Not So Tough Questions About Scripture
At a Catholic web site I came across page that was labelled: "Tough Questions About Scripture" [TQAS]. The polemic challenge opens with these words:
The questions below are impossible for a believer in sola scriptura to answer, since no verse or combination of verses in Scripture provides the required information. Though every sola scriptura Christian interprets Scripture in a slightly different way, nearly all Christians, Catholic, Protestant, fundamentalist, or evangelical, hold a common set of beliefs about the faith, beliefs which Catholics know to be true because of the testimony of living Sacred Tradition, but which other Christians simply accept on faith, sometimes with no real Scriptural support at all. The topics presented below are of this variety - they are held to be true by almost all sola scriptura Christians, yet no Christian can demonstrate from Scripture why it is that he or she believes such a thing, since no verse or combination of verses in Scripture teaches the belief. - TQAS
Catholicism maintains an endless attack on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It has to, for so much of Catholic doctrine and practice cannot be shown to be biblical. In order to protect these uniquely Catholic doctrines and practices, Rome has chosen to give them authority equal to Scripture - along with the teaching of the infallible Magisterium. This article is an attempt to show that Bible beliving Christians couldn't possibly know anything without the infallible Magisterium of the Catholic Church and her [so called] "Sacred Tradition." A few of challenges and my responses follow:
Ex nihilo Creation: All Christians know that God created the world out of nothing, but the Protestant Scriptures do not say this anywhere. Some of the Bible commentaries on Genesis 1:1-2 assert that the Hebrew phrase, "the earth was a formless waste and darkness was on the face of the deep," was a Hebrew metaphor for ex nihilo creation, but the evidence in support of this assertion is not particularly compelling. Indeed, before the canon of Scripture was established, the earliest fathers of the Church had to make this point through reason alone to their pagan opponents. - [TQAS]
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [Colossians 1:16-17 KJV].
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were NOT made of things which do appear. [Hebrew 11:3 KJV] [My emphasis]
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. [Psalm 90:2 KJV]
The revelation of Jesus Christ ended with the death of the last Apostle: The question is quite simple: is Scripture closed? For example, would God inspire the writing of any more sacred books today? While not all Christian denominations agree, most recognize that no inspiration coming to us after the death of the last apostle could qualify as Scripture. However, this idea of the closing of the canon of Scripture is not found anywhere within Scripture itself. It is an apostolic teaching borne down through the ages in the body of Sacred Tradition guarded by the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, the Magesterium - [TQAS]
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. [Revelation 22:18-19 KJV]
Sounds pretty closed to me.
Provide the name of the "beloved disciple": Remarkable, but true. The only reason we know the beloved disciple was John, the author of the Gospel, is through Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium. It is to be found nowhere in Sacred Scripture - [TQAS]
A verse no, but I can use what Scripture tells me and figure it out easily enough!
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? [John 13:23-25 KJV]
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? THIS IS THE DISCIPLE which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true .[John 21:20-24 KJV) [My emphasis]
Let's see, this is the Gospel of John one of the sons of Zebedee who is spoken of as the disciple that Jesus loved who testifies that he IS that disciple. Gee, and I figured it out without the help of "Sacred Tradition" or the infallible Magesterium!
Provide the names of the authors of Matthew's Gospel, Mark's Gospel, Luke's Gospel, John's Gospel, or the Acts of the Apostles: Again, Scripture doesn't tell us that the Gospel of Matthew, for instance, was written by Matthew. The titles to the Gospels are known to us only through Sacred Tradition - Scripture doesn't say who wrote any of these listed works. Likewise, the chapter and verse divisions are traditions of men, chapter divisions being added in 1206 A.D. by Stephen Langton, a professor at the University of Paris and subsequently Archibshop of Canterbury and a cardinal, while the verse numbering was added in the sixteenth century in order to assist in mechanically printing the text. The final form of the verse numbering scheme was set by Robert Etienne, also called Stephenus, in 1551 A.D -[TQAS]
This is question on the names of the books of the New Testament is so irrelevant that I won't even try to refute it. I mean, WHO CARES what the names are? It is enough that we know the name of the Author - The Holy Spirit. But I do want to address and CORRECT that last part about chapter and verses.
On page 545 of the 1771 edition of the Encyclopedia Britanica, one might read: "But the true author of the invention [i.e. the paragraphs] was Hugo de Sancto Caro...This Hugo flourished around 1240". Note: Hugo was the first Dominican to become a cardinal. He divided the chapters into A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H in each book so they weren't "chapters" as we know them . But see how Rome usurps the Jews. For it was a JEW who gave us the verse numbers!
Further down page 545 we read: "The subdivision of the chapters into verses, as they now stand in our Bibles, had it's original from a famous Jewish Rabbi, named Mordecai Nathan, about the year 1445."
Explain the doctrine of the Trinity: Once a Christian has the doctrine of the Trinity, Scripture can be found to support it, but no verse or combination of verses in Scripture tells us that God is one in divine nature having two processions between three Persons in four relations, each Person wholly and entirely God, all co-equal, co-eternal, none sharing the divine nature, but each possessing it totally unto Himself, the Godhead having but one divine intellect and one divine will.
How about this?
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. [Galatians 4:6, KJV]
The Bible teaches the Godhead. Each person, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are referred to as God. And God says of himself, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:" [Deuteronomy 6:4] So if there is only one LORD, which is Yaweh, who is GOD ( all capitals of the word "lord" in the KJV is in place of the Name of God; YAWEH), and the Father, Son and Spirit are all God then there must be a tri-unity of the three for there is only one God.
We baptize in the NAME (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, not in their Names (plural) which testifies that they are One. OR, Rome has got that screwed up too and the Godhead is somehow different than as she teaches. I don't think that we will understand completely until we are in heaven.
Soli Deo Gloria