Why doesn’t Daddy go to church with us, Mommy?  by Marisa Sandora: re-blogged

Why doesn’t Daddy go to church with us, Mommy?

 Marisa Sandora |

 

How to answer this sensitive question in a way our children can understand while still respecting our spouses.

“But why doesn’t Daddy have to go?” my daughter Paige asked. This question was coming up almost every Sunday morning as I tried to hustle my kids out the door to Mass. They saw my husband leisurely relaxing on the couch and were jealous. “Why does he get to stay home?” Paige whined. Sigh. How to explain to them that Dad doesn’t practice our religion? That he doesn’t have any religion at all? I struggled to find the right way to put it. “Daddy wasn’t raised Catholic and didn’t grow up going to church like we do,” I said to my daughters, ages 7 and 10. “But will he go to hell?” my older one asked. Yikes. This was getting complicated.

When we began dating, I quickly realized that Rich wasn’t a religious person. He was baptized in the Protestant faith, but his family never went to church. He has a scientific way of approaching the world and is way more evolution than creation. My faith has always been very important to me, so when we got serious, I made sure that my future husband was okay with me raising our children in the Church. Rich assured me this would be fine, but that he wanted nothing to do with it for himself. Good enough, I thought. At least he isn’t against my religion.

Fast forward 15 years, three children, and a move to the suburbs: going to church by myself in New York City was one thing. Going to church with three children in a church full of families is another. I really dislike not having my husband by my side for what, to me, should be family time. I feel like my kids see all the other dads in church and deserve for theirs to be there, too. I’ve asked Rich if he would join us for church each week, and he adamantly refuses. “What’s one hour out of the week?” I’ve said to him. I feel like he should be willing to sacrifice that for me, for our children. But I’ve had no luck changing his mind, and I know I’m not alone in this struggle.

Before the 1960s, about 20 percent of married couples were in interfaith unions; but of couples married in this century’s first decade, it’s 45 percent, according to Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of ’Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America.

In 2010, Riley commissioned the polling firm YouGov to conduct a nationally representative survey of 2,450 Americans, adjusted to produce an oversampling of couples in interfaith marriages. It found that such unions were becoming more common, without regard to geography, income, or education level.

So how can those of us in this situation try to convince our non-practicing spouse to attend church services? “The same way we get our spouse to do anything,” says author and therapist Dr. Gregory Popcak. “We explain how important it is, we insist that we be taken seriously, and we refuse to let it go.” Popcak is the executive director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems. He’s written more than a dozen books integrating Catholic theology and counseling psychology, including Discovering God Together: The Catholic Guide to Raising Faithful Kids.

“Research on couples who experience faith differences shows that when there is conflict about church, it rarely has anything to do with religion,” he says. “It is all about respect. Respect involves more than being nice to each other. Ultimately, it involves trying to see the truth, goodness, and beauty in all the things the other person finds true, good, and beautiful. Couples who manage faith differences well usually don’t see eye-to-eye on religion, but they work hard to try and see what their partner finds good, true, and beautiful about their beliefs and religious practices.”

Modeling respect and generosity in every aspect of the relationship, not just religion, is the key, stresses Popcak.

Deacon Doug Kendzierski of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who’s been married for 27 years and has three grown daughters, echoes this advice, saying honest communication is key. “Suppressing priorities and feelings is not only dishonest, but ultimately harmful. At the same time, a good relationship is not about ‘convincing,’ it’s about explaining and understanding,” he says. “You should be honest about the importance of the family unit at church (i.e. public unity, example for your children, supporting you, togetherness, etc.). Be careful not to be judgmental, merely open and honest about the effect on you, and your concerns regarding the potential impact on the children and the family. Beyond that, prayer is the most effective approach; don’t discount the power of prayer.”

It certainly sounds like good advice, and I intend to try it — and to keep praying that my spouse has a change of heart.

But what about spouses who have their own strong beliefs and practice a different religion? The same principles apply, says Popcak. “You need to model open dialog about each other’s faith, showing that same respect I spoke of. Go out of your way to try to share in whatever faith activities you feel comfortable sharing in and dealing openly, honestly, and respectfully with differences.” And each parent should be responsible for communicating his or her own faith experience to the kids. “I say this because it is not unusual for the more faithful parent to try to expose the kids to both faiths to be ‘fair,’ even if the other parent is minimally religious,” says Popcak.

So what to tell my own children when they ask why Daddy doesn’t go with us to church? “Children need to understand, first and foremost, that this is not a reflection of Daddy’s love or commitment to them, to mommy, or the family. And that Daddy is an adult and God lets adults make choices about how they spend their time,” says Kendzierski. “Remind them of the attention and time Daddy does provide and encourage your children to have an open and honest relationship with Daddy, too, but not to ‘nag’ him about this. Most of all, remind your children to pray always for Daddy — and for you — because grown ups need to be reminded by God of what’s most important.

“Then use this conversation to segue into talking with the kids about whether and how they have experienced God’s love.”

If your kids struggle to articulate it, or seem awkward talking about it, the faithful parent should assume they have some work to do in facilitating a more meaningful relationship between their children and God, says Popcak.

I can’t wait to sit mine down and find out what they have to say. Hopefully bringing them to church all these years — even though it’s just us — has led them to develop their own special relationship with God. I know I appreciate having them there by my side in church. And I’m not going to give up on trying to get their dad to join us.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website ForYourMarriage.org:

“The non-Catholic spouse does not have to promise to have the children raised Catholic. The Catholic spouse must promise to do all that he or she can to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. END QUOTES

 

The British Library traces the history of the world’s oldest Latin Bible by J-P Mauro: re-blogged

The British Library traces the history of the world’s oldest Latin Bible

 J-P Mauro |

The Codex Amiatinus returns to England for an exhibition after 1300 years.

The oldest surviving complete Latin Bible is set to go on display at the British Library’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition (October 19, 2018–February 19, 2019). The Codex Amiatinus is making its first homecoming since it was transported from England and delivered to Rome as a gift for the pope 1,300 years ago.

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, FlorenceThe Codex Amiatinus

The history of this large tome can be traced thanks to two texts: The Life of Ceolfrith, by an anonymous author, and The History of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow, which was written by the Venerable Bede.

According to Bede, Ceolfrith was a “man who worked hard at everything.” As abbot of the monasteries Jarrow and Wearmouth, he doubled the size of their libraries. He also ordered the creation of three giant Bibles; one to be housed in each of the two monasteries and one to be gifted to the pope.

The British Library explains on their blog that both Bede and the anonymous author agree that Ceolfrith decided to make the pilgrimage himself, “because he was becoming too old to set a good example for his pupils.” They say he gave the monks 2 days notice before setting out, but this seems inaccurate, as the journey would have taken more preparation.

Using the two works about the old monk, they were able to make this video showing Ceolfrith’s part of the journey.

The video does not end in Rome, because Ceolfrith never made it to the end of his journey. The British Library describes the old monk’s final days:

Sometime between 4 June and 4 July, the Anonymous Life claims that Ceolfrith was in “Ælberht’s monastery, at a place called Horn Vale.” Scholars have suggested that this place was Kirkdale, in Yorkshire. Ceolfrith then boarded a boat for the Continent at the mouth of the River Humber on 4 July. It was not smooth sailing: the boat was apparently blown off course three times. Nevertheless, on 12 August Ceolfrith “reached the lands of Gaul” (Galliae terras), where he was received with honor by King Chilperic himself. The party then traveled over land: Bede claims Ceolfrith went part of the way on horseback and part of the way being carried on a litter, as he was becoming ill. Ceolfrith reached Langres around 9am on 25 September. He died there on 29 September 716.

The Codex’s journey did not end with Ceolfrith, however; a group of monks carried it to its destination, and delivered it to the pope. The Anonymous Life also preserves the pope’s thank-you letter to the monks of Wearmouth-Jarrow and mentions a fine gift he had received, which was probably Codex Amiatinus.

Centuries later, the codex was moved to the abbey of San Salvatore in Amiata, Tuscany. There, Peter the Lombard (fl. late 9th century) partially scratched out the inscription recording it as a gift from Ceolfrith to the pope and wrote his own name in place, gifting it to the monastery at Amiata. Scholars have been able to identify this book, however, thanks to a copy of its original dedicatory page having been preserved in the Anonymous Life.

The Codex Amiatinus will be on display at The British Library’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition from October 19, 2018–February 19, 2019. To book your tickets, visit their website here. END QUOTES

 

But why do Catholics treat Mary like a queen? by Edward Sri’s :re-blogged

 
Ever since the early Church, Christians also have honored Mary as Queen. In sacred art she often appears with a crown on her head. Prayers and hymns venerate her as enthroned in heaven, reigning with her Son. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is the queen in Christ’s kingdom.

 

But why do Catholics treat Mary like a queen?

This early Christian practice is actually rooted in Scripture—in the biblical tradition of the queen mother. In ancient Israel and other ancient Near Eastern kingdoms, it was not the king’s wife who reigned as queen, but the king’s mother. Most kings back then had many wives. King Solomon, for example, unfortunately had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The queenship couldn’t be given to one thousand women. But each king only had one mother, and the queenship was bestowed on her.

The office of the queen mother was not just some honorific, figurehead position. She had real royal authority. As a member of the royal court, the queen mother sat on a throne, wore a crown, and shared in the king’s authority to lead (see 2 Kings 24:12; Jer 13:18–20). Most of all, she also served as an advocate for the people. Citizens of the kingdom would bring their petitions to the queen mother, knowing that she would present them to her royal son.

We can see the queen mother’s intercessory role in the way the Bible contrasts the wife of the king and the king’s mother. In 1 Kings 1, for example, we read about a woman named Bathsheba who is the wife of King David. When she wants to visit her royal husband’s chamber, she has to bow down before him and pay him homage (see 1 Kings 1:16–17, 31).

But in the next chapter of the Bible, Bathsheba is treated very differently. King David has died, and now Bathsheba’s son, Solomon, is reigning as king. That makes Bathsheba the queen mother. As queen mother, when she enters the royal chamber to visit her kingly son, she doesn’t have to stand up and bow down before him. The opposite occurs. King Solomon stands up and bows down before her, honoring her as queen mother. He even orders a throne to be brought in for her to sit upon, and that throne is placed at his right hand, which in the Bible is the position of authority (see 1 Kings 2:19). Most interestingly, we see Bathsheba bringing the king a petition from one of the citizens of the kingdom. Solomon says to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you” (1 Kings 2:20)—demonstrating how the queen mother’s intercessory role normally worked.

This scriptural queen mother background sheds light on why Catholics honor Mary as queen and why they bring petitions to her. As the mother of the King, Jesus Christ, Mary would be seen from a biblical perspective as the queen mother. And as queen mother, she serves as an advocate for the people. That’s one reason why Catholics seek her intercession, trusting that she, like the queen mothers of old, will present our needs to her royal Son, Jesus.  END QUOTES

This article is based on Edward Sri’s book Love Unveiled: The Catholic Faith Explained (Ignatius Press)

Here is what early Christians believed about the Eucharist by Philip Kosloski : re-blogged

Here is what early Christians believed about the Eucharist

 Philip Kosloski 

Their beliefs were rooted in Jesus’ words and the traditions passed down to them from the Apostles.

After almost 2,000 years of Catholic teaching, the Church boldly proclaims in the Catechism, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it’” (CCC 1324).

It is a striking statement, one that shows how much the Church values the Eucharist in the present age. Yet, is this belief something new, introduced during the last few centuries? Or has it been part of the Church’s teachings since the very beginning?

As with all essential teachings of the Catholic Church, it is simply a reechoing of the Church’s beliefs throughout the centuries. This is clearly revealed when delving into the writings of the early Christians who lived in the first few centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection.

To help illustrate that point, here is a small selection of quotes from these Christians that detail their beliefs about the Holy Eucharist. After reading these, it becomes clear how the Church has passed on this teaching over the years virtually unchanged.

On the Lord’s own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations.” (Didache, c. 90)

For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. (St. Justin Martyr, c. 100)

They [Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead. (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110)

[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 140)

The Word is everything to a child: both Father and Mother, both Instructor and Nurse. “Eat My Flesh,” He says, “and drink My Blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients. He delivers over His Flesh, and pours out His Blood; and nothing is lacking for the growth of His children. O incredible mystery! (St. Clement of Alexandria, c. 150) END QUOTES

Here is what early Christians believed about the Eucharist by Philip Kosloski : re-blogged

Their beliefs were rooted in Jesus’ words and the traditions passed down to them from the Apostles.

After almost 2,000 years of Catholic teaching, the Church boldly proclaims in the Catechism, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it’” (CCC 1324).

It is a striking statement, one that shows how much the Church values the Eucharist in the present age. Yet, is this belief something new, introduced during the last few centuries? Or has it been part of the Church’s teachings since the very beginning?

As with all essential teachings of the Catholic Church, it is simply a reechoing of the Church’s beliefs throughout the centuries. This is clearly revealed when delving into the writings of the early Christians who lived in the first few centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection.

To help illustrate that point, here is a small selection of quotes from these Christians that detail their beliefs about the Holy Eucharist. After reading these, it becomes clear how the Church has passed on this teaching over the years virtually unchanged.

On the Lord’s own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations.” (Didache, c. 90)

For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. (St. Justin Martyr, c. 100)

They [Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead. (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110)

[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 140)

The Word is everything to a child: both Father and Mother, both Instructor and Nurse. “Eat My Flesh,” He says, “and drink My Blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients. He delivers over His Flesh, and pours out His Blood; and nothing is lacking for the growth of His children. O incredible mystery! (St. Clement of Alexandria, c. 150) END QUOTES

 

Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy): Corpus Christi-Eucharist, the Body of Christ, Reblogged

Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy)

Corpus Christi-Eucharist, the Body of Christ

This post is also available in:

Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper aka the Lord’s Supper, the institution of the Holy Eucharist — why did Jesus do what he did and say what he said? What did he mean when he said “This is my body and this is my blood” and “Do this in Memory of Me”?  And what does the Catholic Church mean by talking about transubstantiation and the body of Christ?  All this is remembered & celebrated on the feast of Corpus Christi.

On Holy Thursday, the night before he died, the Lord Jesus made some startling changes in the ritual of the Passover meal.  Instead of being content with the traditional Jewish table blessing over the bread, Jesus proclaimed “take and eat for this is my body.”  Over the third cup of wine, known as the cup of blessing, he said “take and drink for this is my blood.”  Then he commanded the disciples “do this in memory of me.”

CORPUS CHRISTI & THE EUCHARIST

Obedient to the wishes of the savior, we remember and reenact this solemn moment in a special way each Holy Thursday and Feast of Corpus Christi, but more frequently in every Mass.  Indeed the Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take?

If so, you shouldn’t be surprised.  When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, his words met with less than an enthusiastic reception.  “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (V 52).  “This is a hard saying who can listen to it?” (V60).  In fact so many of his disciples abandoned him over this that Jesus had to ask the twelve if they also planned to quit.  It is interesting that Jesus did not run after his disciples saying, “Don’t go – I was just speaking metaphorically!”

THE EARLY CHURCH’S UNDERSTANDING

How did the early Church interpret these challenging words of Jesus?

Here’s an interesting fact.  One charge the pagan Romans lodged against the Christians was cannibalism. Why?  You guessed it.  People heard that this sect regularly met to eat and drink human blood.  Did the early Christians say: “wait a minute, it’s only a symbol!”?  Not at all.

When trying to explain the Eucharist to the Roman Emperor around 155 AD, St. Justin did not mince his words: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him . . . is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”

REAL PRESENCE – TRANSUBSTANTIATION

Not many Christians questioned the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist till the middle ages.  In trying to explain how bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, several theologians went astray and needed to be corrected by Church authority.

Then St. Thomas Aquinas came along and offered an explanation that became classic.  In all change that we observe in this life, he teaches, appearances change, but deep down, the essence of a thing stays the same.  Example: if, in a fit of mid-life crisis, I traded my mini-van for a Ferrari, abandoned my wife and 5 kids to be beach bum, got tanned, bleached my hair blonde, spiked it, buffed up at the gym, and took a trip to the plastic surgeon, I’d look a lot different on the surface.  But for all my trouble, deep down I’d still substantially be the same ole guy as when I started.

St. Thomas said the Eucharist is the one instance of change we encounter in this world that is exactly the opposite.  The appearances of bread and wine stay the same, but the very essence or substance of these realities, which can’t be viewed by a microscope, is totally transformed.  What was once bread and wine are now Christ’s body and blood.   A handy word was coined to describe this unique change.  Transformation of the “sub-stance”, what “stands-under” the surface, came to be called “transubstantiation.”

TRANSFORMATION BY SPIRIT & WORD

What makes this happen?  The power of God’s Spirit and Word.  After praying for the Spirit to come (epiklesis), the priest, who stands in the place of Christ, repeats the words of the God-man: “This is my Body, This is my Blood.”   Sounds to me like Genesis 1: the mighty wind (read “Spirit”) whips over the surface of the water and God’s Word resounds. “Let there be light” and there was light.  It is no harder to believe in the Eucharist than to believe in Creation.

But why did Jesus arrange for this transformation of bread and wine?  Because he intended another kind of transformation.  The bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ which are, in turn, meant to transform us.  Ever hear the phrase: “you are what you eat?”  The Lord desires us to be transformed from a motley crew of imperfect individuals into the Body of Christ, come to full stature.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS

Evangelical Christians speak often of an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus.  But I ask you, how much more personal and intimate can you get?  We receive the Lord’s body into our physical body that we may become him whom we receive!

It is this astounding gift that we remember and celebrate on the feast of Corpus Christi and on the first day of the sacred Triduum, Holy Thursday.

This post focuses on transubstantiation, transformation and the institution of the eucharist as the body of Christ.  It is a reflection on the scriptures for both Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi.  These come from Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 116, I Cor 11:23-26 and John 13:1-15.  Also Deuteronomy 8:2-3 & 14b-16a; Ps. 147, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and the Bread of Life discourse as found in John 6:51-58. 

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

From a colorful and varied background as a professor of theology, a father of five, business owner, and professional performer Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) crafts talks, blog posts, books, and videos that are always fascinating, practical, and easy to understand.  He is a popular speaker, TV and radio personality, New York Times best-selling author, and pilgrimage host who has been leading people on a journey of discovery for over thirty years.  For a fuller bio and video, visit the Dr. Italy page. For a full Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Dr. Italy, click here.

 

Is Sola Scriptura Historical? Part IV Sola Scriptura and Heresy & Part five by Ken Hensley: reblogged

 

Is Sola Scriptura Historical?

Part IV Sola Scriptura and Heresy & Part five

Ken Hensley

This is Part IV of a four-part series by Ken Hensley.  Part I Part II Part III

It was hard for me to learn that the early Church did not teach, and did not practice, sola Scriptura. 

At this point, I was deep into reading the early Church Fathers, and it seemed at times as though, with every passage I read, the foundation of my world view as a Protestant shifted a little bit more. Newman had said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” I was experiencing this in real time. The ground beneath my feet was moving. I was being taken to some new place.

Specifically, I had assumed my entire Christian life that the earliest Christians were like us Evangelical Protestants who looked to the “Bible alone.” The realization that they were not like us, that they did not look to the Bible alone, but to Scripture understood in terms of a Tradition conceived as passed down from the Apostles and preserved in the Church … well, this was a revelation to me.

It was hard for this Baptist minister to assimilate these things.

And yet I found quotations like the following, from Origen, throughout the Fathers:

The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth, which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition (Origen, Fundamental Doctrines, c. AD 225).

And then I ran into St. Vincent of Lerins, and I learned something new. I learned that, while the early Church may not have practiced sola Scriptura, the heretics did. In fact, according to St. Vincent’s description, the heretics of his time appear to have been expert in using the Bible alone to prove their positions.

“It is written!”

In the early fifth century, St. Vincent of Lerins wrote his Commonitorium (c. AD 434). Its purpose was to offer general guidance to Christians on how one might distinguish good orthodox Catholic teaching from the teaching of heretics.

Apparently, heretical teachers existed in Vincent’s day, and since they could not appeal to what Vincent calls “the universal and ancient faith of the Catholic Church” to substantiate their views (after all, it was from this faith that they sought to win converts), they focused on making their case from the Bible alone.

Vincent describes how adept these heretics were at using Scripture to prove the truth of their heretical doctrines.

And if one should ask one of the heretics … “How do you prove? What ground have you for saying that I ought to cast away the universal and ancient faith of the Catholic Church?” He has the answer ready, “For it is written.” And forthwith he produces a thousand examples, a thousand authorities from the law, from the psalms, from the apostles, from the prophets, by means of which, interpreted on a new and wrong principle, the unhappy soul may be precipitated from the height of Catholic truth to the lowest abyss of heresy …. Do heretics appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance. For you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture … Whether among their own people or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavor to shelter under the words of Scripture … You will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old. (Chapters 25 and 26)

I must admit that I found St. Vincent’s descriptive language here kind of funny. I thought I was reading Dr. Seuss for a moment (“Whether among their own people or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings or in the streets”) and had to chuckle at the image of these heretics scampering through the Bible to find support for their false doctrines.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but think of those prophecy “experts” you see on TV, who can rattle off, from memory, passage after passage from Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and the Book of Revelation to support the most idiotic of beliefs.

I couldn’t deny that what Vincent said was true. Many years of experience teaching Scripture had convinced me that it is indeed possible to find “plausible quotations” from the Old and New Testaments to support virtually any and every doctrinal position that has ever been proposed.

Scripture and Tradition

So how to distinguish true teaching from false?

If the issue is not to be settled by who can bury whom under an “infinite heap of instances” from the Old and New Testaments plausibly interpreted, how is it to be settled?

Here’s the answer St. Vincent gives:

I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and, so to speak, universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity. I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they arise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

 

Anticipating that some would respond, “But isn’t the Bible enough?” Vincent continues,

But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation? For this reason: because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. For Novatian expounds it one way, Sabellius another, Donatus another, Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, another, Photinus, Apollinaris, Priscillian, another, Iovinian, Pelagius, Celestius, another, lastly, Nestorius another. Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various errors, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of Ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation.

In this passage, St. Vincent exposed the essential practical problem with the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura  a problem impossible to not see after 500 years of Protestant history, with Protestant churches having divided and split into hundreds and even thousands of separate denominations, sects, and independent movements.

Christians in Vincent’s time, standing firmly within Catholic tradition, could argue passages of Scripture. But heretics could argue passages of Scripture as well! And unless the Church Christ founded to be “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” wanted to simply fragment until there was a church for every sincerely held doctrinal viewpoint, there had to be some method for testing whose interpretation was right and whose was wrong.

Lessons

At this point, several things were becoming clear to me.

  1. It was clear that St. Vincent’s essential approach to the issue of how Scripture and Tradition are to relate to one another was the same as that of early Church Fathers in general.

I took a moment to read once again some of the passages I had already looked at and was attempting (unsuccessfully) to assimilate into my Evangelical Protestant worldview.

Tertullian had insisted on the importance of apostolic succession in weeding out false teaching. There was absolutely no concern for this in my form of Evangelical Christianity.

Moreover, if there be any (heresies) bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, so that they might seem to have been handed down by the Apostles because they were from the time of the Apostles, we can say to them: let them show the origins of their Churches, let them unroll the order of their bishops, running down in succession from the beginning, so that their first bishop shall have for author and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of the apostolic men who continued steadfast with the Apostles …. Then let all the heresies … offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic (Prescription Against Heresies 32, c. AD 200).

There were a number of other similar statements in the Fathers. But it was the words of St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons and the greatest biblical theologian of the second century, that best conveyed to me the mindset of the early Church on these matters — a mindset, again, so very different from what I had been trained to possess.

As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same …. When, therefore, we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek among others the truth, which is easily obtained from the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her most copiously everything which pertains to the truth; and everyone whoever wishes draws from her the drink of life (Against Heresies I:10:2 and 3:4:1, c. AD 189)

  1. It was clear to me that what the early Church Fathers were saying made basic common sense.

It seemed to me wholly reasonable that, whenever possible, one would want to look to the Faith of the early Church — which is what these early Church Fathers meant by “Tradition” — and take this as carrying considerable, at times even decisive, weight when attempting to settle doctrinal disagreements.

After all, many of the earliest churches were founded by the Apostles themselves: Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, and others. And since the Apostles spent far more time instructing these churches face to face in Christian doctrine than they did writing letters to them, what these churches believed is crucial.

As an illustration, St. Paul tells us that he spent three years in Ephesus preaching and teaching the believers “day and night with tears” (Acts 20:31). His letter to the Ephesians is only six pages in length. Would it not make sense to think that those who sat under Paul’s teaching those three years probably understood Paul’s doctrine better than someone reading those six pages five hundred or a thousand or two thousand years after the fact?

  1. It seemed clear to me — inescapable, really — that the mindset of the early Church Fathers on this matter of Scripture and Tradition matched the mindset of the Catholic Church and not the mindset I was trained to have as an Evangelical Protestant.

Here’s a quotation that really struck home with me.

Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And sacred Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God, which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.

This sounds like it might have been written by St. Irenaeus. But it wasn’t. This is from Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, from Vatican Council II. It was written by Roman Catholic theologians in the middle of the 20th century.

Conclusion

Reading the early Church Fathers for the first time, and in particular reading St. Vincent of Lerins, was something of a dart to the heart.

 I looked around and could see that the landscape of Protestantism was filled with Christian denominations and sects, each of them founded by someone who had at some point cast away “the universal and ancient faith of the Catholic Church.” And on what grounds? “It is written,” each of them would say.

 I saw churches and denominations led by men who will admit — even make it their supreme boast! — that they have never read the early Church Fathers, haven’t the merest clue as to what they believed and taught and couldn’t really care less. After all, they’ve got the Bible, and what more could be needed?

 And there they are in the pulpit, week after week, casting away the universal and ancient faith of the Catholic Church, and leading others to do the same, on the basis of what? “It is written.”

 At least this much was becoming very clear to me: John Henry Newman had been dead-on correct when he wrote in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, History is not a creed or a catechism, it gives lessons rather than rules; still no one can mistake its general teaching in this matter, whether he accept it or stumble at it. Bold outlines and broad masses of color rise out of the records of the past. They may be dim, they may be incomplete; but they are definite. And this one thing at least is certain; whatever history teaches, whatever it omits, whatever it exaggerates or extenuates, whatever it says and unsays, at least the Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth, it is this. END QUOTES

Ken Hensley

Ken is a well-known Catholic speaker and author on staff with CHN. To subscribe to his personal email list and browse his many recorded talks on Catholic apologetics, visit his website at kennethhensley.com

Why I’m Catholic: Sola Scriptura Isn’t Scriptural, Part V

 

Where exactly does the New Testament teach that the Bible is to function in the Christian’s life and in the life of the Church as the “sole infallible rule of faith and practice”?

Where does it say or imply that the teaching of Scripture is so clear that no authority on Earth would be needed to determine and preserve authentic Christian doctrine—you know, so that individual believers aren’t reading their Bibles and running off in all directions and starting independent churches and sects and denominations that contradict one another even on essential issues of the faith?

Where exactly does the New Testament teach sola scriptura?

My reasoning as a Protestant

When these questions were first put to me, it was a little disconcerting. Why? Because I recognized almost immediately that as an evangelical Bible Christian sola scriptura was something I had assumed.

It wasn’t something I’d established from a logical, inductive study of what the New Testament actually says about the issue of authority within the Church. No. It was simply what every Christian I knew believed. It was the atmosphere we breathed. It was a foundational presupposition of our worldview as evangelical Protestants. And like most presuppositions, it was more or less unexamined.

As a Christian who believed in the inspiration of Sacred Scripture, I’m not sure I ever felt it necessary to consciously articulate the exact reasoning behind my acceptance of sola scriptura.

But if I had been asked, “So why do you hold to sola scriptura?”, I probably would have responded along these lines: “Well, the New Testament teaches me that the Bible is inspired and authoritative. And I don’t see anything else that fits that description. Now, the apostles were authoritative interpreters of the Bible, and if they were still alive I could go to them for authoritative answers. In fact, they could settle all the disagreements over what the New Testament teaches that have resulted in the splintering of Christianity into the current mess of denominations, sects, and independent movements. But that’s the problem: the apostles are not here. So what option is there but to look to Scripture alone?”

In other words, I knew that apostles and prophets functioned as authoritative interpreters in both the Old and New Testaments. I could read Acts 15 and see how the leadership of the Church in the New Testament was able to meet in council and issue authoritative decisions that Christians were expected to accept.

I also understood that in order for Christianity to speak with one voice there would have to be some authority on Earth.

It was simply apparent that no matter how much sincere students of Scripture studied and prayed for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, doctrinal agreement wasn’t going to emerge. The clear example of 500 years of the practice of sola scripturawithin Protestantism had firmly dispelled that daydream.

However, the reality I had to accept as a Protestant was that there is no “authority on Earth.” There are no prophets and apostles, and the kind of Church we see functioning in Acts 15 no longer exists. And because of this (again), what option is therebut to hold to the authority of Scripture alone and hope that maybe the divisions within Christianity don’t really matter and that Jesus doesn’t really care all that much that we Christians present to the world a cacophony of contradictory doctrines, all supposedly coming from the same Bible?

Circular reasoning

Of course, most Protestants are not going to accept so easily the argument I’ve made over the course of parts onetwothree, and four: that sola scriptura is not taught in the New Testament.

Take for example Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Difference byNorman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzieThese Protestant scholars bring forward a number of what seem to them to be solid biblical arguments for sola scriptura.

  1. They note that Scripture is revelation from God.
  2. They point out that Jesus quoted Scripture as authoritative and that the apostles did the same.
  3. They reference where Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees “You err, not knowing the Scriptures . . .” (Matt. 22:29).
  4. They note Scripture is explicitly described as “inspired” by God (2 Tim. 3:16), that holy men wrote as they were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).
  5. They mention Revelation 22:18 where readers are explicitly warned against adding “to what is written here.”

All of this is taken as clear evidence that the New Testament teaches that “the Bible, nothing more, nothing less—and nothing else—is all that is needed for faith and practice.”

But notice what’s happening here: while these points certainly argue for the inspiration and authority of Scripture and against tampering with Scripture, they argue that the Bible is “all that is needed for faith and practice” only once one has assumed that the kind of authoritative Church we see functioning in the New Testament—a Church with the Spirit-given ability to interpret Scripture and to decide disputes among believers—no longer exists.

You see, once this is assumed, then, obviously, any passage in the New Testament that speaks of the inspiration or authority of Scripture is going to seem like evidence for SOLA scriptura.

The only problem is: what is being assumed here—that the Church of Acts 15 ceased to exist with the death of the apostles—is precisely what is at dispute between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Geisler and MacKenzie are effectively arguing in a circle.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

If there is any passage in the New Testament that teaches sola scriptura, it would have to be 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This is where St. Paul says to his successor Timothy:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect [or complete], thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Here’s how the argument goes:

Paul tells Timothy that Scripture can make him “perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” But if the Bible is sufficient to accomplish this, then clearly nothing else is needed. Sola scriptura!

I think what we have here is a classic non sequitur. I don’t believe the conclusion follows from the premise. Let me use an illustration to explain what I mean by this.

My son plays the piano. Imagine I say to him:

“Son of mine, you need to practice scales because the practice of scales is profitable for building finger independence as well as flexibility and strength in your wrists, hands, and fingers; for developing speed; for learning the notes that are found in the various musical keys; and all in order that you may be complete, thoroughly equipped to perform any piece of music that comes along.”

Would anyone listening think I was intending to say that the only thing my son needs to become a complete pianist, thoroughly equipped to play anything, is to practice scales? Would anyone think I intended to say that the practice of scales is sufficient for accomplishing the goal of making him perfect? That he doesn’t need to practice arpeggios, for instance? That he doesn’t need to learn chords or know anything about musical theory or harmony? That all he needs is to practice scales? Anyone?

When we speak of something as being “profitable” for the accomplishment of a particular task, as Paul does in 2 Timothy (“in order that you may be complete, lacking in nothing”), we don’t normally mean to imply that there aren’t other things that would also be “profitable” for accomplishing the same task.

There’s a parallel passage in the Epistle of James that I think clarifies the point and shows that the Protestant apologist is simply wanting to squeeze more out of 2 Timothy 3:16,17 than was intended by Paul.

In James 1:2-4, we read:

Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [or patience]. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Now, the Greek words James uses here, and that are translated “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” are not exactly the same as Paul uses in 2 Timothy 3:16,17. But I think you can see that the structure of thought is exactly the same.

And so, again the question: Does anyone reading James 1:2-4 think James intends to teach that in order to be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” all a Christian needs is patience? Is James telling his readers that they, for instance, don’t need Scripture to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing? That they don’t need prayer, or the work of the Spirit within them, or the grace of the sacraments, or anything else? Just patience?

Obviously, what James intends in this passage is to emphasize how important it is to our spiritual growth that we exercise steadfastness in the face of trials. He’s not intending to teach us that patience is all one needs to be perfected in the Christian life.

And neither is Paul intending to teach Timothy that all he needsto be perfected is Scripture.

Conclusion

As a Protestant, I believed that with respect to Christian doctrine one should only accept as true what could be shown to be clearly taught in the pages of Scripture.

So what was I to make of sola scriptura itself?

This was the foundation of my worldview as a Protestant and yet I had to admit that I didn’t see the New Testament as teaching it—much less as “clearly” teaching it. But if this was the case, did not the notion of sola scriptura refute itself?

Over time I was coming to believe that sola scriptura was not scriptural; that it was simply the position a Christian comes to when he or she thinks there no longer exists the authoritative Church we can see Jesus establishing in the New Testament and that we can clearly see operating in the New Testament.

But this was only the beginning of troubles for my worldview as an Evangelical. I soon began to see that not only was sola scriptura unscriptural, it wasn’t historical either. It simply had not been the faith and practice of the Church in the early centuries of its existence.    END QUOTES

 

 

 

Is Sola Scriptura Historical: Part III: Scripture and Tradition in the Early Church. by Ken Hensley: re-blogged 

Is Sola Scriptura Historical: Part III: Scripture and Tradition in the Early Church

 Ken Hensley 

This is Part III of an ongoing series by Ken Hensley.  Part I Part II

In this part of our series on sola Scriptura, we’re looking at the question of history. Previously, I presented three observations that made it increasingly hard for me, still a Protestant, to believe that Christians living in the decades and centuries immediately following the death of the Apostles were thinking in terms of sola Scriptura.

  1. I could find no hint in the writings of the Apostles that Christians living in the post-apostolic period should be thinking in terms of sola Scriptura. It seemed strange to me that something so foundational would not be mentioned anywhere.
  2. The fact that the Church took several centuries to formally define the canon of Scripture argued against the notion that Christians, during those centuries, were looking to the Bible as their sole infallible rule for all doctrine and morals.
  3. The fact that the earliest Christian creeds, while containing statements of belief in the Holy Spirit and in the “Holy Catholic Church,” say nothing at all about Scripture, seemed to me to give evidence of a more Catholic conception of how the apostolic teaching would be preserved within the Church.

If sola Scriptura was to be the rule of faith and practice for the early Church, why did the Apostles, who while they were living provided a living authority, not talk about this? Why did they do nothing to prepare their people for such a fundamental shift?

Why would the bishops of the early Church allow decades and centuries to pass before nailing down exactly which books were to be considered inspired and included in the Christian’s Bible?

Why would the foundational role of Scripture not be mentioned in the early creeds of the Church?

None of this made sense to me.

Understand, I didn’t consider these three observations as unassailable “proofs” that the early Church was not Protestant. I did, however, consider them as “evidences” of a mindset within early Christianity that simply did not fit the mindset I had been trained to have as an evangelical Protestant.

But what about the actual practice of Christians living in those earliest centuries following the Apostles? Did the early Church Fathers teach and practice sola Scriptura? What do they say about these issues of Scripture and Tradition?

Sacred Scripture

Of course, Protestant apologists insist that the early Church was committed to sola Scriptura. To demonstrate this they quote passages from the writings of the early Fathers that speak of the authority of Scripture and how all true Christian teaching must conform to Scripture and be supported by Scripture.

Probably the most often quoted is the following passage from the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, written c. ad 250.

For concerning the divine and Holy mysteries of the faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things, which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation, which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.

Now, if this were the only thing the early Church Fathers had to say about the issue, I would agree that it seemed to imply that Scripture should function as the Church’s sole infallible rule.

But it’s not. We also find passages like the following from Origen in the preface to his Fundamental Doctrines (c. ad 225).

The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth, which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition.

While the statement of Cyril sounds like something a Protestant might say, the statement of Origen sounds like something a Protestant would never say. How would one reconcile the two?

As a Protestant, I would have said that that Origen is placing too much authority in the hands of the Church, and that, ultimately, “ecclesiastical tradition” has little authority. What matters is what the Bible says!

But the Catholic theologians I was reading harmonized the two statements. First, they emphasized that Catholics agree with Protestants that only Scripture is divinely inspired, that it must hold the place of primacy in the Church’s structure of authority, that nothing can be taught as divinely revealed that contradicts Scripture or that cannot be supported by Scripture.

But isn’t this essentially a statement of belief in sola Scriptura?

It would be, except that they went on to make a second point: While Scripture is authoritative and, alone, divinely inspired, it has to be interpreted. Someone has to assemble all the various passages dealing with whatever issue is being considered, interpret them within their literary and historical contexts, make sense of how they all fit together and draw conclusions as to what exactly is being taught.

As helpful as it might be, the Bible doesn’t just leap up and announce to us: “Here is the correct doctrine of Christ, and of the Church, and of Salvation, and of the Sacraments!” If it did, there would not be so many Protestant Christian sects and denominations. Rather, the inspired Scriptures have to be interpreted.

And because of this, while we find the Church Fathers speaking eloquently of the inspiration and authority and, as in the quotation from Cyril, even what Catholics refer to as the primacy of Sacred Scripture, we also find them speaking of the authority of Tradition as the lens through which Scripture must be read and properly interpreted.

Sacred Tradition

For instance, here’s St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons and the greatest biblical theologian of the second century, writing around ad189:

When, therefore, we have such proofs, it

is not necessary to seek among others the truth, which is easily obtained from the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her most copiously everything which pertains to the truth; and everyone whoever wishes draws from her the drink of life .… What, then? If there should be a dispute over some kind of question, ought we not to have recourse to the most ancient Churches in which the Apostles were familiar, and draw from them what is clear and certain in regard to that question? What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the Churches? (Against Heresies 3:4:1)

When I first read the Fathers and began to run into these sorts of passages, I recognized immediately that I was being exposed to a mindset that was very different from what I knew as an Evangelical Protestant. At minimum, this was obvious.

I was a Protestant pastor, and I knew that if I had preached

a million sermons over the course of a million Sundays, I would never have thought to speak as St. Irenaeus here speaks.

I would never have thought to describe the truth as something the Apostles deposited in the Church like a rich man deposits his money in a bank. I would have said they deposited the truth in the writings of the New Testament. Period.

I would never have said that “everything which pertains to the truth” could be found in the Church and drawn from the Church.

I would never, ever have implied that even if the Apostles had left us no writings, Christians could know the truth in “the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom [the Apostles] entrusted the churches.” No way on earth!

Least of all would my congregation ever have heard this preacher utter words such as these: “If there should be a dispute over some kind of question, ought we not to have recourse to the most ancient Churches in which the Apostles were familiar, and draw from them what is clear and certain in regard to that question?”

And yet, this is what Irenaeus said. In fact, I discovered fairly quickly that this is the sort of thing all the Church Fathers said.

Their words began to haunt me.

The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and es even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth, which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition (Origen).

Moreover, if there be any (heresies) bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, so that they might seem to have been handed down by the Apostles because they were from the time of the Apostles, we can say to them: let them show the origins of their Churches, let them unroll the order of their bishops, running down in succession from the beginning, so that their first bishop shall have for author and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of the apostolic men who continued steadfast with the Apostles…. Then let all the heresies … offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic (Tertullian, Prescription Against Heresies 32, c. ad 200).

As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the Tradition is one and the same (Irenaeus, Against Heresies I:10:2).

There was no way for me to escape this reality: the early Church Fathers did not speak about Tradition and its relationship to Scripture in ways even close to how Protestants speak of these things. Their way of thinking and speaking revealed a mindset very different from the mindset I had been steeped in for twenty years as an Evangelical, the mindset of every Evangelical I had ever known.

At the same time, I had to admit that the mindset of the Fathers was like the mindset of the Catholic documents I was reading. Reading the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from Vatican II, I could see that the Catholic Church spoke like the Fathers spoke.

Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God, which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.

Conclusion

I had come to believe that the New Testament simply didn’t teach sola Scriptura. Now I was coming to believe that sola Scriptura had not been the faith of the early Church.

More and more, it appeared that John Henry Newman had been right when he said: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

But there was more to come.

Coming soon: Is Sola Scriptura Historical? Part IV

Ken Hensley

Ken is a well-known Catholic speaker and author on staff with CHN. To subscribe to his personal email list and browse his many recorded talks on Catholic apologetics, visit his website at kennethhensley.com