Hi to my Forum Friends,
In the discussion I began titled "Throw It Against The Wall And See If It Sticks!" -- a Roman Catholic Friend keeps repeatedly posting, over and over, what he had already posted, claiming that the Bible teaches the Roman Catholic traditions of purgatory and prayer for the dead. Since he repeatedly posted the same post over and over, I suggested he is "Throwing it against the wall, hoping something will stick."
And, another Friend comes to his defense, telling me, "The biggest point that he made (again.....) is that the Bible tells us that there is much more than what is written - hold fast to tradition. Thus refuting sola scriptura. And anyway, you can't claim things are unbiblical when you fail to use the Bible in its entirety."
Of course, by "the Bible in its entirety" she is referring to the Apocrypha which are extra-biblical history books and not Biblical canon. Even Jerome, when Pope Leo commissioned him to translate Scripture into Latin for the Roman Catholic church, did not include the Apocrypha. Later, he was forced, by Pope Leo, to include those books in the Roman Catholic Bible. Why? Because most of the Roman Catholic traditions are found ONLY in the Apocrypha. Pope Leo had to have the Apocrypha in his Bible -- or else, virtually all of their established traditions would be null and void.
She was responding to the comment which my Roman Catholic Friend wrote to me, is his usual civil (?) manner, "You just wish they were unbiblical. But you know they aren't, and you're too stupid or ignorant to realize sola scriptura isn't biblical. If you have proof sola scriptura is biblical, show me."
First, let's address her question of "tradition." What does the Bible say about traditions, especially those created by man, to control or rule man, as was the way of the Pharisees?
In the Old Testament, God tells the Jews through Isaiah:
Isaiah 29:13 (nasb) "Then the Lord said, 'Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.' "
And, in the New Testament, Jesus had a lot to say about Pharisaical traditions:
Matthew 15:2-3 (nkjv), "'Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.' He (Jesus) answered and said to them, 'Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?' "
Matthew 15:6 (nkjv), "'Then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition."
Mark 7:8 (nkjv), "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do."
Mark 7:9 (nkjv), "He (Jesus) said to them, 'All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.' "
Mark 7:13 (nkjv), "Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."
Colossians 2:8 (nkjv), "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."
1 Peter 1:18 (nkjv), "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers."
The only Scripture passage which might even possibly come close to her way of thinking regarding "tradition" -- is when Paul is admonishing the church at Thessalonica to avoid those who are not walking by the example of the Christian life which Paul and his co-workers for Christ had taught them. This had absolutely nothing to do with false doctrines such as purgatory, praying for the dead, Mariology, apostolic succession, etc.:
2 Thessalonians 3:6-7 (nkjv), "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you."
Now, regarding the belief in Sola Scriptura, which means "by Scripture alone."
2 Timothy 3:16 (nasb), "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
Question: "What is Sola Scriptura?" http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html
Answer: The phrase sola scriptura is from the Latin: sola having the idea of “alone,” “ground,” “base,” and the word scriptura meaning “writings” -- referring to the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian.
The Bible is complete, authoritative, and true. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
For centuries the Roman Catholic Church had made its traditions superior in authority to the Bible. This resulted in many practices that were in fact contradictory to the Bible. Some examples are prayer to saints and/or Mary, the immaculate conception, transubstantiation, infant baptism, indulgences, and papal authority.
The primary (Roman) Catholic argument against sola scriptura is that the Bible does not explicitly teach sola scriptura. Catholics argue that the Bible nowhere states that it is the only authoritative guide for faith and practice. While this is true, they fail to recognize a crucially important issue. We know that the Bible is the Word of God.
The Bible declares itself to be God-breathed, inerrant, and authoritative. We also know that God does not change His mind or contradict Himself. So, while the Bible itself may not explicitly argue for sola scriptura, it most definitely does not allow for traditions that contradict its message. Sola Scriptura is not as much of an argument against tradition as it is an argument against unbiblical, extra-biblical and/or anti-biblical doctrines.
The only way to know for sure what God expects of us is to stay true to what we know He has revealed -- the Bible. We can know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that Scripture is true, authoritative, and reliable. The same cannot be said of tradition.
So, my Friends, as I have written a number of times, if you are happy in the Roman Catholic church; God bless you. But, when you come on the Religion Forum sharing nonBiblical traditions -- and claiming they are from the Bible, I will have to refute those statements. By the same token, if you feel that what I write is not Biblical, bring it to my attention and let's discuss the issue.
As a matter of fact, that is what we are doing in this discussion. You claim that Roman Catholic traditions have an equal, or often higher, authority than Scripture. And, I am showing you, from Scripture, from the words of Jesus Himself -- that is not true.
Use the Apocrypha, and other extra-Biblical books, as good history -- but, do not use them to build a theology to be followed and taught by any church. You tell me that we should, and must, use the entire Bible. I agree with you completely. But, let's assure that we are following the Bible, and not non-canonical history books (the Apocrypha) or commentaries.
Any theology not based upon the entire Bible -- is not a Biblical theology and should be discarded.
A good example of discarding an erroneous theology which is not Biblical could be seen when Herbert W. Armstrong, found and leader of the Worldwide Church of God, died in 1986. He was replaced as head of that church by Joseph W. Tkach. Shortly after that, Tkach changed that church's Statement of Beliefs, i.e., what it believes and teaches -- bringing the church into alignment with mainstream, Biblical teaching.
In other words, Tkach took the Worldwide Church of God out the realm of being a cult -- and changed it into a Bible-teaching church. In April 2009, the Worldwide Church of God changed its name in the United States to Grace Communion International. I would imagine that was to escape the cloud, or shadow, which is still cast by the name of Herbert W. Armstrong.
The move toward alignment with the mainstream Christian church, of course, resulted in a church split. Those who were died-in-the-wool Armstrong followers left and formed about six other churches which would continue to teach some forms of Armstrongisms.
But, you can see what happens when a church begins to place more authority in traditions (Armstrongisms is a good example) -- than in the Written Word of God, the Bible.
Yet, if you are happy in the Roman Catholic church, I am not trying to convert you nor change your mind. My sole purpose in these writings is to challenge and refute teachings, traditions, rituals, etc., which are claimed to be Biblical -- yet, are not.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,