Apologetics for the Masses #236 - Blue Collar Apologetics (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

I want to float an idea out to you guys and see what you think about it.  In addition to continuing to give my regular talks that I do at various parishes and conferences around the country, I've been thinking about developing an apologetics seminar that I could do at parishes.  The thought is to come out Friday afternoon, do the seminar for a couple of hours on Friday night, and then start Saturday morning and go until late Saturday afternoon (with a break for lunch).  Instead of just giving talks, I would be talking about how to actually do apologetics - which I do in my talks but this would be a program geared towards training the attendees to be Catholic apologists.  Giving real life scenarios, taking questions, asking questions, giving feedback, letting you give me examples of what you have been asked by others and then working through a response - it would all be very interactive.  Basically an apologetics training seminar.  Instead of charging the parish a speaker's fee, I would charge each person $50 for the seminar and put it on once we had some minimum number sign up - maybe 50 people or so.  And, I was thinking maybe charging $50 for the 1st family member, $25 for the second, $10 for the third, and the rest would be free.  I don't have it all mapped out in my head yet, but I just wanted to foat the concept to see if you guys would be interested in attending something like that at your parish, and if you think your pastor might be interested in having something like that at your parish?  Let me know...


More of my book - Blue Collar Apologetics...

Blue Collar Apologetics - Chapter 3 (cont'd)

Sola Scriptura - The Perspective Provided By Scripture (cont'd)

Now, a few more Scripture verses that I wish to discuss which further damage the Sola Scriptura argument.  These are verses that show, very directly and very clearly, that the Catholic teaching on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition - as both being necessary, as both being part of the deposit of faith, as both being the Word of God - is true.

Listen to the Word of God in regard to tradition: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”  That’s 2 Thessalonians 2:15.  Traditions taught by word of mouth, oral tradition, and traditions taught by letter - written tradition, also known as “Scripture.”  Authoritative traditions that the Thessalonians are told to stand firm in.  

2 Tim 2:2, "…and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  Did Paul say, “What you have read in my writing pass on to others so that they may read it, too?”  NO!  What you heard from me, entrust to faithful men who will “write it down?”  No!  Who will teach others.  What we have here is an instance, in Scripture, of Paul commanding the passing on of authoritative oral tradition.  

1 Cor 11:2, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.”   The Corinthians are being commended by Paul because they maintain the traditions that he passed on to them.  Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

1 Thes 2:13, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers.”  So, they received as the Word of God that which they heard, not simply that which they read in Scripture.  

And, in Acts 2:42, we read that the first Christians were “continuing steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine,” or the “Apostles’ teaching”.  And that’s what Sacred Tradition is - the Apostles’ doctrine, or the Apostles’ teaching, as given to them by our Lord Jesus Christ.  These traditions, these teachings, are considered, as we saw in 1 Thes 2:13, not the word of men...not the traditions of men...but the Word of God.  

For non-Catholic Christians, the word “tradition” is almost like a curse word.  They cringe when they hear that word because they have been taught that Catholics believe in the traditions of men.  And, as they rightly say, Jesus condemns the traditions of men in the Gospels.  But, Jesus doesn’t condemn all tradition.  Nowhere does Scripture say such a thing.  Jesus condemns the traditions of men…and, not even all traditions of men, but, specifically, those traditions of men which negate the Word of God. Traditions, in and of themselves, are not bad things.  It’s when they negate the Word of God that Jesus has a problem with them. 

And, as we clearly just saw in several places in the New Testament, traditions that come from the Apostles – because the Apostles were taught by Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit – Apostolic traditions are not condemned in Scripture.  These traditions, these teachings, are considered, as we saw in 1 Thes 2:13, not the word of men, but the Word of God.

To wrap up this perspective on Sola Scriptura, as provided by Scripture itself, nowhere in Scripture do we see Sola Scriptura used as an operational principle.  Nowhere is anyone instructed to consult the Scriptures to solve a doctrinal dispute between Christians.  The one place I’ve mentioned where it is said someone went to the Scriptures, the case of the Bereans, was a case of verification - they were simply verifying that the verses Paul quoted were indeed in the Scriptures - it was not a case of using the Scriptures, and individual interpretation of the Scriptures, in order to solve a doctrinal dispute.  

And nowhere...nowhere!...does the Bible say that, as individuals, reading the Bible on our own, the Holy Spirit will guide us to an infallible interpretation of any and every passage of Scripture.  That verse simply does not exist.  In fact, as I’ve shown, there are verses that directly contradict that belief.  

Ultimately, under a Sola Scriptura system, any dispute between Christians - on matters of doctrine, on matters of morals, on matters of worship, on matters of anything Christian - comes down to this: My fallible, non-authoritative, non-binding interpretation of a particular verse or verses of Scripture vs. your fallible, non-authoritative, non-binding interpretation of a particular verse or verses of Scripture.  

And, in reality, the problem is even worse than that, because under a Sola Scriptura system, as I mentioned earlier, we can’t even be sure of what the Scriptures are in the first place.  So, it actually comes down to my fallible, non-authoritative, non-binding interpretation of a particular verse or verses of something that I think is Scripture, but can’t really be sure, vs. your fallible, non-authoritative, non-binding interpretation of a particular verse or verses of something that you think is  Scripture, but can’t really be sure.  

Sola Scriptura fails the test of Scripture.

Okay, here are a couple of questions you could ask Sola Scriptura believers: 1) Are you infallible in your interpretations of Scripture?  If not, will you admit, then, that you could possibly be wrong when you disagree with the Catholic Church’s interpretation of the Bible?  Possibly?  2) Can you tell me, infallibly, that my beliefs, as a Catholic, are wrong? If not, will you admit that there is a possibility my beliefs are right?  Try those out, and see what happens.


I hope all of you have a great week.  Please say a prayer for me, and for all the folks working on my upcoming television series on EWTN...we are starting to tape some parts of the segments this week.  


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Apologetics for the Masses