "feeling" or a personal revelation due to intense study of the scriptures but, rather, liturgical and corporate worship.

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour (Acts 3:1).


And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart (Acts 2:46)


Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them (Acts 21:26)


Further, if all we need is the scripture alone, then why does the NT not lay out a systematic theology for the faith? There is no catechism, nothing resembling a doctrinal statement.

If the Scriptures were the basis of the early Church, was Tradition a corruption of their purity?

So often, Protestants and Atheists alike criticize the more liturgical sects of Christianity of engaging in "corrupted practices." Of putting the "traditions of men" before the Word. Of course they base this assumption on misrepresentations and misunderstandings of actual text. Such mistakes lead them to believe that the first Christians were exactly like evangelicals of today! Carrying a bible to Church every Sunday, thumping it at every sinner on the corner, text proofing with one another and worshipping by the "Word alone."

Needless to say, this is nonsense. People of this perspective forget how few individuals could read before the 20th century. Moreover, the printing press wouldn't exist until the 15th century. This means that of the early Christians, almost none of them could read their Bibles and, most embarrassingly for the modern bibliolater, those Bibles that none of them could read didn't exist and wouldn't for another few hundred years. Remember, the canon didn't exist until the 4th century.

Most importantly, if the Christian is the creature of the New Covenant, revealed in the New Testament, then how did First Century Christians learn their faith when the NT had not yet been written? If they couldn't read about the life and crucifixion of Christ themselves, were they not real Christians? Were they, as I was recently accused of being, Pagans who replaced Holy Scripture with Holy Tradition?

Of course I'm not saying that study of the scripture didn't happen. I'm merely saying that the vast majority of Christians learned through oral tradition, rather than reading their Bible before bed every night.

Of course, I find myself committing the great sin of failing to text proof like the good little thumper I'm supposed to be. Allow me to rectify that oversight now, what do the Scriptures say about Tradition?

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle (II Thessalonians 2:15)


Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you (1 Corinthians 11:2).


So if Christ declared that the Pharisees were wrong for focusing on the "traditions of men" and yet later Christians emphasize the importance of "tradition," what is the difference?

Christ is the difference.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread (1 Corinthians 11:23)


Recall that the Gospel John said:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.


So does it make sense that Scripture alone should be sufficient?

Can anyone really interpret Scripture alone, without Tradition?

This is what is best known about Protestants. They'll say, "all I need is my Bible." The line of reasoning is that the meaning of Scripture is clear enough that anyone can understand it by simply reading it for oneself, without the guiding hand of the Church. The same people that claim this, tend to lament the 33,000 variations of Christianity and the very real and very poignant perspectives that Atheists take.




What is my conclusion? That Sola Scriptura is not appropriate. The death knell for the Sola Scriptura perspective can be lain out more simply than I've thus far managed:

Can the advocate of Sola Scriptura point to a verse within the Scripture itself that substantiates their claim that the "Bible alone is sufficient." No, they cannot.
Last edited by Distruzio on Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Yootwopia » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:07 am

Distruzio wrote:Can the advocate of Sola Scriptura point to a verse within the Scripture itself that substantiates their claim that the "Bible alone is sufficient." No, they cannot.

Deuteronomy 4:2, so long as you're taking both the words of Moses and the writers of the Bible to be divinely inspired and Deuteronomy 12:32 if you understand that its breadth goes further than the chapter itself?
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Postby Grave_n_idle » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:11 am

I think the question is confusing. I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts.

No - I think it's a matter of pre-eminence. I think that a claim at Christianity that puts another source above scripture must be inherently flawed - or else, admittedly not 'Christian'.

And this is where you and I conflicted in the other thread - you seem to believe that the message can be modified, or worse - 'corrected' - by a tradition of interpretation.

I think you're entirely wrong.
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Postby Zeyad » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:43 am

For a brief and easy reference, here's quick link of the five Solas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas

It's worth noting that if I'm not mistaken the Catholic Church's dogma is Sola Gratia. I'll have to double check that later.
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Postby Distruzio » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:35 am

Yootwopia wrote:
Distruzio wrote:Can the advocate of Sola Scriptura point to a verse within the Scripture itself that substantiates their claim that the "Bible alone is sufficient." No, they cannot.

Deuteronomy 4:2, so long as you're taking both the words of Moses and the writers of the Bible to be divinely inspired and Deuteronomy 12:32 if you understand that its breadth goes further than the chapter itself?


Was the law not, according to Christian tradition, fulfilled in Christ. Is Christ not, according to Christian tradition, the Word. Therefore, how does it follow that Christianity, in the tradition of Christ, is an addition to the Law? I can understand this position when articulated from the person denying the divinity of Christ. But Holy Tradition holds that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament. Therefore, there is no verse within scripture that pronounces scripture alone to be sufficient for discernment of the Truth.
Last edited by Distruzio on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Distruzio » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:37 am

Grave_n_idle wrote:I think the question is confusing. I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts.

No - I think it's a matter of pre-eminence. I think that a claim at Christianity that puts another source above scripture must be inherently flawed - or else, admittedly not 'Christian'.

And this is where you and I conflicted in the other thread - you seem to believe that the message can be modified, or worse - 'corrected' - by a tradition of interpretation.

I think you're entirely wrong.


That is not what you said in the other thread:


Grave_n_idle wrote:'My position' is that, if we're discussing scriptural 'events' and 'theory, there's one ultimate source which simply cannot be trumped - the scripture.

If we're talking about whether Jesus was Messiah, for example... it doesn't matter how many people have how many opinions on the mater - even if those people were very important or influential. What has to matter, is whether or not Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Messiah. Anything else is a red herring.

(Yes, I realise that PARTICULAR question wasn't what we were discussing).

If my use of the term 'objective' is causing concern - I'm attempting to illustrate that there are two different types of argument here - the 'what I believe' arguments (subjective, obviously) and the 'what the scripture actually SAYS' argument, which is unchanged hard-copy, and thus, as near as one gets to objective in a debate about theology.


If you are now saying that you didn't fully explain yourself (you did admit that your response left less than to be desired) then I can accept the position that the Scripture is pre-eminent. Please forgive my misunderstanding since this is now your position. ;)
Last edited by Distruzio on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Archregimancy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:51 am

Before this thread devolves into an exclusive exchange between Distruzio and GnI - and, potentially, a circular semantic discussion of what 'above' means in the context of Orthodox perspectives of Scripture - I would gently suggest that Distruzio lean more on the more detailed discussion of the outward forms of Orthodox Tradition in Chapter 10 of Timothy Ware's The Orthodox Church (particularly pages 199-207; second edition) than on Orthodox Wiki to make his case.

Given GnI's most recent post in this thread stating "I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts", the two of you might find that there's more basis for commonality of discussion than you might think.

Just a thought.

Edit:
And I see that Distruzio's most recent post has been edited to acknowledge the possibility.

I will follow subsequent discussion with interest, but will refrain from participating.
Last edited by The Archregimancy on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Distruzio » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:09 am

Advice taken Arch. The book is beside me.... I'm just waiting on GnI.
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Postby Grave_n_idle » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:30 am

Distruzio wrote:
Grave_n_idle wrote:I think the question is confusing. I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts.

No - I think it's a matter of pre-eminence. I think that a claim at Christianity that puts another source above scripture must be inherently flawed - or else, admittedly not 'Christian'.

And this is where you and I conflicted in the other thread - you seem to believe that the message can be modified, or worse - 'corrected' - by a tradition of interpretation.

I think you're entirely wrong.


That is not what you said in the other thread:


Grave_n_idle wrote:'My position' is that, if we're discussing scriptural 'events' and 'theory, there's one ultimate source which simply cannot be trumped - the scripture.

If we're talking about whether Jesus was Messiah, for example... it doesn't matter how many people have how many opinions on the mater - even if those people were very important or influential. What has to matter, is whether or not Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Messiah. Anything else is a red herring.

(Yes, I realise that PARTICULAR question wasn't what we were discussing).

If my use of the term 'objective' is causing concern - I'm attempting to illustrate that there are two different types of argument here - the 'what I believe' arguments (subjective, obviously) and the 'what the scripture actually SAYS' argument, which is unchanged hard-copy, and thus, as near as one gets to objective in a debate about theology.


If you are now saying that you didn't fully explain yourself (you did admit that your response left less than to be desired) then I can accept the position that the Scripture is pre-eminent. Please forgive my misunderstanding since this is now your position. ;)


You're positing a conflict where there is none. I've said the same thing on both occasions. On neither occasion did I argue for 'scripture alone'. In both cases I have argued that - if you're going to call it Christianity, the one thing you can't discard or over-rule is the context that makes that meaningful - i.e. scripture.

This is 'now' my position, and this was 'then' my position, too. I immediately pointed out that I don't agree with your 'sola scriptura' argument, and why I think it's wrong. You seem to be giving me two alternatives, though - I either have to accept that 'traditions' can replace scripture (I don't agree with that, not if you're going to pretend to be talking about the scriptural 'truth') or that scripture alone is true (I also don't agree with that, for the reasons I explained).

But I don't accept those - either of them. And I've explained why I think it's a false dichotomy, and why I think the entire thrust of this thread is misleading and confused.

Please stop trying to paint this as something it's not. I'm not changing my position, here - I'm explaining it.


...perhaps badly. I guess that's for you to decide.
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Postby Distruzio » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:38 am

Grave_n_idle wrote:You're positing a conflict where there is none. I've said the same thing on both occasions. On neither occasion did I argue for 'scripture alone'. In both cases I have argued that - if you're going to call it Christianity, the one thing you can't discard or over-rule is the context that makes that meaningful - i.e. scripture.

This is 'now' my position, and this was 'then' my position, too. I immediately pointed out that I don't agree with your 'sola scriptura' argument, and why I think it's wrong. You seem to be giving me two alternatives, though - I either have to accept that 'traditions' can replace scripture (I don't agree with that, not if you're going to pretend to be talking about the scriptural 'truth') or that scripture alone is true (I also don't agree with that, for the reasons I explained).

But I don't accept those - either of them. And I've explained why I think it's a false dichotomy, and why I think the entire thrust of this thread is misleading and confused.

Please stop trying to paint this as something it's not. I'm not changing my position, here - I'm explaining it.


...perhaps badly. I guess that's for you to decide.


Bah, it was a misunderstanding entirely on my part.

Why would traditions not be acceptable filters through which to discern Christianity? What is the distinction for you? How do you know when traditions based on scripture will not suffice for interpretation of the scripture?
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Postby Grave_n_idle » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:06 am

Distruzio wrote:
Grave_n_idle wrote:You're positing a conflict where there is none. I've said the same thing on both occasions. On neither occasion did I argue for 'scripture alone'. In both cases I have argued that - if you're going to call it Christianity, the one thing you can't discard or over-rule is the context that makes that meaningful - i.e. scripture.

This is 'now' my position, and this was 'then' my position, too. I immediately pointed out that I don't agree with your 'sola scriptura' argument, and why I think it's wrong. You seem to be giving me two alternatives, though - I either have to accept that 'traditions' can replace scripture (I don't agree with that, not if you're going to pretend to be talking about the scriptural 'truth') or that scripture alone is true (I also don't agree with that, for the reasons I explained).

But I don't accept those - either of them. And I've explained why I think it's a false dichotomy, and why I think the entire thrust of this thread is misleading and confused.

Please stop trying to paint this as something it's not. I'm not changing my position, here - I'm explaining it.


...perhaps badly. I guess that's for you to decide.


Bah, it was a misunderstanding entirely on my part.

Why would traditions not be acceptable filters through which to discern Christianity? What is the distinction for you? How do you know when traditions based on scripture will not suffice for interpretation of the scripture?


The problem arises when 'tradition' replaces scripture, or interprets it in some different (and, I'd argue, inconsistent) way. If the scripture says 'A', and your tradition says 'yeah, but 'B'' then you have a problem - and the conflict has to be resolved not through ONLY the use of scripture, but certainly through the pre-eminence of it.

Can tradition be an acceptable filter for Christianity? Only where it is scriptural. If your tradition is entirely scripturally consistent, and scripturally justified, it can certainly be an acceptable tool of understanding or arguing.

If it can't be reconciled, then it can't be an acceptable filter.


Note - this all obviously ONLY applies is you want to call yourself 'Christian', and argue that the scripture represents something real. If you're arguing that the scripture is a parable for a different kind of truth, tradition is perfectly acceptable - but what you're really talking about is Christinity-flavoured paganism.


What is the distinction for me? If I'm understanding the question, you're asking what influences EXTERNAL to the scripture do I consider could be 'valid'... and why doesn't 'tradition' meet that?

If that's the question you're asking - the scripture talks about discernment... but it talks about discernment as a personal spiritual gift. Jesus is portrayed as preaching a personal relationship with God. A personal revelation. Personally discerned truth. Indeed, the scripture specifically warns against people teaching their versions of scriptural truth, and argued heavily in favour of revealed truth filtered through a personal relationship with god.

'Tradition' replaces that. Tradition ignores one of the central teachings of the ministry attributed to Jesus, and creates a new Pharisee cult - something that Jesus reportedly specifically warned against.


As for the last question, it seems to me to be self-answering. One can only use 'tradition' to understand the scripture if it is sustained and justified BY the scripture. And where scripture itself is conflicted, it seems that truth has to be discerned consistent with the context of the conflict. So, if for example, Peter argues a thing that is inconsistent with the beatitudes, then Peter is wrong. (Because the beatitudes are supposed to be direct from the 'Christ' - and thus the most Christ-ian teaching). If Paul argues something that opposes something in the Gospel accounts, then Paul is wrong, because he is a commentator, not a witness. If Revelation disagrees with witness testimony or commentary from the main text, then Revelation is wrong. etc.

And where later tradition argues against scripture, tradition is wrong. For the same reasons.


Now, this isn't to say there can only be inspiration from scripture. But non-scriptural inspiration must be personal and inspired. If someone is teaching you their 'truth', they are doing so in direct conflict with the scripture. And if they are using the kind of circular logic that says it's okay to filter the truth this way, IF you accept that it's okay to filter the truth this way (i.e. using tradition to justify the use of tradition), then it's not just scripturally inconsistent and wrong... it's actually dishonest and anti-Christian.



Of course, this really gets confusing, once we get into the inconsistency between Hebrew and Greek scripture - but that's a different argument. For the sake of this debate, I'm assuming the solidity of the scriptural Christian claims.
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Postby Lost Earth » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:23 am

Grave_n_idle wrote:I think the question is confusing. I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts.

No - I think it's a matter of pre-eminence. I think that a claim at Christianity that puts another source above scripture must be inherently flawed - or else, admittedly not 'Christian'.

And this is where you and I conflicted in the other thread - you seem to believe that the message can be modified, or worse - 'corrected' - by a tradition of interpretation.

I think you're entirely wrong.

This statement sums up my feelings on the OP quite nicely. Certainly thaere are other texts of significance that can be useful in the Christian faith, but ONLY the Bible should be considered to be absolutely correct and all other works must be looked at with an eye knowing that there is a good chance they were not divinely inspired and could have partially corrupted messages in them regardless of the author's intentions.

The Bible alone is merely a book. However, using personal experiences and the revelation of the Holy Spirit in your life, I do indeed find it quite sufficient for Salvation. My father created his entire life philosophy from the Bible and without the help of any other christians or outside sources, he came to Christ through a Bible he found and did so theologically correctly.

Edit: I don't think I should say the Bible is merely a book, since it is divienly inspired. However, it will seem like merely a book without the help of the Holy Spirit. Also, yes, it takes precendence over tradition, just as Grave_n_idle is arguing. I totally agree with him so far. Tradition can be corrupted by man, scripture, as long as it is as close to the original translation as possible, is not corrupted.
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Postby Grave_n_idle » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:28 am

Lost Earth wrote:
Grave_n_idle wrote:I think the question is confusing. I don't think that there's a good argument for scripture alone, and - to be honest - I think that anyone who really argues that has failed to really think it through. Scripture alone would mean ignoring experience, revelation, or spiritual gifts.

No - I think it's a matter of pre-eminence. I think that a claim at Christianity that puts another source above scripture must be inherently flawed - or else, admittedly not 'Christian'.

And this is where you and I conflicted in the other thread - you seem to believe that the message can be modified, or worse - 'corrected' - by a tradition of interpretation.

I think you're entirely wrong.

This statement sums up my feelings on the OP quite nicely. Certainly thaere are other texts of significance that can be useful in the Christian faith, but ONLY the Bible should be considered to be absolutely correct and all other works must be looked at with an eye knowing that there is a good chance they were not divinely inspired and could have partially corrupted messages in them regardless of the author's intentions.

The Bible alone is merely a book. However, using personal experiences and the revelation of the Holy Spirit in your life, I do indeed find it quite sufficient for Salvation. My father created his entire life philosophy from the Bible and without the help of any other christians or outside sources, he came to Christ through a Bible he found and did so theologically correctly.


While I would agree that a personal relationship and personal revelation is theologically absolutely acceptable (even, arguably, the MOST acceptable) as a path to 'salvation'... I'm troubled by the assertion that the bible might be considered 'absolutely correct' or that it's provenance as 'divinely inspired' is any more real or reliable than any other book.

But it is the founding text, and the only real 'evidence' for the root theology of Christianity - so it does still deserve pre-eminence in that context, 'divinely inspired' or no.
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Postby Lost Earth » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:34 am

Grave_n_idle wrote:
Lost Earth wrote:This statement sums up my feelings on the OP quite nicely. Certainly thaere are other texts of significance that can be useful in the Christian faith, but ONLY the Bible should be considered to be absolutely correct and all other works must be looked at with an eye knowing that there is a good chance they were not divinely inspired and could have partially corrupted messages in them regardless of the author's intentions.

The Bible alone is merely a book. However, using personal experiences and the revelation of the Holy Spirit in your life, I do indeed find it quite sufficient for Salvation. My father created his entire life philosophy from the Bible and without the help of any other christians or outside sources, he came to Christ through a Bible he found and did so theologically correctly.


While I would agree that a personal relationship and personal revelation is theologically absolutely acceptable (even, arguably, the MOST acceptable) as a path to 'salvation'... I'm troubled by the assertion that the bible might be considered 'absolutely correct' or that it's provenance as 'divinely inspired' is any more real or reliable than any other book.

But it is the founding text, and the only real 'evidence' for the root theology of Christianity - so it does still deserve pre-eminence in that context, 'divinely inspired' or no.

I can agree with you that perhaps parts of the Bible are seemingly theologically incorrect. For example, the song of solomon is quite, well, theologically "cooky" to say the least. However, you have to always take it in context as you said previously. I believe that is truly what was written, but that does not make the author's assertions right. We now solomon become rather sinful as he progressed through his life, as other books tell us. Everything, if taken in context, is correct.
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Postby Grave_n_idle » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:41 am

Lost Earth wrote:
Grave_n_idle wrote:
While I would agree that a personal relationship and personal revelation is theologically absolutely acceptable (even, arguably, the MOST acceptable) as a path to 'salvation'... I'm troubled by the assertion that the bible might be considered 'absolutely correct' or that it's provenance as 'divinely inspired' is any more real or reliable than any other book.

But it is the founding text, and the only real 'evidence' for the root theology of Christianity - so it does still deserve pre-eminence in that context, 'divinely inspired' or no.

I can agree with you that perhaps parts of the Bible are seemingly theologically incorrect. For example, the song of solomon is quite, well, theologically "cooky" to say the least. However, you have to always take it in context as you said previously. I believe that is truly what was written, but that does not make the author's assertions right. We now solomon become rather sinful as he progressed through his life, as other books tell us. Everything, if taken in context, is correct.


"Song of Solomon" is actually one of my favourite parts of the scripture. It's some of the most explicit erotic poetry I've ever read, and it's just bumping along next to all those laws and ordinances. I would certainly argue that, in context, everything reflects what people believed... but that's not the same as being 'true'.
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Postby Distruzio » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:32 am

Grave_n_idle wrote:The problem arises when 'tradition' replaces scripture, or interprets it in some different (and, I'd argue, inconsistent) way. If the scripture says 'A', and your tradition says 'yeah, but 'B'' then you have a problem - and the conflict has to be resolved not through ONLY the use of scripture, but certainly through the pre-eminence of it.

Can tradition be an acceptable filter for Christianity? Only where it is scriptural. If your tradition is entirely scripturally consistent, and scripturally justified, it can certainly be an acceptable tool of understanding or arguing.


I can assume from this comment that you know nothing of Orthodox, Oriental, Anglican, nor Latin Tradition? Otherwise you would never imply that they lack scriptural basis for their use of Holy Tradition as the entirety of it is lifted directly from Scripture, both OT and NT.

If it can't be reconciled, then it can't be an acceptable filter.


But your insistence that scripture be even pre-eminent cannot be reconciled with Scripture as the texts themselves fail to point to the text as wielding any authority outside the context of an acceptable filter. I mean, I can accept your insistence on the pre-eminence b/c I know that such a status is nothing without the guiding light of 2000 years of spiritual discernment found in the Consensus Patrum, I simply think you are confusing yourself here.


Note - this all obviously ONLY applies is you want to call yourself 'Christian', and argue that the scripture represents something real. If you're arguing that the scripture is a parable for a different kind of truth, tradition is perfectly acceptable - but what you're really talking about is Christinity-flavoured paganism.


I've never argued that. I've only ever argued that the literalism so often insisted upon by bibliolaters (that bats are birds and that the world was created in 6 days, etc) misses the point of the text entirely. It isn't necessarily important that Adam and Eve were real people who really did sin and really did create the separation from God we all lament (or don't). What is important is to see yourself and your separation from God in the stories.


'Tradition' replaces that. Tradition ignores one of the central teachings of the ministry attributed to Jesus, and creates a new Pharisee cult - something that Jesus reportedly specifically warned against.


I addressed this in the OP quite explicitly.


As for the last question, it seems to me to be self-answering. One can only use 'tradition' to understand the scripture if it is sustained and justified BY the scripture. And where scripture itself is conflicted, it seems that truth has to be discerned consistent with the context of the conflict. So, if for example, Peter argues a thing that is inconsistent with the beatitudes, then Peter is wrong. (Because the beatitudes are supposed to be direct from the 'Christ' - and thus the most Christ-ian teaching). If Paul argues something that opposes something in the Gospel accounts, then Paul is wrong, because he is a commentator, not a witness. If Revelation disagrees with witness testimony or commentary from the main text, then Revelation is wrong. etc.

And where later tradition argues against scripture, tradition is wrong. For the same reasons.


I think you are mistaking tradition for Holy Tradition.


Now, this isn't to say there can only be inspiration from scripture. But non-scriptural inspiration must be personal and inspired. If someone is teaching you their 'truth', they are doing so in direct conflict with the scripture. And if they are using the kind of circular logic that says it's okay to filter the truth this way, IF you accept that it's okay to filter the truth this way (i.e. using tradition to justify the use of tradition), then it's not just scripturally inconsistent and wrong... it's actually dishonest and anti-Christian.


Agreed.
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Postby Bhangbhangdukh » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:19 am

Look, you have a religion, any religion, thats based on a "Holy Book of Truth and Rules" direct from the sky-daddy...

Your claim that the Holy Book is from the sky daddy is what makes it "Holy Truth", and gives your religion a claim to authority, the right to tell people what to believe if they want to be part of your religion.

The moment you tart claiming that some bloke can come along later, and rewrite it, to bring it up to date, you have a choice of options...

1. The updates are not holy, only the original release is holy, all updated installations are virused malware, engage full purge and cleanse protocols immediately.

"Burn the heretical believers who defile the Scriptures with their heathen loving Religion-2 revisionist appeasement!"

2. The revisionist interpretation is as valid as the original scripture because they are both made up, take off the fancy robes, claim to be a philosophy instead.

"Welcome, to our discussion center, as you can see we have removed the altar and pews to make way for a circle of comfy sofas and bookshelves filled with interesting ideas from other philosophical schools of thought"

3. Publish the Holy Book in Loose Leaf Ring-Binder format, and issue official updates on matching headed paper.

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Postby Distruzio » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:41 am

Bhangbhangdukh wrote:Look, you have a religion, any religion, thats based on a "Holy Book of Truth and Rules" direct from the sky-daddy...

Your claim that the Holy Book is from the sky daddy is what makes it "Holy Truth", and gives your religion a claim to authority, the right to tell people what to believe if they want to be part of your religion.

The moment you tart claiming that some bloke can come along later, and rewrite it, to bring it up to date, you have a choice of options...


That "bloke" was the skydaddy and the "rewritten" bits weren't rewritten at all. They were elaborations of the original prophecies. The NT does not codify Christian doctrine, therefore it does not replace the OT, it elaborates upon it.
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Postby Nansurium » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:31 pm

Hello Again, Distruzio. Its been a long time since I have joined into one of these discussions. I'm rather looking forward to it.

Now you kindly provided some very good reasoning as to why Scripture should not be taken as the final authority in all matters relating to Christian doctrine. I would like to contribute to this discussion by providing what I hope will be an equally well reasoned argument that explains why it makes sense to believe in what you call "Sola Scriptura".

Now you start right off the bat by making a few comments that I find slightly offensive when you said:

Many consider the Protestants mere schismatics - not necessarily heretics. I however, struggle to maintain even this modicum of neutrality on the status of protestantism within Christianity and often give in to the temptation to label Protestants, by and large (with some exceptions of course) to be idolators. More specifically, bibliolators - worshippers of the Bible. They deny the authority of Christ and the Holy Spirit - they deny God and supplant him with themselves.


I'm honored that you felt that the comments I made some months ago to be of such high value as to be worth including as evidence to your point. But really, I think we could do with some clarification regarding this rather sensational notion that we protestants are willing to supplant our deity with the Bible. I think before reaching that radical conclusion, you have to consider why such value is placed on the Bible.

The Bible, as I am sure you are well aware, is believed by protestant Christians to be a divinely inspired message to mankind from God, written by the hands of God's most faithful disciples over the course of millennia, from Moses all the way to the disciples of Christ. The Bible is, without a doubt, the most exceptional collection of literary works ever assembled in human history. But that is not what makes this book so exceptional in the eyes of Protestants. The Bible is exceptional simply because we believe that through its texts, the sole means of connecting with God can be found. Our faith in the Bible is not simply driven by the exceptional status of this book. Everything that makes the Bible so important to protestants comes solely from God. We do not worship the Bible as you cynically suggest. The Bible is merely a tool that is "...profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in Righteousness."

We do not deny God. We simply believe that by following closely with the one religious manuscript that we know is the divinely inspired by God, we can best match and play our part in God's plan of salvation.


Was the New Testament completed when Paul wrote this of Timothy? Of course it wasn't. Which in and of itself exempts the Holy Traditions, founded in the New Testament, from the assertion that "scripture alone will suffice." Indeed, the "scripture" Paul is writing about is the Old Testament, the Jewish texts. Further, were Paul writing against tradition, why would he cite non-OT oral tradition in the very same chapter?


Your claim that II Timothy 3:15-17 is simply debunked or does not apply because the scriptures were not yet completed and compiled does not hold much weight. Nor do your later assertions where you basically say that the value of the scriptures is diminished because they were not relied upon by the first Christians. This is true. The early church did not have the advantage of having the completed works of Christ's apostles and disciples in hand. But that does not mean that they were devoid of guidance from God. The Christians of this period had the advantage of having teachers who carried with them God's message. This is why scriptures were not so necessary during this period. Because the Apostles and the witnesses of Christ were readily available to dispense the teachings of Christ and to deal with any controversies or malpractice that may have arisen among the early churches during this period.

In fact, Christianity was not without controversy during the times of the Apostles. The questions regarding Circumcision and the equal inclusion of gentiles sparked significant conflict and division in the early church. These conflicts were effectively settled by the Apostles who, at that time, filled the same role that the scriptures do today. It should also be noted that while the Christian bible was not compiled until much later, basically all of the works of the apostles and witnesses of Christ had been written and were in the possession of the early Church.

In regards to your argument that Paul was speaking of the Old Testament scriptures in II Timothy 3:15-17, I think you should remember that because Paul was divinely inspired by God to write these things down, and because God is omniscient and omnipotent, I think it is reasonable to suggest that Paul was not only speaking to the Christians of his lifetime. I believe that because the intricacies of our faith had been revealed to Paul by an all-knowing God, then there is a distinct possibility that God was speaking to all generations of Christians to come, Christians who would have all of the scriptures available to them, through Paul as well. Claiming otherwise would be paramount to stating that the Bible is not divinely inspired.


Note what is missing from these genres... worship. The OT repeatedly and extensively describes the manner in which those of the Old Covenant, the Jews, are to worship. Yet the NT is strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, all but silent on the matter. In fact, on the rare occasion worship is mentioned, it is described not as a "feeling" or a personal revelation due to intense study of the scriptures but, rather, liturgical and corporate worship.


I would like to humbly suggest that the New Testament paints a very clear picture of what our worship is supposed to be and that you may not have been paying close enough attention or may have been misinterpreting these texts.

The Bible defines many areas of our worship from the nature of the Church to the institution of the Lord's Supper. It is actually quite specific. I'm not going to go into overt detail examining each of these verses simply for the sake of my time, but if you have any questions about how I am interpreting them, please don't hesitate to ask.

Acts 20:28-31 Speaking to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.


Ephesians 5:1-30 Moral Expectations, Christ's Church, Singing and Family
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.


Acts 14:23 Elders
23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.


I Timothy 3:1-7 Requirements to Serve as Elders and as Deacons
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.


Ephesians 4:11-14 Pastors, teachers and Shepherds
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.


Authorization of the works of the Church:
* Teach God's word to those who are not Christians - 1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 11:22-26; Philippians 4:14-18; Acts 13:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:8.
* Provide opportunities for worship and praise to God - 1 Corinthians 11:18-26,33; 14:15-26; 16:1,2; Hebrews 2:12; Acts 20:7.
* Edify, instruct, and if necessary discipline those who are members - Ephesians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 14:19,23-26; chapter 5; Hebrews 10:24,25; Matthew 18:15-17.
* Provide for the physical needs of certain destitute members - 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8 & 9; Acts 4:32-35; 6:1-6.

Prayer:

What do we pray about?
Praise to God
* God's authority and Lordship - He is the true God, in contrast to idols - 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. [Psalm 86:8-10; Neh. 9:4-6; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Kings 19:15; Matt. 6:13; Rev 11:17; 2 Sam. 7:22]
* God's power - 1 Chronicles 29:11,12. [Jer. 32:16-23; Eph. 1:16-19; Job 42:1,2; Neh. 9:4-38; Dan. 2:20-23]
* God's holiness, goodness, and righteousness - Psalm 86:5-12 (note v5). [Psalm 143:1-12; 1 Sam. 2:2]
* God's mercy, grace, kindness, and willingness to forgive - God has provided redemption and salvation for His people, especially sending Jesus as our Savior - Psalm 86:5. [Col. 1:12-14; 2 Sam. 7:23; Neh. 9:4-38; Luke 2:37,38; 1 Kings 8:23; Ezra 9:8,9; Psalm 17:7]
* God's wisdom and knowledge - Jeremiah 32:16-23 (note v19). [Dan. 2:20-23; 1 Sam. 2:3]
* God's justice - God cares for His people and rewards them but punishes the wicked - Jeremiah 32:19,23. [1 Sam. 2:6-10; Gen. 18:25; Psalm 90:7-11]
* God's eternal existence - Psalm 90:1-4. [Psalm 102:1,12,24-27]
* God's faithfulness to His word - Nehemiah 9:4-8. [Neh. 1:5; 1 Kings 8:23-30; Dan. 9:4; Psalm 143:1]
* God's work as Creator and Source of life - Nehemiah 9:4-6. [Jer. 32:17; Psalm 90:2; 102:1,24,25; 2 Kings 19:15; Acts 4:24; 1 Sam. 2:6]

Prayer for Others
* Rulers - 1 Timothy 2:1,2. [Ezra 6:10; 1 Chron. 29:19]
* Children and family members - our spouse, relatives, etc. - 1 Chron. 29:19. [Matthew 19:13-15; Gen. 25:21,22; 24:12-14; 18:23-33; 1 Sam. 1:10-12; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Luke 1:13]
* Lost sinners - Romans 10:1-3. Remember, however, that these people must meet the gospel conditions of salvation in order to be forgiven. [Matt. 9:36-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60]
* Enemies and persecutors - Luke 6:27,28. [Acts 7:60; Luke 23:34]
* People sick and suffering - 3 John 2. [James 5:16; Num. 11:2; 2 Sam. 12:15,16; Gen. 20:17,18]
* Elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers - Ephesians 6:18-20. [Col. 4:3,4; Acts 4:25-29; 6:6; 14:23; 13:3; 1 Thess. 5:25; Matt. 9:36-38; 2 Thess. 3:1,2; Heb. 13:18]
* All Christians - Ephesians 6:18. [James 5:16]

Frequency and Setting of Prayer
1 Timothy 2:8 - Men should pray "everywhere."
Acts 2:42 - "Continue steadfastly" in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17,18 - Pray "without ceasing"; in everything give thanks.
Ephesians 5:20 - Give thanks "always" for all things.
[Eph. 1:16; 6:18; Col. 1:3,9; 2:7; 3:17; 4:2,12; Luke 18:1-7; Rom. 12:12; Acts 6:4; 1:14; Phil. 1:4; 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:4; 2 Thess. 1:3,11; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2:13]
These verses do not mean we should pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for then we could not do the other good works God has commanded. Even Jesus and his apostles did not pray all the time (Luke 11:1).
The passages do mean that prayer should be a regular, frequent part of our daily lives, and that we should never quit or cease the practice of prayer. Further, we should live so that we are always ready to pray at any moment. We should never participate in practices such that we would be ashamed to pray to God in the midst of that activity.

* In public worship assemblies - 1 Corinthians 14:15 (see the context). [1 Kings 8:22; Ezra 9:4,5ff; Neh. 9:1-5]
* In special gatherings regarding special needs - Acts 4:23ff. [Acts 12:5,12; 20:36]
* In one's own home - Matthew 6:6. [Dan. 6:10,11; 2 Kings 20:1-3]
* Before meals - Acts 27:35. [Matt. 15:36; 14:19; Luke 24:30]
* On a mountain, in a garden, or other deserted place - Matthew 14:23. [Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; 9:18; Acts 10:9; Matt. 26:36-46]
* In the morning - Mark 1:35 (a long time before day). [Psalm 5:3; 88:13]
* In the evening - Matthew 26:36-46. [Ezra 9:5]
* Morning, noon, and evening - Psalm 55:16,17.
* Three times a day - Daniel 6:10,11.
* For forty days and nights - Deut. 9:18,25,26.
* All night - Luke 6:12.
* Night and day - 1 Thessalonians 3:9,10. [1 Tim. 5:5; Psalm 88:1]

Prayer Posture
* Kneeling, falling down prostrate - Luke 22:41. [Matt. 26:39; Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14; Dan. 6:10,11; Deut. 9:18-20,25; 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5]
* Sitting - Nehemiah 1:4. [1 Kings 19:4; 2 Sam. 7:18]
* Standing - Mark 11:25; Luke 18:13,14. [1 Sam. 1:26; Gen. 24:12,13; Neh. 9:4,5ff] Note: If someone demands an example of standing in a congregational assembly, I ask where is the example of kneeling in a congregational assembly?
* Bowed heads - 1 Chronicles 29:20 (Israel), Luke 18:13 (the publican would not lift his eyes to heaven). [Gen. 24:27,48; Ex. 34:8,9; 4:31; 12:27; 2 Chron. 20:18; 29:30; Neh. 8:6]
* Eyes lifted toward heaven - John 17:1ff (Jesus). [John 11:41; Matt. 14:19]
* Speaking in the heart, but no sound from the lips - 1 Sam. 1:12,13 (Hannah).
Other postures, due to special circumstances, include: on the cross (Luke 23:46,34); in the belly of a fish (Jonah 2:1); in stocks in prison (Acts 16:24,25).
The variety in these examples shows that the position is a matter of choice or expediency and does not, of itself, determine whether or not God hears us. We can pray anytime or place, yet certain positions may at times better suit our circumstances or reverence.
[Other information regarding posture & related points:
Prayer with fasting - Neh. 1:4; Dan. 9:3ff; Acts 9:9-11; 14:23; Luke 2:37; 5:33-35; 1 Cor. 7:5.
Hands lifted up - 1 Kings 8:54; Ezra 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:8; Isa. 1:15(?); Psalm 28:2. But note: Did Hannah lift her hands (1 Sam. 1:12,13)?
Hands laid on other people - Acts 6:6; 8:14-18; 13:3; Matt. 19:13-15]

I don't have to stop here. I can provide further evidence from the New Testament where God authorizes other specific practices of his Church but I think I've given fairly significant evidence here that the New Testament becomes extremely specific about the role, structure and responsibilities of the Church and of our worship practices therein.

In Conclusion, the sole reason I do not adhere to the practices provided for by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is simply because I have seen no convincing evidence that these practices are authorized by divinely inspired works of God. I have seen no evidence that the leadership of either Church speaks with the authority of God. What I do know is that both of these religious organizations directly contradict with the one work I know for a fact was God-breathed, the Bible. All I need is convincing evidence to the contrary, convincing evidence, even if it comes from outside of the Bible, that the Catholic Church can justify its practices as divinely inspired and I will be happy to adhere.

Now I would like to finish by questioning your motivations for being so adamant about this topic in the first place. I would contend that somewhere in your consciousness, you are aware of the fact that areas of your worship are not consistent with the Bible and, for that reason, you're trying to discredit the Bible so as to provide more justification for your denomination. Doing so weakens our religion as a whole.
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Postby Ashmoria » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:10 pm

st paul didnt need scripture to believe in jesus.
whatever

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Postby Galloism » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:01 pm

Ashmoria wrote:st paul didnt need scripture to believe in jesus.


Presuming paul and Jesus actually existed, Paul had plenty of scripture pointing to Jesus.

He also got miraculously blinded by him. That's hard to ignore.


Also, just because people were raised from the dead in the bible doesn't mean threads need reanimation.
Venicilian: wow. Jesus hung around with everyone. boys, girls, rich, poor(mostly), sick, healthy, etc. in fact, i bet he even went up to gay people and tried to heal them so they would be straight.
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