Monday, September 12, 2005

Do Protestants value Scripture more than Catholics?

This claim (paraphrased) was recently made by a Protestant antagonist, which was so ridiculous, I couldn't let it pass without a response:
"Protestants value Scripture more highly than the Catholics, because Catholics reject the Protestant doctrine of "Bible alone" as the sole authority"
This isn't a convincing argument, because those that value Scripture, must also value tradition as the means of receiving the deposit of faith. To reject "tradition" (Gk "paradosis") as non-authoritative is to de-value Sacred Scripture, since St. Jude (Jude 3) asserts that the deposit of faith is handed on or delivered (Grk "paradidomi"), which literally means that it was "traditioned" to the faithful.

According to Vine's Expository of New Testament Words (Protestant source):

paradosis "a handing down or on" (akin to paradidomi, "to hand over, deliver"), denotes "a tradition"

St. Paul tells us that we are to shun those who do not hold fast to the tradition (Gk "paradosis") that has been taught (Gk "paralambano") by the apostles (cf. 2 Thess 3:6). Moreover, according to Scripture, these traditions are both oral and written...

"So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions (Gk "paradosis") that you were taught (Gk "paralambano") by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter" (2 Thess 2:15).

According to Thayer's Lexicon (Protestant source):

paralambano: to receive with the mind 1) by oral transmission: of the authors from whom the tradition proceeds 2) by the narrating to others, by instruction of teachers (used of disciples)

So, in past discussions with Protestants, I've explained that tradition is an "extra biblical help", the instruction of lawfully ordained pastors handed on throughout Christian history which help us to understand the true deposit of faith handed on by the apostles.

Then I point out that Protestants too use "extra biblical helps" in their attempt to understand the teachings of the apostles. For example, the preface to my Protestant KJV Bible recommends extra-biblical "study helps" to better understand Scripture, affirming that ...

"The reader will want to keep in mind as well. In no instance, however, has the emerging light from these extra-Biblical sources ever done violence to or disturbed the central message of the eternal Word of God. These helps only serve to illuminate and make the brilliant gems of truth even brighter." (The Open
, preface, Authorized King James Version, Thomas Nelson, Publishers, 1975).

I find the above admission rather revealing. Catholics have always contended that the "extra-Biblical study helps" of Catholic tradition has "in no instance ... ever done violence or disturbed the central message of the eternal Word of God." But instead, Catholic traditon "only serves to illuminate and make the brilliant gems of truth even brighter."

It seems that when Protestants use "study helps" from "extra-Biblical sources" they "only serve to illuminate and make the brilliant gems of truth even brighter." Yet, when I say the same thing of the "extra-Biblical source" of Catholic tradition, my Protestants friends charge me with following "traditions of men" instead of the "Bible alone." They claim for themselves that they "value" Scripture more. I don't find such a rebuttal at all convincing, however, as I see the hypocrisy behind their charge.

The fact is, they don't actually use the "Bible alone" as they often assert, but also use the "traditions" or the "extra-Biblical study helps" that they choose to believe, novel as they are, whereas I use the ancient traditon or "extra-Biblical helps" that I find more compelling and believe more convincingly describes the intent of Sacred Scripture.

God bless,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super post! Keep up the good work!

Best Wishes,

6:13 PM  
Blogger mike said...

There was never a clear unanimity in the early church concerning the canonicity of the Apocryphal books which are included in the Catholic church. It might surprise you that Origen supported his famous damnable doctrine of the preexistence of human souls from both Philo as well as texts as 2 Enoch 23.5, Enoch 70.4, Wisd. 8.19; 15.8 etc.

3:20 PM  

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