Rightly Divided: Introduction

Patheos, which holds a lot of interesting ideas, often hosts conversations that are interdisciplinary, or at least cross-cultural (in a religious sense). Like with many things in the internet age, however, there is a lot of bad content.

By bad content, I mean content which appears to convince its readers, but doesn’t actually add to or offer any substantive comment on the conversation it has. As a result, what you will often find are blog posts about the “Top Ten Real Wicca Practices that Change Lives” or, “Five Reasons I Can See Jesus In My Soup.” Lots of people love reading Patheos as a result because Patheos has made a living offering its readers the promise of “Hosting a conversation on faith.”

This is very misleading. It is primarily misleading because “faith” has a certain connotation to it, kind of like “Hosting a conversation about marriage,” except in this instance, we don’t know if we even all agree on what marriage is, or faith.

Nevertheless, I have friends (you know the kind) who find fascinating articles written on Patheos, and most of what I have seen posted have been unfortunate musings about some horrific things (i.e. “Three Reasons I Don’t Need the Bible To Love Jesus”). This particular one I’m going to write about is a little more subtle.

Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura

Here, you will read what is supposed to be an utterly convincing set of arguments refuting Protestantism reason for protesting: Sola Scriptura, or the doctrine of Scripture Alone. To be clear, the Catholic Church does not believe in such a doctrine (they would not be Catholic if they did!).

Ironically enough, however, this article does no such thing it claims to do. Well, Yes it is quick, but in its attempts to be quick and sweet, it ends up committing lots of little naughty fallacies in the process. It also makes some bold claims, but those bold claims fall on the same arguments made hundreds of years ago since the Diet of Worms.

However, something that I’d like to point out is that this article highlights what I think lots of folks in the evangelical world are delusional about: That Catholics and Protestants are divided from each other. The Catholic church is not a branch of Christianity (as far as catholicity is concerned); Catholicism is the one and the only true denomination of Christianity, no matter what a sensitive Pope might declare.

But, in order to foster gentleness and kindness, Protestants have been attempting to bridge the gap between these two seeming “denominations.” What it has led to is ignorance about Catholics. For a lot of Catholics which have tarried and have tolerated this appeal, it has often translated the same for them. “Can’t we all just get along?” as they would say.

But this particular article on Patheos mightily differs and attempts to show other Catholics how to show up and quickly distinguish what Protestants have so wrongly agreed to: their founding doctrine; ergo “we may undermine Protestant doctrine to show how wrong they are only to bring them back to true religion.”

This is really important, because this tension is what spurs me on. I really believe we are rightly divided about our concerns. Protestantism is not something that is a backroom movement with your poker buddies when your talking politics over malt liquors and nickel-dime bets. It is a threat to Catholicism.

That is right. A threat. When any number of people are being driven away from Catholicism to Protestantism, and the simple fact that anything that is not Roman Catholic is not true religion at all, it is clear that religions that are opposed to Catholic doctrine must be refuted.

So without further ado, please make note of the following arguments:

  1. Sola Scriptura is Not Taught in the Bible
  2. “Word of God”
  3. Tradition is Not a Dirty Word
  4. Jesus and Paul Accepted Non-Biblical Oral and Written Traditions
  5. Jerusalem Council
  6. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Oral, Extrabiblical Tradition
  7. OT Jews Did Not Believe in Sola Scriptura / Necessity of Interpretation
  8. 2 Timothy 3:16-17: The Protestant “Proof Text”
  9. Paul Casually Assumes that His Passed-Down Tradition is Infallible and Binding
  10. Sola Scriptura is a Radically Circular Position

The article dictates how these headings address the true asinine nature of Protestant foundations. And, even if they wouldn’t use the word asinine, that would certainly be the case if all of these headings were actually true. So, in this 10 part series, I’m going to examine each and one of these headings very carefully and write about what exactly is happening, both logically and Biblically. I will quote heavily and, given any response or clarification, will add those clarifications and responses as edits within the respective post.

I hope this can foster true wisdom about Catholic doctrine (RC variety), because frankly, I don’t think enough Protestants understand why we are so (rightly) divided with what seems to be our next-door neighbors.

Disclaimer: Many of the arguments made in this post are related to another, especially when concerning canonicity and the doctrine of Scripture. You may see overlap, and occasionally, double-dipping within certain posts about others.


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