While surfing, I came across a Catholic web page that caught my attention. The page was an excerpt from what appears to be one of those pay-us-and-we'll-publish-your-writing books. The section was entitled “Tough Questions about Scripture.” The title piqued my interest, for I often find that Catholic commentaries on Scripture make for interesting reading – rife with eisegesis and downright lies, but interesting nevertheless. So I started reading, and was informed that it is virtually impossible to know anything from Scripture without the assistance of Rome's infallible Magisterium and what she calls “Sacred Tradition.”
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.
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. – Steven Kellmeyer, Tough Questions about Scripture, “Scriptural Catholicism,” PEC Pub, © 1998 Steven Kellmeyer
Some of the Scriptures that we “Sola Scriptura” Christians are unable to call upon to show that God created all that exists include:
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. - Hebrews 11:3 KJV [My emphasis]
Kellmeyer also offered his thoughts on the Canon of Scripture:
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 Magisterium. – Kellmeyer, Op. cit.
Do you reckon that Kellmeyer never read the Bible to the last page? Seems that way,
18 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:
19 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. His rant continued:
'"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" - Kellmeyer, Op. cit.
While no single verse makes a definitive declaration that the Apostle John was the author of the Gospel that bears his name, there is plenty of other evidence – not based on either the Catholic Magisterium or Sacred Tradition – that he was.
The author of this gospel is identified only as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). His knowledge of Palestinian geography and Jewish customs majes it clear that he was a Palestinian Jew , and his meticulous attention to numbers (2:6; 3:1; 11:1; 18:10) indicates that he was an eyewitness. This fits his own claim to be a witness of the events he described (1:14; 19:35; 21:24, 25). The disciple “whom Jesus loved” was part of the inner circle of disciples and was closely associated with Peter. The synoptic Gospels name this inner circle as Peter, James and John. Since Peter is separate from the beloved disciple, only James and John are left. James was martyred too early to be the author (Acts 12:1,2), so the Apostle John was the author of this gospel. This conclusion from internal evidence is econsistent with the external testimony of the early church. Irenaeus (c. A.D. 185) was a disciple of Polycarp who was in turn a disciple of the Apostle John. In his Against Heresies, Irenaeus bore witness to Johanine authorship of this gospel and noted that John lived until the time of the emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117). Clement of Alexandria, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, and others also ascribe this book to John. – Introduction to the Gospel of John, The Open Bible, Expanded Edition, ©1985, Thomas Nelson, Inc
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 Magisterium! Those who blindly defend Mama Church will likely be quick to argue that Irenaeus and the others mentioned above were Catholics and, therefore, their writings form part of that fancied Sacred Tradition. I would counter that while they indeed were early churchmen, their letters and other writings are historical documents written not to the Catholic Church, but to other early churchmen.
Kellmeyer continued his little game, but I see no need for me to continue playing with his ball in his court.
"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" – Kellmeyer, Op. cit.
My turn to serve!
This question on the names of the books of the New Testament is so irrelevant that I won't even try to refute it. Who cares what the names are? Kellmeyer claims that Sacred Tradition is the source of the names, but he offered nothing to substantiate that claim. On the other hand, I do want to address and CORRECT that last part about chapter and verses.
A friend of mine owns a three volume copy of the 1771 edition of the Encyclopedia Britanica . On page 545 one may read:
"But the true author of the invention [the paragraphs] was Hugo de Sancto Caro...This Hugo flourished around 1240".
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 actually "chapters" as we know them . This is another example of the way the Romish discounts the contributions of Jews, for it was a Jew who gave us the verse numbers! Still reading on page 545 of the Brtitanica we are informed that
"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.
Kellmeyer took back the serve with what I am certain he considered to be a final, crushing challenge to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, by implying that the Bible-believer's understanding of the Trinity is based on eisegesis:
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. – Kellmeyer, Op. cit.
Not to worry. Kellmeyer provides a uniquely Catholic explanation – in genuine Roman Catholic gobbledygook - of the make up of the Trinity and how it operates:
The Scripture passages for much of The Trinity, The Holy Spirit is God, Equality, and Procession comes from Scripture by Topic.
The Problem: Some self-professed "Christian" sects, deny the Trinitarian nature of God, Three Persons, One God.
The Truth: The One God is Three Persons in One Divine substance, having one intellect, and one will. Within the Godhead, the Person of the Father is unbegotten and does not proceed from any other Person. However, the Father eternally pours Himself out, eternally begetting the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the eternal and complete outpouring of love between Father and Son, eternally proceeds from the Father and (or through) the Son. The procession of the Son from the Father gives two relations: the relations of paternity and filiation. The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son also gives two relations: the relation of active spiration (the Father and Son actively spirate the Spirit) and passive spiration (the Spirit is passively spirated). Active spiration is opposed to passive spiration, but is not opposed to paternity and filiation, thus there are three opposing relations and three Persons. God is, therefore, one in indivisible Substance, containing Two Processions, between Three Persons, having Four Relations. This knowledge, available only through the revelation brought to us by Jesus Christ, is part of the inner life of God. - Steven Kellmeyer, The Trinity, “Scriptural Catholicism,” PEC Pub, © 1998 Steven Kellmeyer [Italics in the original]
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 Yahweh, who is GOD ( all capitals of the word "lord" in the KJV is in place of the Name of God; YAHWEH), 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