Wednesday 2 December 2015

Various comments regarding Sola Scriptura

The following was taken from a previous article which is not on the website for viewing anymore. There are however changes that differ from the article or articles this document is based on. The following context speaks on the subject of Sola Scripture:*

While I have indeed undertaken the task to refute Roman Catholicism. This doesn't mean I hate Catholics themselves, Far from it, If I hated Roman Catholics, then I would encourage others not to evangelise to them, same with Eastern Orthodox people.

If any Catholic wants to pull the "Anti-Catholic card", the same point can be said of them that they are Anti-Protestant. That's not going to get us anywhere.

Next, The onus of proof is on them to to show that the traditions as held to by the Catholic church are even found within the inspired texts of the Bible as well as in the early church Fathers. You would be hardpressed to find them.

A tradition is essentially teaching and as I explain in another article my writings could be considered a tradition or teaching, the same can be said of many apologists. We of us are conveying tradition to our reading audiences. But it stands to reason to call into question Roman Catholic tradition that is ANACHRONISTICALLY shoehorned into the biblical text and into early fathers like Ignatius, Irenaus, Origen, Tertullian etc.

With respect to the deity of Christ, If Christ and the Father's deity are affirmed, it is safe to assume and affirm that the Trinity is indeed taught in the texts of scripture itself and that Christ is called theos in the true sense. The exception would be Psalm 45 which talks about Christ's supremacy: There is even pretty solid material out there that even confirms the Biblical witness of the Trinity itself.

A modalistic interpretation cannot be deemed valid because scripture clearly affirms that the Father and the son are distinct persons and even Tertullian himself refuted Modalism in his treatise Against Praxeus.

Dismissal of tradition that goes against the biblical text is not an anachronistic way of reading the Bible, considering Jesus did NOT accept every single Pharisaical tradition, though some tradition he was not against.

"15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”

Acceptance of some of the oral tradition would not prove Sola Scriptura to be false. Washing the hands wasn't a problematic or false tradition, but was an example of a dispensable tradition, but certainly the loophole that Jesus mentions counts as a violation. Also, For those unaware, Henotheism believes one God is to be worshiped but there is an acknowledgement of other deities existing. The Shema hardly can be used as a pretext for Henotheism since YHWH in the OT emphatically states that this only one God and NONE besides him. Furthermore, in the Psalms we have the following:

"Psalm 115:1 Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness.
2 Why do the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven;
    he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
    made by human hands.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears, but cannot hear,
    noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands, but cannot feel,
    feet, but cannot walk,
    nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them.
9 All you Israelites, trust in the Lord—
    he is their help and shield."

"Psalm 135:15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
    made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but cannot see.
17 They have ears, but cannot hear,
    nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them."

Though the idols and false Gods have tangible statues, they themselves are non-existent and cannot do harm, nor even deliver one from the clutches of disaster (Much like the idol of Mary cannot do this either).

With respect to tradition, Should we consider looking at an oral tradition for profitability, yes. Should the oral tradition be binding on one's conscience if it violates God's moral code? No. One should go back to the early church and look at other material to see what the groups themselves believed, be they orthodox or heterodox movement. It is good to get the information for historical study and understanding so we can refute the objections of unbelievers should the issues arise. The ancient world did have oral tradition to be sure, but this isn't a news flash to a sola scripturist, since we accept that the Bible was oral first, then codified and written down. This wouldn't however justify the claims of Roman Catholics and what they say about their traditions.

A tradition telling us how to slaughter kosher in certain way or tying tefillin isn't so much of a problem, since a Sola Scripturist DOESN'T dismiss every tradition, but tests those said traditions. I am open to how the issue of kosher and tefillin is to be resolved. Looking into how to do these things properly would not be a violation of Sola Scriptura. If you want to discern how to properly deal with these matters, that's fine, it's important to do things the way God requires.

With respect to 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul doesn't affirm Oral Tradition as equally authoritative, he often pointed to the OT and even to Luke's own Gospel to substantiate his teaching, not to mere traditions of men. For those who are unaware, Jamnes and Jambres are the names of the Pharaoh's magicians, two at least, who opposed Moses in Egypt when he performed miracles in front of the Pharaoh.

Read more on them here:

I acknowledge the individual books were scrolls. Even Jesus himself read from a scroll of Isaiah. Even if "Every Scripture" refers to the books of the OT, it doesn't prove the Romanist church to be true, let alone biblical or even the false doctrines they so love to propagate.

As for Sirach, as Ryan Turner of CARM observes:
"1.  There are no clear, definite New Testament quotations from the Apocrypha by Jesus or the apostles.  While there may be various allusions by the New Testament to the Apocrypha, there are no authoritative statements like "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say."  There are references in the New Testament to the pseudepigrapha (literally “false writings”) (Jude 14-15) and even citations from pagan sources (Acts 17:22-34), but none of these are cited as Scripture and are rejected even by Roman Catholics.  In contrast, the New Testament writers cite the Old Testament numerous times (Mt. 5Lk. 24:27Jn. 10:35) and use phrases such as "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say," indicating their approval of these books as inspired by God. "

Sam Shamoun observes the following in his paper on Sola Scriptura:
"First, neither the Lord Jesus nor the Apostles ever quote any Apocryphal book with the formulaic expressions denoting canonicity, i.e. "Thus saith the Lord," "This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet," "The Scripture says," "It is written," etc.

Now someone may wish to say that this is also true with many of the OT books which the Jews and Christians both accept as canonical. The problem with this objection is that we do know that the Lord Jesus and his Apostles, as well as the NT documents as a whole, often appealed to the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews at that time. And, as we documented in the previous parts of our discussion, one will find many references to “the Law and the Prophets,” or to “the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms” (cf. Luke 24:25, 27, 44-45). These divisions of the Scriptures did not include the Apocryphal books, but did contain the OT books found in the Jewish and Protestant canons.

Second, just because the NT may allude to material from the Apocrypha doesn’t mean that the NT writers viewed them as inspired or canonical." Sam Shamoun, Appendix: Addressing Some Arguments in Support of the Apocrypha: *

I thoroughly recommend all to read that article above and examples in said article are listed to demonstrate the point made.

Other points about Sirach may be focused on if the Lord Wills.

As for the quote from James White. WHERE did he say what he said? And Speaking of White, this is what he said on Sola Scriptura (Bold italic emphasis mine):
Sola scriptura says the Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church. It does not deny the existence of "general revelation" in nature (hence the error of saying the "sole source of revelation"). It is interesting to note, however, that Mr. Ray, in his zeal for the Roman position, ends up taking the more conservative, traditional partim-partim viewpoint of tradition and revelation, for while many modern Roman Catholic theologians are moving toward abandoning the "two-source" view of revelation, Mr. Ray states his adherence to it plainly a number of times in his article (we shall note them in passing). Mr. Ray is a former Baptist. Hence, he might want to be familiar with what the Baptists in 1689 placed in their Confession of Faith:
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
The sufficiency of Scripture is clearly asserted, but it is a sufficiency carefully defined. No one claims the Bible is an omnipedia of all knowledge. Nor does anyone claim the Bible can tell you, specifically, what color fabric to place upon the pews of your new church building. But all things that are "necessary" for God's "own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in Holy Scripture.""

And in the same article says:
"Sola scriptura speaks to the Church as she exists in her normative state. Times of revelation are not normative. They are now passed. So how does the Church have sure access to the truths of God today? By reference to nebulous, a-historical traditions, or to the sure and unchanging Word of God in the Scriptures? Sola scriptura says the Church always has an ultimate authority to which to turn: and the Church isn't that ultimate authority! The Church is in need of revelation from Her Lord, and that she finds in Scripture, not in "traditions" that are uncertain".

James White, A Review and Rebuttal of Steve Ray’s Article, Why the Bereans Rejected Sola Scriptura:

I would recommend others reading his articles here:

Also, Why is there the assumption that the Protestant view means that a "magic number" as to be met?

To make a few points:

A Oral Traditions of the Pharisees don't prove the Roman Catholic apostate traditions to have any weight. I already said that traditions used to deal with kosher slaughter and tefillin aren't problematic and that Jesus accepted SOME of the traditions, not all.
B. Tradition is profitable, not inspired.
C Which doesn't prove Rome to be a true church in any way.
D. Paul is referring to the Old Testament in context of 2 Timothy 3:16 and I have said it refers to the New Testament in principle.
E. The NT has an anti-Gnostic polemic contained within it.

With respect to the word ophelimos, it means profitable. No Sola Scripturist denies this and tradition itself can be profitable, as is a commentary. Several of the Reformers had no hesitation looking at the dissertations and treatises of church Fathers or the decisions of the church councils for what they said. However...... tradition in this passage is not described as God Breathed scripture itself, so how it destroys protestant creeds and confessions I have no idea. Tradition outside the scripture is NEVER referred to as God breathed, hence the point made would be a vacuous one.

Furthermore it is important to realize that scripture is "theopneustos" or God-breathed (Something the Roman tradition is not) and also can equip and furnish the believing. Tradition is fine to use for edification for sure and even may provide an insight you haven't noticed. Maybe I have an insight someone may not have seen who knows? But the point is, It is ultimately the scripture itself that is called inspired, not the traditions of the Roman apologists who want to force false teaching on their congregants.

Matt Slick observes the following regarding the Greek of the passage:
"Let's take a look at the Greek. The word "inspired" is qeovpneustos (theopneustos), and it means literally, "God breathed." This means that God was the one working through people--breathing through them his words. The Scriptures, therefore, are perfect and without error because they come from God. Paul continues and says that these Scriptures are profitable for teaching, for proof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. In verse 17 he explains that this is so the Christian may be adequate--equipped for every good work. The word artios(artios) is defined as follows:
  • "complete, capable, proficient, able to meet all demands."2
  • "complete, perfect of its kind, suitable, exactly fitted"3
  • "complete, perfect. 2a having reference apparently to "special aptitude for given uses."4
So, we see from three sources that explain the Greek that Paul is telling us that the Scriptures are "complete, capable, proficient, able to meet all demands, exactly fitted, etc." This is fine; but Paul continues to tell us that this, so we might understand that by studying the Scriptures, we will be adequately equipped for every good work.
The Greek word for "equipped" is ejxhrtismevno" (exartismenos) and it means, "having been finished, fully equipped":
  • "equip, furnish."5
  • "to be thoroughly prepared or furnished."6
  • "to complete, finish. 1a to furnish perfectly. 1b to finish, accomplish."7
We can then see that we are equipped for every good work. Every good work is explained in the previous verse as teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. This means that the Bible is sufficient for all of these things. This naturally includes the teaching of doctrine because teaching correct doctrine is a good work by which we reprove, correct, and train. Furthermore, this means that we don't need sacred tradition to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness because the Scriptures are what is sufficient for this."

Sam Shamoun himself also notes the following:
"1. The Holy Scriptures are the sole, infallible rule of faith by virtue of it being breathed out or inspired by God. As such it is completely sufficient in and of itself to thoroughly equip Christians in all things necessary for salvation and sanctification.

2. The Bible is the only certain norm, since it is the only revelation that can be demonstrated to have come from inspired men of God. This cannot be said of oral traditions.

3. Finally, the central focus of the Scriptures is to reveal and make known the risen Lord and immortal Savior Jesus Christ, God’s eternally beloved Son, who alone grants eternal life to all who believe." Sam Shamoun, An Articulation of Sola Scriptura: The Biblical Basis for the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures:

Finally, Thompson demonstrates the following regarding the phrase "exartismos" (Bold and italic emphasis mine):
"Now, when 2 Timothy 3:17 teaches that Scripture thoroughly equips the man of God for every good work including doctrine, the original Greek word is exērtismenos (ἐξηρτισμένος), the perfect passive participle of exartizō (ἐξαρτίζω). The word exartizō is defined in the following ways by major professional lexicographers and grammarians:
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines it as: “to fit out” (W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, [Thomas Nelson Inc., 1996], p. 117).

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it as: to complete, finish 1a) to furnish perfectly” (Joseph. H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, [Hendrickson Publishers, 2009], p. 222).

Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words affirms it means “to equip or furnish completely” (William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, [Zondervan, 2006], p. 1146).

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes the word means to “bring to a suitable state” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromily, Vol. 1, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964-1976], pp. 475).

The Baur, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, defines it as: “equip, furnish . . . for every good deed 2 Ti 3:17” (Walter Bauer, Frederick William Danker, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur, Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, [University of Chicago Press, 2000], p. 346).
Hence, what is deduced from this text is that Scripture is able or powerful to make men wise unto salvation through faith. Scripture is God-breathed or given by inspiration of God. Scripture’s purpose is to profit us with doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. Hence, there is no doctrine or sin that Scripture is not profitable enough to address. And Scripture is sufficient in the sense that it makes the man of God complete, fully furnishing and fully equipping him for every good work including doctrine or teaching.

Therefore, since 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches that Scripture fully furnishes or makes the man of God fully equipped forevery good work including doctrine, that means Scripture contains everything we need for doctrin. We do not need extra-biblical tradition to supplement Scripture and inform us of doctrine allegedly missing from Scripture as Romanism teaches."

I would also recommend and judge for yourself the article by Messianic Drew on Roman Catholic claims of authority: (Link is now defunct).

For now this is all I have to say in this particular article.

7th of January 2016*In light of recent events, the original article(s) is (are) up again.

27th of October 2017 Sam Shamoun was the author of the article that I linked to, not Keith Thompson.

1 comment:

  1. The reason why you lost our debate so badly was because you were unable to establish an epidemiological basis for your variant of Christianity. As you've shown yourself, you had to backtrack and rely upon the mental gymnastics of Sam Shamoun & James White (lol) while making huge, bombastic assumptions concerning both the canon and tradition. The point I made back then was clear, were the extrabiblical traditions adhered to by the devout infallible or fallible? Was the canon of the bible compiled in an infallible sense, or a fallible sense? If you concede that there is an infallible oral tradition (i.e. one that can be classified as the Word of God) then you no longer have "Sola Scriptura," by default you have a system where the Word of God doesn't include scripture alone, there is another system with equal authority. However, if you take the position that the canon was a fallible creation of man you are left with the dilemma that RC Sproul articulates. Which is to say the Bible stands or falls on historical & scientific grounds.

    The lame arguments from Shamoun, Keith, White have such little substance that it's hard offering a decent response. White's position is so bizarre that it's comical the fake doctor has been using it so long as if he's cracked the holy grail of Protestantism. His cop-out is "Oh well, we don't really have any evidence of my biblical canon anywhere in the apostolic era, and we only have a tenuous connection to some rather late church fathers who kind of had a canon like ours. And yeah, there was absolutely no consensus on the canon of scripture in both Judaism & Christianity, and various denominations dispute canonical of certain books even to this day. But God has given us the normative condition of the church (whatever that is suppose to mean) so we can go off of scripture alone!" If anyone finds such absurdity convincing I honestly feel bad for them.