Sunday, December 26, 2010

By what authority

By what authority can Protestants judge, since the R. Catholic church has historical apostolic succession and claims to be infallible?

The issue is upon what basis the authenticity of this church is established, and by what objective standard does it judge by.

If you choose to assuredly establish this church by Scripture, appealing to our human reasoning, then you are appealing to Scripture as the supreme objective authority, which is contrary to the premise of Rome, which teaches such assurance cannot be realized except by faith in the assuredly infallible magisterium, which claim disallows any debate we can provide that the claim of Rome fails Scriptural warrant.

If you choose history and an unbroken succession of popes, then you have popes who could never have remained even as church members, let alone be ordained and remain as popes, but you fall into the presumption of the Jews, who supposed historical pedigree established them.

However, as it is written, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham," and the authenticity of a true Jew and a true church is based upon Abrahamic type faith in the Biblical "gospel of the grace of God," (Acts 20:24b)

Which it does not teach that believers merit graces needed for the attainment of eternal life, (Catechism of the Catholic church, Part 3, Life in Christ, Merit, 2010) that they have truly merited eternal life by those very works which have been done in God. (Trent, Chapter XVI; The Sixth Session Decree on justification, 1547)

It is by Scriptural faith that the church exists and has its members, (1Cor. 12:13) and by this faith it overcomes, (1Jn. 5:5) and its claim to be a true church, like that of a true man of God, is not by self-proclamation, but as said before, by Scriptural qualities; holiness and doctrine that conforms to the only objective source which is affirmed to be assuredly infallible, with the supernatural attestation, primarily transformed lives, that shows it is the church of the living God, versus its institutionalized counterpart which teaches for doctrines the mere traditions of men.

It is therefore the Scriptures, which material source you appealed to, that authorize the church, and which enables it to judge righteousness judgment.

In seeking to convert Protestants, RC's argue that they since they are fallble, then they need an infallible authority on doctrine, but which argumentation effectively appeals to their fallible human reasoning (FHR) to convince them to believe in the Assuredly Infallible Magisterium (AIM) which is protected from the fallible nature of FHR when they speak according to their Infallibly Declared Formula (IDF) If they do say so themselves.

And yet apart from infallible teachings, like in evangelical churches (who actually show more unity in core values and doctrine) Catholics can disagree to varying degrees with non-infallible teachings, though who knows all of which ones are infallible.

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"By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?" (Mk. 11:28)

The Jewish hierarchy challenged Jesus authority and He responded by asking them where John the Baptist got his baptism from. This was a problem because unlike the Levites, prophets did not become so by physical lineage, though a son of one might become one, nor was it necessarily by formal succession, though one might be anointed by one. With John the Baptist neither seems to have been the case, but the call and message of a prophet required some evident attestation that they and it were of God. In fact presuming to speak to the name of the Lord was a capital offense it became evident to they did not. But the problem for the powers that be was that they reproved those who sat in Moses seat, and the latter sometimes killed the former in response (occupational hazard). In the case of the Baptist, the hierarchy feared the people who rightly regarded John as prophet, (Mk. 11:28-33) but King Herod (who actually reverenced John) later removed John's head as a consequence of him reproving Herod for his illicit marriage.

Jesus also referenced his own works as being a “greater witness than that of John” as well as the then-existing Scriptures, (Jn. 5:36,39) in substantiating His claims and teachings. And he likewise reproved the Jews for presuming that physical lineage validated their claim to be sons of Abraham, (Jn. 8:39,44) a presumption which Paul also corrected. (Rm. 2:28,29) While under the Old Testament the magisterial teaching office was perpetuated through the Levitical priesthood, which was based upon physical lineage as well as formal ordination, this did not render them assuredly infallible interpreters of the Scriptures, and presumption to teach doctrines which were contrary to Scripture was reproved by the Lord and using Scripture. (Mk. 7:6-13) And it is self-evident in the New Testament that the Law, the Psalms and writings of the prophets (Lk. 24:27,44) had come to be accepted as Scripture without an infallible magisterium, although certainly that teaching office was important to that process.

As concerns Roman Catholicism, the claim is made his that her historicity, in which she claims she uniquely is the same church as that of the first century onward (including the fourth century when the canon of Scripture was largely settled from), confers upon her a unique interpretive authority, and even being more so, an assuredly infallible magisterium. And which office in turn infallibly interprets both history Scripture to mean that she is that one true church.*

However, as pointed out before, if her historical argument was accepted as a basis for her authenticity, the logic behind this claim would require us to submit to the Jewish magisterium in interpretation of Scripture, as they alone are explicitly declared to to be the stewards of Scripture, a least those which then existed. But by whose interpretation there would be no New Testament.

But as the church exists by faith, and overcomes the gates of Hell by it, and faith comes by hearing their word of God, and the Scriptures are the only source which are assuredly wholly inspired of God, then for those who accept Scripture it should be held as the supreme judge of faith and morals. And as God could essentially raise up from stones children to Abraham, so he can raised up a church using stones like Peter, who profess the essential truth by which the faith journey begins.

Yet the church does not exist estranged from history, for faith without works is dead, and the testimony and teaching of extra-Biblical believers works to influence understanding of faith, and of the Object of it. However, if they have any valid testimony and teaching then it is a result of having believed the word of God, which again Scripture is, and which itself was essentially established as being such by its qualities and the attestation given it by God, including effects which result from believing it. But as influential as such men are, they were not assuredly infallible, and all must be subject to warrant and conformity with that which is written (we know which writings of Biblical men were inspired by their inclusion therein). That said, the more one's testimony is effectual like that of Scripture then the more power he will have with men, and with God.

Other issues related to this is the uncertainty as to how many of all the writings of Rome are infallible, its inability to fully understanding every truth found in the Deposit of Faith, and the degree of disagreement which Catholics and clergy are allowed to have and do have concerning those which are not, as well as the need to interpret both fallible and infallible teachings. Within Catholic scholarship there are two very diverse camps even as concerns interpretation of Scripture, while her laity evidence greater disagreement in basic moral issues in certain doctrines than her Evangelical counterparts.

How this relates to the doctrinal unity SS type evangelicals most universally have regards core essentials, and the unity of the Spirit as a result, and the degree they may disagree in secondary matters, is a further consideration, but this is long enough already.

It is true that Moses was infallible in writing the Pentateuch (i doubt most RC scholars believe that he did) as were the apostles in adding to the Scriptures.

But the authority of apostles who added new doctrines to that which was written was not based on the premise that they would be assuredly infallible whenever they defined faith and morals to the universal church, much less taught that the church would be because it declared it was. Rather, "by manifestation of truth" (2Cor. 4:2) they persuaded men, "reasoning out of the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2; 28:23) with a holiness, faith and teaching that conformed to and complemented that which was prior established as from God, (2Cor. 6:1-10; Acts 17:11) and which was accompanied by manifest supernatural attestation, (Rm. 15:18,9; 2Cor. 12:12) which is how it all began. God supernaturally worked in Abraham's life, and he and his holy faith became established as of God, and so forth.

The problem with Rome is that she essentially adds to the Scriptures by making her nebulous oral tradition equal to the Scriptures, and effectively presumes supremacy over them, while certain "infallible" teachings - including her claim to assured infallibility - lack Scriptural and Divine attestation. And she does not simply claim to be able to teach infallibly, but claims a formulaic assured infallibility, by which she renders her declaration of infallibility to be infallible, as well as her claim for Scriptural basis. Thus according to her interpretation only her interpretation can be correct in any conflict.

If the ground opened up and swallowed any who opposed her then that might allow such a claim, but this is not the case, and the implicit trust in her is not warrant, and any unity resulting from that is inferior in quality, if not quantity, to that is the result of Berean type hearts and its method or ascertaining truth.

It may be argued that this renders fallible human reasoning infallible, yet this is not was 2Pt. 1:20,21 censures as regards interpretation, and texts such as 1Jn. 5:13 sanction it in obtaining assurance, but it rests upon Scripture being assuredly infallible, which objective source is alone affirmed to be, while any degree of surety claimed by an advocate SS is contingent upon demonstrable Scriptural warrant, using principles of doctrinal exegesis it manifests.

Your is an old but invalid contention. It has prior been established here that not only did RCC not infallibly define all of what constituted sacred Scripture until over 1400 after the last book was penned, but that it was not exactly the same canon (2Esdras issue)

In addition, it is not councicular decrees that established the writings in the Bible as being Scriptures, as helpful as such decrees can be, but like a true man of God, it was and is due to its unique enduring qualities and the Divine attestation given it. The best a council can do is ratify the best seller list of those whose lives conform to what was established as from God, and His attestation. The God of Abraham was manifest prior to Moses speaking in His name, and as argued above, the Lord made it quite evident those who added doctrines were from Him. (Praying to the departed was not one of these teachings).

As a man and writings became progressively established as Divine they became the standard by which newer revelations, or those purporting to be such, were examined and substantiated by. (Is. 8:20; Mt. 22:29-45; Lk. 24:27,44; Jn. 5:39,42; Acts 17:2,11; 18:28; 28:23; Heb. 1, etc.) And by which Jesus reproved those who presumed to teach doctrines which were not. (Mk. 7:7-13)

While it was thru the church that the fullness of what constituted Scripture was realized, most writings therein were already established as such by Jesus time, without an infallible magisterium.

As for the Church, not the Scriptures, being the pinnacle and foundation of the truth, (1 Timothy 3:15) it is telling that sola eccelsia - that the church alone is the supreme authority on faith and morals, as it decides the extent of Divine revelation and its infallible meaning - is extrapolated out of a verse that simply says the church "[the] support (stulos) and hedraiōma (from hedraioō, stayed, ground, stable, settled, which only occurs here) [of] the truth."

This is hardly warrants the idea that the Roman Catholic church is the assuredly infallible source and judge of truth, rather than saying that the church, defined as only consisting of born again believers - and thus is manifested as the "church of the living God - supports the truth, and is of the truth, is grounded on it, or is the steward of it, all of which are Scriptural, but both the writers as well as the stewards of Holy Writ are to be subject to it, versus claiming a formulaic infallibility that renders all they proclaim as infallible, including its claim to be Scriptural, because it spoke on faith and morals to the whole church. When the church did so in the Bible, (Acts 15) we know that is was as it is contained therein, and which manifests that this teaching was wholly Scriptural. Rome itself may and has taught infallible truth, as does Protestantism, but it is the basis for an assured status that is the issue.

If you appeal to Scripture in seeking to establish sola ecclesia then that infers that the Scriptures are the superior authority. And what the Bible does not say is that all the church will teaches on faith and morals will be infallible; rather it teaches that the only objective source which is wholly inspired of God and thus is assuredly infallible, is the Scriptures. (2Tim 3:16)

The kingdom of God, or the authenticity of a church, is not in word, that of men declaring they are, but in power, in attributes and Divine attestation which conforms to that which as established as from God by the same.(1Cor. 4:20) Of which i come short, especially in heart. Insofar as our eye be single, setting our affection on things above, not on things on the heart, which can be lawful things but which edify not, which our whole bodies be full of light. (Mt. 6:22)

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