a dear friend [XXXX] emailed me and another friend [----] recently...
Hi ---- and [Teci]:
I found the following site. It is exciting since this website offers a lot of bible reference as well as more recent church documents about almost all Catholic dogma. I hope you will also find yourself open to knowing these and at the same time amused of these, praising our God for His beautiful saving plan for all -- even to the Gentiles, us.
and my reply...
hi XXXX! hi ----! :) XXXX thanks for taking the time to email us ha :) i just got to the site this afternoon...
i was glad to know that there's a Biblical Catholic website :) actually we [you me and ---] know of many Bible-believing Catholics :)
i first looked at the articles on Peter, Mary, and Sola Scriptura...
they're so long! and in the section on Mary there's even a debate. i won't go into detail because the website and other experts have tackled them more comprehensively. pero i'd just like to cite two to three statements regarding the Bible (anyway they talk of the same idea...):
A. from http://www.scripturecatholic.com/scripture_alone.html:
"I. Scripture Alone Disproves "Scripture Alone"
From Genesis to Revelation - Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God's Word. Scripture also mandates the use of tradition. This fact alone disproves sola Scriptura."
A0. If "Scripture mandates the use of tradition", then those things are in Scripture too...so, if there are traditions being followed until now like the Eucharist, we do them because they're written in Scripture. (sorry if it seems like we're going in circles, this has a point!) Then does that not show the authority of Scripture as well?
We have to follow what is said in God's Word. When non-Catholics talk about tradition, they are most probably talking of traditions outside the Bible. It seems strange to use the above quote as an argument to undermine Scriptural authority. Interestingly this is the last point I noticed! It sounds like it undermines Scripture but it actually upholds Scripture! (Probably the author didn't see this too...)
A1. I can't find it now, pero i think in http://www.scripturecatholic.com/mary_qa.html din, there was something John Salza said (he's the one defending Catholicism) about just because something is not written in the Bible doesn't mean it's not true. Ironically the same argument can be used by non-Catholics, for example in replying to the above quotation. I hope these kinds of arguments are not used because they can be used to "prove" anything. :) I mean, I can also answer that "just because something is not written in the Bible doesn't mean it's not true". (Sorry for being philosophical/annoying, I just saw it on the website though i still can't prove it hehe...)
A2. Whatever is not said by Scripture (A1 looks like a circular endless argument so let's skip that), there have been many warnings about false teachings. (Please, it's not my wish to attack anybody! As XXXX said, "Peace" :) ) My point is, let's be careful because it's possible, even easy, to be led astray.
For example, Peter warned against false teachers and their condemnation (2 Peter 2:1-3, 10-12):
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping...
This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
John also spoke about antichrists (1 John 2:18-27):
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
My point is there have been many Jesus and His apostles and church leaders (early, until now!) about false teachings. Now how can we be sure that we're believing what is correct and true? Let's look to the Bible, recognized by both Catholics and Protestants as God's Word :)
A3. Following from A2, the issue (the main one?) dividing Catholics and Protestants is the Sola Scriptura claim. Personally and I'm sure it's not just me, we can all be inspired by our church leaders: Pope John Paul (ei XXXX i really really like him :) ), our priests, our pastors. Obviously they didn't write the Bible but we are encouraged by them, our faith increased, and so on.
But the question is what if a pastor says something that is ungodly/immoral/wrong? How can we make such a judgment in the first place? Our standard should be God's standard: since we all agree that the Bible is God's Word, then we can be confident if we use the Bible as our standard.
Definitely the doctrines of the Catholic Church Fathers helped in explaining the Christian faith to their flock. But again, what if a teaching does not agree with the Bible? What and Whose teaching are we going to choose?
A4. Connected to A3...Since we have the teachings of some Church Fathers dating back to the time of the apostles, how come they're not included in the Bible itself? (That would make things easier so that people nowadays won't debate/discuss these issues right?) The explanation I heard is that the believers --- including people who themselves saw and lived with Jesus --- saw value in the other writings but did not view them as divinely inspired so they didn't include them in the Canon or official Bible books. (Of course this is from our pastors; I don't know the Catholic Church's official stand here.)
Here's my point. If some writings are included in the Bible and some aren't, and those who decided were the people who were actually with Jesus (or, since it took some centuries din to establish the final canon, the experts and leaders of the faith), maybe we should look more into their criteria. Did our ancestors in the faith differentiate between the Bible and other writings? Did they hold the Bible as equally or more important than other writings? What does that imply for us believers now?
B. from http://www.scripturecatholic.com/mary_qa.html
J. Salza: Mr. Blackaby, where does the Bible say anything about "biblical authority"? Please explain what you mean by this, since it evidently is the premise upon which your whole apologetic is based. Of course, I agree that the Bible is an authority; it is the written Word of God. But that same Bible doesn't teach that it is the only authority."
Generally same reply as in A :) again, does the Bible teach that it is NOT the only authority?
Let's look at what the Bible DOES say about God's Word...
Now listen, Israel, listen carefully to the rules and regulations that I am teaching you to follow so that you may live and enter and take possession of the land that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, is giving to you. Don't add a word to what I command you, and don't remove a word from it. Keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)
I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don't add to it; don't subtract from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)
Jesus commented, "Even more blessed are those who hear God's Word and guard it with their lives!" (Luke 11:28)
God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it—no matter what. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
Catholics and Protestants agree that the Bible is God's written Word. Catholics and Protestants agree that Catholic doctrines and dogma are written by leaders of the Catholic Church.
The two groups disagree on whether the Catholic doctrines and dogma are divinely inspired or not, and their relative importance. Again I will just go back to asking, IF there are inconsistencies between the Bible and other teachings, what would we believe? What would we choose?
Thanks again so much XXXX, for hearing me out on this (and emailing me and ---- in the first place) :) i really appreciate it :) ei, let's not fight ok! (the debate in http://www.scripturecatholic.com/mary_qa.html was really getting personal. love as God loves!)
thanks and see you around! may God continue to reveal more of Himself to us as we walk with Him every moment :)