Monday, February 13, 2017

A Biblical Case For Sola Scriptura

        Sola Scriptura is the doctrine which states that the Bible alone is the only infallible rule of faith or spiritual standard for the church. It functions as the ultimate standard of authority in spiritual matters. It does not mean that the Bible provides us with an exhaustive description of every topic. Rather, it gives us everything that we need to know regarding salvation and godliness. Every necessary thing that we need to know about the faith is found in the Scriptures.

        There are other legitimate, but lesser, "rules of faith" for us to make use of. These would include creeds, catechisms, concordances, lexicons, commentaries, and the wisdom of godly leaders in the church. However, only Scripture is infallible. Such things, while useful, are therefore to be kept in check by that written standard of divine revelation.

        "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar." (Proverbs 30:5-6)

        The admonition against adding to God’s words suggests that what He has provided in the Scriptures is complete and sufficient. This aligns with the Sola Scriptura principle that no other writings, traditions, or revelations are needed beyond the Bible for knowing about salvation and a life of godliness.

        "Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed." (Luke 1:1-4)

        Scripture is said to bring us certainty of the Lord's actions and teachings. In the midst of competing oral traditions and uninspired writings, we turn to Scripture as the only safe guide for spiritual truth.

        "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to lead one to eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ. If the Gospel of John by itself is sufficient to bring about conversion of heart, then it stands to reason that the same is true of the three other gospel narratives. If the Gospel of John is sufficient to bring about our salvation, then how much more sufficient must the Bible in its entirety be as a rule of faith? This form of argumentation is known as minore ad maius, meaning from the lesser to the greater.

        "and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to be regarded as containing the instructions to salvation. Though a reference to the Old Testament, this is a property of Scripture as a whole. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that, "...the word of God pierces to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

        "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to give one assurance of salvation.

        "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 14:37)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to contain the commandments of the Lord.

        "These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to establish boundaries of proper conduct in the church. It is our guide now that the apostles have been deceased.

        "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to be a means of protection against sin.

        "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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to be a guide to a life of godliness. It identifies wrong behavior as well as corrects it. For example, Scripture condemns thievery and prescribes work as the solution to that way of living (Ephesians 4:28). 2 Peter 1:3 compliments this text well, "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue."

        "And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:4)

        Scripture alone is sufficient to bring joy that is complete. It points us to fellowship with God the Father and the Son.

        "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

        Paul believed Scripture to be a sufficient source of hope and encouragement for the people of God. His words are reminiscent of what he said elsewhere about Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16. They give us the assurance that, "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

        "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior." (2 Peter 3:1-2)

        Scripture is how we are reminded of apostolic oral traditions. The implication of this would seem to be that it has replaced them. Scripture therefore stands alone as our rule of faith.

11 comments:

The Men of Usury said...

Hello Jesse,
You intentional use the same form for most of the article, but you also make the same mistake. You take the scripture verse that says a form such as "this was written ... so that this may be accomplished." But you jump to a conclusion that is not said in the verse. You then make the jump because the scripture accomplishes so and so, it is the only way to accomplish so and so.
Take example "And these things we write to you that your joy may be full" (1 John 1:4). They were written so that the joy may be full, then you say only the things written can make the joy full. That's not what the verse says.
Or "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin" (1 John 2:1). John says that he writes these things so that the reader won't sin. He doesn't say that what he writes is the only protection against sin. You make that jump that he doesn't make.
But you openly ignore this line of thought, when you extend the courtesy of one writer to the whole of scripture. Following your reason on many of these verses, you wouldn't say that scripture is alone is sufficient to bring joy, or protection against sin, or any of the other virtues you mention, but rather what the individual writer is referring to. So for my two examples above, only the letter of 1 John is enough to give joy and protection against sin.
When Paul writes "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope," he isn't saying the scripture as Christians know it, only the Old Testament.
You do attempt to solve this by your appeal to the argument of the lesser to the greater, part to the whole. The problem with this is that in the historical context it wouldn't apply. You only get to say this because of the results you have in your hand from countless Church councils.
In regards to what John writes "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." You say that if the Gospel of John is sufficient to bring about belief, wouldn't all the Gospels together be all the greater. Why this exception to the line of reasoning you use through the rest of the article? Why is the Gospel of John not the only source of sufficiency?
Rather simply, you live off the merits of something you don't wish to say. The necessity of the church to scripture. Why does not the Gospel of Thomas or Mary also add to the tools of belief in the way you give to the other four Gospels? Why do you even accept the four gospels as canon? Seriously asking. Let us not separate history from Christianity and the Bible. Christianity and Christians are nothing without the Church of Christ, the Bride of Christ. You have cut the flower from the roots and are still enjoying the flower before it wilts, as we see it wilting with other Christian denominations.
I also once again challenge you to why your interpretation of all these passages is better than mine. I have shown you the flaws in your reasoning. You jump to a conclusion that isn't written. But regardless, why would your conclusion be better than mine? Why are your conclusions about Scripture and what it teaches more true than many of the Christian branches that have fallen to liberalism, modernism, and moral decline? Without an understanding of Tradition and even more so, the authority of the Church, the individual conscience rains supreme, and the individual conscience is doomed to error. It began with the appeal to conscience of Luther at Worms. The end result of individual conscience and reasoning is the deconstructionism and power dynamics of Foucalt and Rorty, the existentialism of Nietzsche and Camus.
Respectfully,
Sean

Jesse Albrecht said...

Sean,

"But you jump to a conclusion that is not said in the verse."

You are jumping to the conclusion that I have jumped to a conclusion. That is self-contradictory.

"You then make the jump because the scripture accomplishes so and so, it is the only way to accomplish so and so."

If, for example, Scripture says that it has the ability to lead one to salvation through faith in Christ, then the implication would be that it alone is sufficient for such a purpose. Otherwise, why would such a statement be made?

"They were written so that the joy may be full, then you say only the things written can make the joy full. That's not what the verse says."

Provide an additional infallible standard of authority that can do the same thing as Scripture itself can. John did not say, "I write these things to you and refer you to Pope Peter that your joy may be full." Rather, he wrote to the church Scripture to give members an abiding sense of well-being and contentment.

"He doesn't say that what he writes is the only protection against sin. You make that jump that he doesn't make."

You are playing word games with the text of Scripture in an effort to bypass the clear testimony of what it says regarding itself.

"Following your reason on many of these verses, you wouldn't say that scripture is alone is sufficient to bring joy, or protection against sin, or any of the other virtues you mention, but rather what the individual writer is referring to."

I actually would affirm such to be the case for the entirety of Scripture. It is filled to the brim with words of comfort, encouragement, and moral lessons.

"The problem with this is that in the historical context it wouldn't apply."

Your approach is one that disregards both historical context and exegetical considerations.

"You only get to say this because of the results you have in your hand from countless Church councils."

I can say what I have said based on an analysis of the written text itself, not some pronouncements uttered by medieval bishops. It seems that you are confusing issues:

https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/02/did-catholic-church-give-us-bible.html

Jesse Albrecht said...

"Why this exception to the line of reasoning you use through the rest of the article? Why is the Gospel of John not the only source of sufficiency?"

Each gospel provides a unique perspective on the life and teachings of Jesus. The synoptic gospels too record signs of Christ which can convert people.

"Rather simply, you live off the merits of something you don't wish to say."

Well, I would hate to deprive you of the joy of discovering it yourself!

"Why does not the Gospel of Thomas or Mary also add to the tools of belief in the way you give to the other four Gospels?"

Those were Gnostic gospels that were written long after the apostles were deceased.

"Why do you even accept the four gospels as canon? Seriously asking."

They were uninimously received as canonical by the earliest Christians. Their authorship has never been questioned until recently. The four canonical gospels give a faithful and accurate account of Christ's life.

"You have cut the flower from the roots and are still enjoying the flower before it wilts, as we see it wilting with other Christian denominations."

Rome itself is wilting at a rapid pace, thanks to your progressive Pope Francis. Futher, mainstream Roman Catholic biblical scholarship has long since abandoned inerrancy and the traditional authorship of various Old and New Testament books.

"Why are your conclusions about Scripture and what it teaches more true than many of the Christian branches that have fallen to liberalism, modernism, and moral decline?"

Those groups do not even accept the Bible as divine revelation from God. They have rejected the sufficiency of Scripture as a rule of faith and so find themselves in decline.

"Without an understanding of Tradition and even more so, the authority of the Church, the individual conscience rains supreme, and the individual conscience is doomed to error."

That sounds really cultic! That describes EXACTLY how groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses think!

"It began with the appeal to conscience of Luther at Worms. The end result of individual conscience and reasoning is the deconstructionism and power dynamics of Foucalt and Rorty, the existentialism of Nietzsche and Camus."

You are mishmashing historical contexts and imagining exaggerated similarities that in all probability have nothing to do with each other. Moreover, it is Scripture, not the conscience, that is to reign supreme in the life of a Christian. Lastly, your assertions are self-refuting, since you are not an infallible entity and I cannot infallibly interpret what you are saying to me.

The Men of Usury said...

Jesse,

I read what you read and I saw you made a claim that went beyond what the test actually said, so therefore you jumped to a conclusion. If you want to say I made a jump to a conclusion about you jumping to conclusions you can but that response comes off as slightly immature, or it chalks up all reasoning to “jumping to conclusions.”

Perhaps we are speaking past eachother when it comes to the use of “alone” such as “then the implication would be that it alone is sufficient” that you say. I am saying that it is not said or really implied that the text (or scripture in general) is the only source for all the different good things that were previously mentioned (joy, virtue, faith etc). Perhaps I confused you and you were just saying that “alone”, meaning “by itself” it can provide these things. I wouldn’t disagree with this statement, but at the same time I wouldn’t say it’s the only source of these things and neither does the verses say that either. I am not sure how you think I am playing word games. If I read the same text and do not come to the conclusion you do and explain my line of reasoning, is this word games to by pass the “clear” testimony. It clearly is not clear if so many people disagree with your analysis, including me. I also found my line of reasoning pretty clear, so why didn’t you agree?

As to other infallible sources, your reply about Paul mentioning Peter doesn’t really work as I don’t take the scripture as the only infallible authority to begin with so I don’t need scripture to provide one. It would be hard for scripture to provide one for the first 300 years anyway since it wasn’t even agreed on. But you take your interpretation of scripture as the only source of authority so of course if your interpretation doesn’t find any you won’t believe it, even if mine interpretation makes room for other infallible authorities.

You say “I actually would affirm such to be the case for the entirety of Scripture. It is filled to the brim with words of comfort, encouragement, and moral lessons.” I agree but you are defeating my point. You take an example of scripture that is not talking about the whole of scripture because the writer didn’t have the whole of scripture or was just talking about what he was writing (“I write these things…) and then you take the liberty to apply this to the rest of scripture, although it would seem we should actually conclude that only each mentioned text, respectively, was alone sufficient to provide for X good things it mentioned. Yes, the scripture has a lot of words of encouragement, but with each example we are only talking about what the author is talking about, perhaps it is himself like John or perhaps it is the Old Testament. It is never the whole of scripture.


The Men of Usury said...

Just stating that I disregard historical context and exegetical considerations is not really an argument.

Your response “I can say what I have said based on an analysis of the written text itself, not some pronouncements uttered by medieval bishops,” doesn’t quite apply. I see you dropped an article for about if the Catholic Church give us the Bible. Whatever it says it is historical fact that there was disagreement over all the specifics of scripture until around 350 for the majority of the church and actually stil is today. That is what I am referring today. You only get to make these referrals to a wider scripture because of countless church councils, and I would say you’re still wrong about the Bible you refer to because you are missing multiple books.

My question about why not only the gospel of John still stands. Yes these gospels give different perspectives but so does the Gospel of Thomas. If that is too late of a text for you, the apochryphal gospel of Mark or the Gospel of the Hebrews is about as early as John. But still why not throw out Mark since most of its details are said in other gospels? You may cast away a bunch of other texts like the gospel of Thomas or Mary, but there are many others that my question still stands. Why not them? As I said before you live off the merits of something you don’t wish to admit. You live off historical hindset, and get to ignore the role of the Church in scripture. My question about why you accept the four gospels is not only about the four gospels but all apochrypha. Why not them? At times there was major consensus around different texts. Also if we discovered one of the missing letters of Paul and it seemed to be completely legit would you accept it? I think if you want to throw away the role of the church you should go through each of the widely read apochrypha and decide for yourself if it is apochryphal, but try to imagine you don’t live in the 21st century, but in the second century. The Shepherd of Hermas seems pretty legit and canonical to me.

My claim about the cut flower still stands. The Church may have a bad pope right now but he hasn’t changed doctrine although he has sown confusion. The churches that do not have central authority or understanding of themselves are doomed to wilt, for they have no roots but whoever is most persuasive at the time or where ever the zeitgeist pushes them.

My question still stands as to those fallen Christian churches, or even the ones that aren’t fallen yet you may disagree with. Why are you more right. You may say they don’t understand or they “clearly” go against the Bible. Yet here I am saying you go against the Bible.

You may also say my comments about individual conscience and authority sound cultic, but I don’t think so. This is how most religions think and it is true. The individual conscience is doomed to error. I don’t care if Jehovah’s Witnesses think like that. Apparently they got something right.

And as for my historical mishmash, having studied history rather deeply, there is a fairly easily traceable line from the Protestant reformation/renaissance to the enlightenment to romanticism to realism to Dadaism/surrealism to existentialism and ultimately to deconstructionism. After studying these things it can be more clearly seen how to upholding of the individual ultimately leads to alienation and ruin.

You say that Scripture is the ultimate authority not the conscience. When I say conscience I am also meaning individual reason to. When you tell me what scripture is, you are actually telling me what you think it is.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

What I see here is that "The Men of Usury" has been totally indoctrinated into his ideology and is unteachable. I wouldn't waste any more time on him.

Justin Horn said...

The Pope has indeed changed doctrine when he said that people are fundamentally good. See Romans 3. There is none that doeth good, no not one. all our righteousness is as filthy rags. The only thing good in us is Jesus Christ, if we are saved.

Russell said...

Jesse,

I suggest that you ignore this “Men of Usury” and his sophistry. He is offering nothing of substance (though, I’m sure he really thinks he is).

His is the same old arguments that Catholics have ab(used) for centuries. He simply cannot fathom that the canon of Scripture could possibly ever be discovered by anything other than an infallible magisterium. He also cannot fathom that Scripture could possibly be the only infallible rule of faith today, no matter how plain that concept is in the many verses where Scripture describes itself.

To him, the idea that one must allow the WHOLE of Scripture to speak also seems to be an unthinkable concept.

If being able to “infallibly” interpret the Bible is so important, then why doesn’t he convince his beloved Church to infallibly interpret EVERY Scripture verse? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? But I know that they will never do that. They are mostly concerned with “infallibly” interpreting the uniquely “Catholic” Bible verses, e.g., those that pertain to Mary, Purgatory, the Treasury of Merit, Peter being “the rock,” etc.

“Men of Usury,” I suggest that you actually read Jesse’s link that he sent you and not just pontificate on how an “infallible” magisterium was forced to come in to save the day for us ignorant Protestants.

Jesse Albrecht said...

"If you want to say I made a jump to a conclusion about you jumping to conclusions you can but that response comes off as slightly immature, or it chalks up all reasoning to “jumping to conclusions.”

Okay Moron, I get that you have no sense of humor. You are nitpicking at my statements. It was my way of saying that you have failed to rebut my arguments. It would also be considerate of you to keep in mind that you are but a guest here.

"I wouldn’t disagree with this statement, but at the same time I wouldn’t say it’s the only source of these things and neither does the verses say that either."

But they do affirm the sufficiency of Scripture for such purposes. When you put those texts together in the manner that I have done, you get the picture that Scripture is indeed a self-sufficient guide in matters relating to faith and morals.

"I am not sure how you think I am playing word games. If I read the same text and do not come to the conclusion you do and explain my line of reasoning, is this word games to by pass the “clear” testimony."

You are manipulating the words of Scripture by insisting that they do not say "only Scripture" or they do not say only it is sufficient for the purposes that it describes itself as having been designated for. They do not have to use a specific sequence of wording in order to convey a doctrine.

"As to other infallible sources, your reply about Paul mentioning Peter doesn’t really work as I don’t take the scripture as the only infallible authority to begin with so I don’t need scripture to provide one."

I get that you dismiss everything I say in a circular fashion. Very telling.

"It would be hard for scripture to provide one for the first 300 years anyway since it wasn’t even agreed on."

I doubt your doubts about the late formation of the New Testament canon and a host of other issues!

"But you take your interpretation of scripture as the only source of authority so of course if your interpretation doesn’t find any you won’t believe it, even if mine interpretation makes room for other infallible authorities."

You are just putting words in my mouth. What gives an interpretation authority is the evidence used in backing it up, not who gives it.

"You take an example of scripture that is not talking about the whole of scripture because the writer didn’t have the whole of scripture or was just talking about what he was writing (“I write these things…) and then you take the liberty to apply this to the rest of scripture, although it would seem we should actually conclude that only each mentioned text, respectively, was alone sufficient to provide for X good things it mentioned."

I consulted a plethora of texts from a variety of biblical authors to show that the entire Bible, taken together, provides a coherent and complete revelation of God’s will for us. I am focusing on the nature of Scripture as opposed to the extent of the canon, so your objection misses the point.

Jesse Albrecht said...

"Just stating that I disregard historical context and exegetical considerations is not really an argument."

That was never intended to be an argument, but a description of how you have approached this article. You raise all sorts of side issues, while deliberately paying no attention to the fact that this was only a survey of various biblical passages that relate to the nature of Scripture itself.

"Whatever it says it is historical fact that there was disagreement over all the specifics of scripture until around 350 for the majority of the church and actually stil is today."

My response applies because your comments are totally out of line with what has been done here. Further, the article that I referenced specifically shows how your assertions are incorrect.

"You only get to make these referrals to a wider scripture because of countless church councils, and I would say you’re still wrong about the Bible you refer to because you are missing multiple books."

False. I can make conclusions about the meaning of a particular biblical passage without any dependence on church councils. The authority of Scripture transcends historical processes, and its impact reaches far beyond any human institution.

"Yes these gospels give different perspectives but so does the Gospel of Thomas."

You simply refuse to come to terms with the idea of one having independent reasons for accepting books as canonical without reference to an "infallible" authority to declare them as such.

"But still why not throw out Mark since most of its details are said in other gospels?"

This is really unnecessary on your part. This game that you are playing has become absurd and inane.

"You may cast away a bunch of other texts like the gospel of Thomas or Mary, but there are many others that my question still stands. Why not them?"

Why does Rome not add those kinds of writings to its own canon of Scripture? It has already added the apocrypha to justify teachings like prayers to the dead!

"You live off historical hindset, and get to ignore the role of the Church in scripture."

I recognize the Christian church’s role and am not required to accept any apocryphal texts as canonical. It is a nuanced discussion that involves theological, historical, and textual considerations.

"Also if we discovered one of the missing letters of Paul and it seemed to be completely legit would you accept it?"

If a genuinely legitimate letter of Paul were discovered, scholars would rigorously evaluate it. Authenticity, consistency with Paul’s theology, and historical context would be critical factors. The church’s role in that scenario would be to engage in scholarly inquiry rather than dogmatically accepting or rejecting it.

It may also mean that the Roman Catholic Church, being infallibly guided to all truths by the Holy Spirit, erred when it claimed to have resolved the issue of the canon once and for all.

"The Church may have a bad pope right now but he hasn’t changed doctrine although he has sown confusion."

Pope Francis indeed represents a change in the cultural dynamic of the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. becoming more liberal as opposed to more conservative). Just how far he takes matters for the remainder of his term and how trends will go after he leaves office, remains to be seen. How do you justify, for instance, your current pope indicating an openness to blessing same-sex unions?

Adding a single man into the equation to preside over doctrinal matters does not make hard questions go away. It only means that you have chosen to place your faith in all the claims that he makes.

Jesse Albrecht said...

"The churches that do not have central authority or understanding of themselves are doomed to wilt, for they have no roots but whoever is most persuasive at the time or where ever the zeitgeist pushes them."

That is a bald-faced assertion for which there is no proof and cannot be proven. The weight of evidence, in fact, would seem to go against your theory, since the historical record is full of "churches" with a "centralized authority" that turn out to be cultic. They tend to have all sorts of doctrinal aberrations and abuses of power. There may also be other reasons for a church to "wilt" besides not having a "centralized authority."

"Why are you more right. You may say they don’t understand or they “clearly” go against the Bible. Yet here I am saying you go against the Bible."

This reeks to high heaven of epistemological nihilism. Who can infallibly interpret your comments for us to understand what you are saying? How do you even know that the pope is infallible? If you answer these questions, your extremely skeptical approach to things has been uprooted. You really have put himself into a difficult position from which there clearly is no escape.

"You may also say my comments about individual conscience and authority sound cultic, but I don’t think so. This is how most religions think and it is true."

Every religious system on this planet has a set of dogmas that are to be received by faith and accepted as true. Every religion has to deal with the problem of cultic extremes. You show a lack of awareness of the nature of other belief systems when you generalize in this way.

All religions except Christianity reject the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Using your logic, why do you not join them in rejecting the historicity of that event since they all do so?

"The individual conscience is doomed to error. I don’t care if Jehovah’s Witnesses think like that. Apparently they got something right."

You display your callousness when you make these kinds of statements. It is precisely because of this pattern of thinking, that Jehovah's Witnesses are ensnared to an authoritarian system that erases their personal identity and damns them to hell. Shame on you for defending the Watchtower Society, which has ruined so many lives and split so many families!

"And as for my historical mishmash, having studied history rather deeply, there is a fairly easily traceable line from the Protestant reformation/renaissance to the enlightenment to romanticism to realism to Dadaism/surrealism to existentialism and ultimately to deconstructionism."

Your level of coherence is not impressive. Your mouth needs some Kaopectate.

"After studying these things it can be more clearly seen how to upholding of the individual ultimately leads to alienation and ruin."

Your reasoning is fallacious in that it assumes ideas are bad and ought to be avoided because they can be taken to radical extremes. If you are concluding that "upholding the individual" always leads to "alienation and ruin" without sufficient evidence, then that is a hasty generalization.

"When I say conscience I am also meaning individual reason to. When you tell me what scripture is, you are actually telling me what you think it is."

Your ultimate "argument" is a game played by an "infallible" church authority, who then constructs artificial defenses, such as ex cathedra pronouncements, to explain mistakes. Roman Catholics subjectively have decided for themselves that Rome is their final authority. By your own logic, I could say that they have no thoughts of their own.