- Defining The Issues:
-Roman Catholic apologists insist that we absolutely must have their leaders infallibly interpret the Scriptures in order to preserve truth in doctrinal matters and thus aid in the prevention of division within throughout the ecclesiastical body.
-The claim that we need an infallible interpreter of Scripture is essentially the same as saying that the Bible is too difficult for the average person to understand. Both ideas use the same logic in their premises in order to reach the same conclusions. If the basic message of Scripture is simple enough for us to understand, then why would we need an infallible interpreter in the first place? If Christ entrusted the preservation of His teaching to an infallible teaching office, then why do we have a Bible in the first place?
-Consequently, the Church of Rome claims that Christians who rely on the Bible alone for testing the truthfulness of doctrine rather than the Magisterium will inevitably end up in a state of hopeless confusion. Irreconcilable doctrinal contradictions exist and thus truth cannot be known from Scripture itself but must be unpacked by an earthly organization.
- Scripture Is A Perspicuous Guide And Is Therefore In Need Of No Infallible Interpreter:
-With the possible exception of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, all of the New Testament epistles were written to Christians in general: Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philemon 1:1-2; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1-2; Revelation 1:3-4.
-Calls to read and obey Scripture presuppose that we can understand it (Joshua 1:7-8; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3-4; Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:14).
-The common people understood the teachings of Jesus Christ apart from some infallible interpreter (Matthew 11:25; 13:51; Mark 12:37). In other words, there was never an infallible interpreter sitting next to Jesus when He was teaching in front of the crowds. He oftentimes attracted the poor and uneducated. Anyone with a humble and prayerful heart can understand what God desires for us, apart from a complex church hierarchy.
- Do We Need Some Special Authority In Order To Make Interpretations Of Scripture?:
-Interpreting Scripture is not necessarily a matter of personal authority, but rather something God expects us to do. This does not mean ministers in local congregations have no special authority to teach. It would also not be wise to say that church authority has no limits at all. Scripture is clear enough for readers to obtain truths related to salvation and godliness.-God does not require that we understand Him infallibly, since we are but finite creations. We can have sufficient certainty behind the meaning of Scripture. This is not to suggest that we can interpret the Scriptures in any way that we desire. We should examine Scripture in its proper context, use our common sense, and consult commentaries.
- Thoughts On Religious Division:
-In a society with millions of people where freedom of speech and freedom of religion exists, there will inevitably be diversity in beliefs. That is simply a logical consequence of being in a free society. In order to obtain the institutionalized unity that Rome requires, there would have to be coercion, threats, and intimidation involved. Otherwise, it is not humanly possible to get.
-There are scenarios in which division is necessary: “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). Unity in and of itself does not guarantee truth or preservation of the gospel.
-Essential doctrines are clearly and repeatedly defined in Scripture. Doctrines that are of secondary importance (meaning not issues that we should break fellowship over or refuse to acknowledge another as a brother in Christ) would include women's head coverings, musical instruments in church, eschatology, modes of baptism, etc.
- Is Roman Catholicism A Theologically Divided Body?:
-Many Roman Catholics are unlearned in regards to the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Many flatly contradict many of the official teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion, artificial birth control, the death penalty, homosexuality, on whether priests should be married, letting females join the priesthood, stem-cell research, and much more. Roman Catholics are in a state of division over additional issues such as creation verses evolution, the material sufficiency of Scripture, charismatic occurrences, whether practicing Jews and Muslims can be saved without conversion, and whether Mary is the co-redemptrix. Catholic theologians are even divided over the interpretation of Vatican II documents.
-Roman Catholicism is a group that is lead by a single human leader and occupies the same title all throughout its domain ("Roman Catholic"), whereas Protestantism is made up of individual churches with different labels. Protestantism is not an ecclesiastical structure like Rome. So it is misleading to compare the two. The principle of Sola Scriptura was never intended to bring about an institutionalized form of unity. We have a sense of genuine love and fellowship toward each other. The two defining articles of Protestantism are Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.
- Refuting The 33,000 Protestant Denominations Myth:
For hundreds of years Rome eliminated by murder anyone who disagreed with them. That sort of kept them from having thousands of "denominations." When unity is forced, it isn't unity.