Saturday, February 18, 2017

Did The Catholic Church Give Us The Bible?

  • The Problem:
          -The Church of Rome argues that if we did not have its "divinely inspired" oral traditions, we would not have the canon of Scripture. This claim is obviously one of the Church's attempts to exalt itself as an infallible authority in addition to the Bible.
          -It is claimed that the canon issue was settled at the Council of Hippo (393 AD) and the Council of Carthage (397 AD). Then, it was supposedly reaffirmed at the Council of Trent (1546 AD). As a result of this major accomplishment, the entire world is indebted to the Roman Catholic Church and is therefore obligated to give complete submission to her claims to infallible authority.
  • A Circular Appeal?:
          -When Roman Catholics claim that we can only accept the Bible on the basis of their "infallible" church councils assembling the canon of Scripture, they are guilty of using circular reasoning. We cannot blindly accept the books of the Bible only on the basis that the Roman Catholic Church says so. How can we even know if the Church's claims to infallibility are true or not?
          -The "we gave you the Bible" argument is simply another classic deviation of the following standard Catholic logic: "The Bible and Tradition are true because the infallible Church defined them as such. The Roman Catholic Church is true because the Bible and Tradition told us so."
          -The ultimate argument offered by Rome is that we must accept the canon of Scripture only on the basis that she says so.
  • Written By Roman Catholics?:
          -The Roman Catholic Church cannot claim to have written the Old Testament Scriptures because they were written by the Jews hundreds of years prior to the existence of this earthly organization. 
          -Neither can the Catholics claim to have produced the New Testament Scriptures, since these writings were authored by God through the apostles and their closest associates, who knew nothing about the uniquely Catholic teachings existing today. 
          -The claim that the first century Christians were Roman Catholics and that Roman Catholicism gave the world the Bible as we know it today are refuted by the fact that the Church of Rome upholds many doctrines that contradict the book it claims to have established.
  • The Councils Of Hippo And Carthage Were Local Synods, Not Ecumenical: 
          -The Councils of Hippo and Carthage were only provincial, which means that their rulings were not binding on the entire church. Neither were they able to finally settle any issues occurring in the church during that specific time.
  • The Canon Of Scripture And Church Councils:
          -The truth of the matter is that the canon of Scripture has been settled since the second century. There has always been a general consensus on the books that were later assembled into one volume. Though a few of the canonical writings were called into question on the issue of divine or prophetic origin, they were still accepted as God-breathed by the vast majority of the early Christians. The issues were settled by examining the internal consistency of the documents and by appealing to outside traditions. The early church directly examined available material. While church councils may have helped to crystallize the already established New Testament canon, they most certainly did not give the New Testament books authority. Scripture is inherently authoritative because it is God-breathed. The degree of certainty that we can posses regarding the canon is sufficient certainty.
  • Recognizing Something Is Not The Same As Being Responsible For Its Existence:
          -The Christian Church simply recognized and accepted the canon of Scripture for what it continues to be: the Word of God. It did not establish it, for God never gave any church councils the authority to determine which of His sacred books are inspired. The early Christians identified the inspired writings and affirmed them as such. In other words, the church found the books that were already authentic. The early church heeded to the voice of Christ, which means that His followers hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). 
  • Is Church Infallibility Necessary For The Church To Function Properly?:
          -How can the Catholic Church claim to have given us the Bible when the Old Testament canon was settled prior to its existence? How did the Jews correctly assemble the Old Testament Scriptures? Just as the Jews recognized the Old Testament Scriptures without an infallible organization, the same is true with the early Christians and the New Testament Scriptures. God used fallible prophets to produce infallible Scriptures. He expects us fallible beings to make correct decisions in all aspects of life. This is simply how the world works. Therefore, an infallible church government is totally unnecessary for the right establishment of the canon of Scripture, along with daily gospel preaching, edification of the the faith, exhortation to maintain the correct doctrines, and overall worship.
  • Compulsory Submission Follows?:
          -God can use anybody or anything as an instrument to complete His work. In other words, He can even use an evil individual or organization to accomplish His designated mission, and He certainly has done so before. Of course, we should not submit to figures who do not obey Him. Even if the Roman Catholic Church did indeed take the responsibility of assembling the canon at any period in history (which it clearly never did), this does not mean that we should follow the bishop of Rome.

1 comment:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church as such did not even exist in the 4th Century, although it was soon coming to be.