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i've been raised a christian. first catholic, then protestant.
The Bible refutes the “Bible alone” principle. Nowhere does it say in the Bible, that you should ONLY listen to the Bible! The Bible says that the “Word of the Lord” is “spoken” (Jer 25:3), not just written. St. Paul urged us to “hold to traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15). The Bible also tells of a Council’s authority, where Peter settled a doctrinal dispute and declared what “we believe” (Acts 15).The Bible teaches that not the Bible or the Protestant interpreters of the 16th century and of the present, but “the Church is the pillar and the bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). It also warns against “twisted” interpretations of Scriptures (2 Pt 3:16). While the Church has one teaching, there are now 43,000 evangelical groups with 2.3 added daily. Their views on the Trinity, on gays, etc. contradict each other. Since truth (e. g. Jesus is God) cannot be falsehood at the same time, real falsehoods are sadly being taught among these groups.
Catholics agree with Protestants that Scripture is a “standard of truth”—even the preeminent one—but not in a sense that rules out the binding authority of authentic apostolic Tradition and the Church. The Bible doesn’t teach that. Catholics agree that Scripture is materially sufficient. In other words, on this view, every true doctrine can be found in the Bible, if only implicitly and indirectly by deduction. But no biblical passage teaches that Scripture is the formal authority or rule of faith in isolation from the Church and Tradition. Sola scriptura can’t even be deduced from implicit passages.
The “Word of God” Refers to Oral Teaching Also. “Word” in Holy Scripture often refers to a proclaimed, oral teaching of prophets or apostles. What the prophets spoke was the word of God regardless of whether or not their utterances were recorded later as written Scripture. So for example, we read in Jeremiah:“For twenty-three years. . . the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again. . . ‘But you did not listen to me,’ declares the Lord. . . . Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: ‘Because you have not listened to my words. . . .’” (Jer. 25:3, 7-8 [NIV]).
This was the word of God even though some of it was not recorded in writing. It had equal authority as writing or proclamation-never-reduced-to-writing. This was true also of apostolic preaching. When the phrases “word of God” or “word of the Lord” appear in Acts and the epistles, they almost always refer to oral preaching, not to Scripture. For example:“When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13).If we compare this passage with another, written to the same church, Paul appears to regard oral teaching and the word of God as synonymous:“Keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6).
Jesus and Paul Accepted Non-Biblical Oral and Written Traditions. Protestants defending sola scriptura will claim that Jesus and Paul accepted the authority of the Old Testament. This is true, but they also appealed to other authority outside of written revelation. For example:a. The reference to “He shall be called a Nazarene” cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was “spoken by the prophets” (Matt. 2:23). Therefore, this prophecy, which is considered to be “God’s word,” was passed down orally rather than through Scripture.b. In Matthew 23:2–3, Jesus teaches that the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding authority based “on Moses’ seat,” but this phrase or idea cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament. It is found in the (originally oral) Mishnah, which teaches a sort of “teaching succession” from Moses on down.c. In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul refers to a rock that “followed” the Jews through the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement. But rabbinic tradition does.d. “As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses” (2 Tim. 3:8). These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (Ex. 7:8ff.) or anywhere else in the Old Testament.
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