Online Discussion Forum
Ronald vs. Richard a protestant Catholic debate.
Sola Scriptura is it correct or incorrect?
RON'S OPENING STATEMENT: Hello. I am a former Catholic that simply got to studying Scriptures. It is so easily for one to see that Sola Scriptura is indeed Biblical. I present three places in Scriptures that provide
good evidence for this, more if needed.
First, Paul stated in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, that the Bible is God's word not the work of men. I'd like to add this would include any group of men as well.
Secondly: 1 Timothy 3:15-17 tells us, "and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Note what it
says: 1- We are wise for salvation.
2- It gives us the mentioned tools so that we are complete, and 3 - thoroughly equipped for what? For every good work.
The third point is that we are told in Revelation 22 not to add or subtract from Scriptures.
Finally in Matthew 22:29, the fourth point is when Jesus makes the remark of "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." That principle is still there for us today. God hasn't
When you combine the four points one can clearly see that nothing else is comparable for authoritative decision making in the Godly manner, nothing.
# # # #
RICHARD'S OPENING STATEMENT: Richard’s opening comments: First I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Kempen for opening up his website for this debate. I believe it is always good to try to open up dialog between differing
beliefs in the hopes that something good and Godly may come of it.
My name is Richard Breedlove and I am a lay apologist in the diocese of Spokane. However I have not always been a Catholic, I in fact was raised in the assemblies of God tradition. When I was
a teenager and young adult I fell away from ANY kind of Christian faith, I most especially had distaste for the Catholic Church. Anti-Catholicism is a main dish in many assemblies of God Churches. In my late
twenties I had a re-conversion one could say, back to Christ. I knew I wanted to go to Church, I knew I wanted to worship God, but the question was… Where and how? I had many co-workers who were
Christian and they all said the same thing. “Read the Bible, it is the word of God.” But nobody could sufficiently answer my question. “How do you know it is the word of God?” They would of course
respond “because it says so, it says that it is the inspired word of God.” ….But here is the problem. A Christian who says that the Bible is the inspired word of God (which I agree with) is still only stating
there own subjective opinion. After all why are they any different than people in other faiths who say the same thing, like the Hindu Vedas, or the book of Mormon? They both say they are inspired by God.
How is a Christian’s opinion any different than there’s? How is one to TRULY know the truth? Where is the objective truth, Gods truth? We can’t simply say that the Holy Spirit has inspired us to know
because that is no different than the Mormons “burning in the bosom” proof. In the eyes of a non believer it is nothing more than individual subjective opinion. And this was my dilemma, my search for truth, for
authority. Where did the Bible come from? (Something many Christians never think about) and by who’s authority? I think this will lead nicely into our debate “Sola Scriptura, correct or incorrect?”
First I would like to say that I as well as all Catholics believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, but that is not the question. The question is. Is the Bible all we need for salvation? Is the Bible
the sole rule of faith for a Christian? I believe the answer is no, it is not. First, if the Bible is the sole rule of faith for a Christian than it should say that somewhere, anywhere, in the Bible, and it does not. The
verses Mr. Kempen quoted do not support sola scriptura and we shall see why. Let’s look at 1 Thess 2:13. Mr. Kempen says, that it says “the Bible is Gods word not the word of men” First the word Bible
is not found in scripture. The word was attributed to it later. It comes from the LATIN “Ta Biblia” which means “the books” The verse actually says. “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” It says that the word of God is
what you HEARD from us. There is no mention of the written word in that verse. This is in reference to ORAL tradition or teaching. 2 Thess 2:15 says “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions
which you were taught by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or by letter of ours.” Mr. Kempen’s quote does not support sola scriptura. But it does fit perfectly with Catholic theology. Let’s look at 1
Timothy 3:15-17. First that verse says that it is “profitable” and that we may be” complete” for all good works. “Profitable” is not the same as “all inclusive” and good works alone cannot save us. Plus if we
read that in context we can clearly see that Paul is not talking about the New Testament. He says “the scriptures you have known since childhood” Very few of the N.T. books would have been written when
Timothy was a child, and they most definitly were not compiled into the Bible. Paul is referencing the O.T... I don’t think Mr. Kempen would say that the O.T. is sufficient for a Christian. Mr. Kempen quotes
Rev 22 that we are not to add to or take away from the scriptures. I agree. However it actually says “this book” the book of Rev. to be precise. Once again he quotes a verse out of context. It seems that
possibly Mr. Kempon may have quoted that insinuating that the Catholic Church has done that when in fact it has not. Martin Luther did to both the old and New Testament but we can leave that for another
debate if he would like. And finally Mathew 22:29 There is absolutely nothing in that verse to support sola scriptura. Nowhere does the Bible say that all we need is the Bible. Nowhere. If it was to be
Christ’s plan that the Bible was to be the sole rule of faith for Christians than one would think that it would be written somewhere in scripture, but it is not. Christ does not anywhere command the apostles to
write anything down. He commanded them to teach and preach. The great commission states “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I will be with you always, to the close of the age.” Mathew 28:19-20
Another problem with Sola Scriptura is that the Bible itself does not say which books belong in the Bible and which do not. There were many, many, false gospels floating around in the first three
centuries of Christianity. How do we know that the ones that are in the Bible are the infallible word of God? The table of contents is not inspired scripture. By who’s authority does one believe this? By who’s
authority was this decided? Because it cannot be the Bible’s authority. The Bible does not list them. Also the Bible did not exist as we have it today until 397 A.D. So how did the first three centuries of
Christians get saved if they had no Bible for themselves to read and decide for themselves what is true or not true? In addition to this, once the Bible was formed t it was not available to the general public.
Why? Because there was no printing press. The scriptures were normally copied onto “vellum”. It took approximately 250 sheep to provide enough vellum to form one Bible, and about twenty five years to
copy one. By today’s estimates one Bible would cost around $100,000.00. It was not until the printing press was invented in 1450 that the Bible began being printed in quantity for everybody, and it was
sponsored and payed for by the Catholic Church. Why would God establish a book that all would be saved through if it would not be available for everybody for about 1400 years after Christ’s ascension?
What about those poor souls who were unlucky enough to be born before the printing press? This makes no sense.
Another problem with Sola Scriptura is that it is NEVER just scripture. It is always scripture PLUS someone’s personal interpretation. That is why there are over 30,000 protestant denominations
all claiming to go by the Bible alone, all with differing interpretations, all claiming to be led by the Holy Spirit. Yet no two are exactly alike. This alone should disprove Sola Scriptura.
If one reads the scriptures honestly. One will find the fact that Christ founded a Church, a Church with authority. That same Church compiled and protected the scriptures throughout the centuries.
And that is why we have a Bible today. It was the Bible that came out of the Church that Christ himself founded. The Church did not come out of the Bible. This is historical fact. If one accepts the authenticity
of the Bible that they read, then they accept the authority of the Catholic Church, because it was that authority that gave it to us. Sola Scriptura is not God’s plan.
1. Sola scriptura is not found in scripture. So in essence it cancels itself out.
2. The books in the Bible are not found in scripture.
3. The Bible was not even available for everybody for about the first 1500 years.
4. It makes no sense.
5. It does not interpret itself.
Sola Scriptura is a non-Biblical tradition of men that was spawned by mans own selfish pride, so that he can give himself the final authority on God’s word. There is a reason pride is listed as one of the seven
# # # #
RON'S RESPONSE: Hello, I’d like to address the opening statements of Richard in my first response here. First I’d like to hear how he can explain his contradictory stand where he begins by saying that, “I would like to say
that I as well as all Catholics believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God,” But then his argument shows that he actually believes his church was responsible for it. Basically he’s thinking, “The teaching of
the Catholic magisterium is the infallible rule of faith.’’ But this goes back to the Catholic mis-interpretation of Matthew 16:18 and the statement that Jesus made of how the gates of Hell would not prevail
against His Church, and which never says about Peter being the Rock or that Peter would build the Catholic Church. Is he suggesting that even though God’s ways are so far above our human ways, that a
group of men is therefore able to be like God or to decide and override His word? In mentioning the many denominations at odds, one must see that Jesus never started a denomination. His church is with all
believers and only believers.
Secondly although he says that he believes that it to be the inspired word of God, he questions “How do we know what Books should be in there?” If it is the unerring word of God why not trust it and
use it as Proverbs 30:5 tells us: “0very word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” or as Psalm 119:105 says that “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” If it is
the unerring word of God why not learn from the past as it, the Bible, says but then learn what His word prophetically tells us as the Books of Daniel and Revelation do in that they are very prophetic
about what is about to happen on Earth today. We cannot change the past, but we can prepare for the future. God took care of the past. The Bible is filled with prophesies for today and tomorrow.
I know this is a little off the subject but it is relevant to the very point
of if his church was God’s church, then why does it stick to the symbolism interpretation of the books of Daniel and Revelation with their replacement theology instead of preparing its members with the
details? But no, they’d rather focus on just the "how do we know"
ideas when we already agree that it is the word of God.
The fact that there was no “bible” does not mean that we would never have one, but rather the oral teachings and traditions would also be centralized in due time for everyone to know the same things so
we could test all things because of the many deceptions already out in the world.
In continuing on Richard’s theory of what about those that never had the Bible, and only had sacred tradition, I simply say Sola Scriptura is not a denial that historically God's Word came in other ways
other than the written form. Before writing down His message, God spoke through the apostles and prophets, and personally in Christ Jesus, His Son. During the same time the Holy Spirit moved holy men to
write down His Word to be the permanent inspired record of His message for the post-apostolic age till the end. The apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church with Christ as the chief
cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) With the those being absent we can still build our lives on their teaching which is recorded infallibly in the Holy Scriptures.
In closing I point out that Jude three tells us that “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” The Bible is the one time summarizing of God’s transmitting his will and
ways to Man. What would Richard like to add to it that carries the same clout as His written word? 'Sola Scriptura' is not whether the Bible is the infallible Word of God or not (we all agree that it is). The
question is whether the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith or not; whether we should add something else of equal authority along with the Bible and if so, what would that be?
# # # #
RON'S FINAL NOTE: It has been several months and I have not had a response from Richard since my last post, so this discussion may be complete.