24 March 2009

Bible interpretation dodge #5 — Magisterium (NEXT! #8)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: We need the Magisterium to explain the Bible to us.

Response A: And who explains the Magisterium? And who explains him? And who explains him? (etc. etc. ad inf.)

Response B: Hunh. So, how did man succeed, where God failed?

(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature

152 comments:

DJP said...

FWIW, it is unusual to have two Next!s back to back (for me). But I am planning a post this Thursday on... well, you'll see. If I say it will cause an uproar, it won't, because I'm ALWAYS WRONG about such things.

So you'll just have to see, DV.

For now, talk about this, about how all manmade substitutes collapse on themselves, and about how important demo-work is in apologetics and evangelism.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

Does your church have a pastor that explains the Scripture to you? If so, then why isn't he superfluous, given what you say here?

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Benjamin Nitu said...

Why do they call the Bible God's word and God's revelation?
I guess He didn't speak clear enough and didn't reveal Himself well enough.

donsands said...

"We need the Magisterium to explain the Bible to us."

"Magisterium Sh-magisterium!"

Fred Butler said...

But what about all those denominations? How do you know Matthew wrote Matthew?

I thought I would get us started.

Matt said...

I love these pithy posts, Dan.

The same line can be taken on the issue of canonization. Those who insist that we need the church to create canon for us do nothing more than move the question back further - who gives the church authority to do such?

It's either sola Scriptura or de facto sola ecclesia.

DJP said...

PU — yes, I have a pastor. I know what his job is because God gave His word to the churches (not exclusively the pastors), and I am a churchman. And yes, he very ably explains the word in his preaching.

But he does not bind my conscience with an authority that is de facto superior to Scripture, nor am I dependent on (nor morally obliged to believe) him were he to "explain" to me how the Bible does not really mean what it says.

Christians are not enslaved to a manmade doctrine that involves a self-defeating infinite regress, as Roman Catholics are.

Chad V. said...

Who interpreted the scriptures before the Magisterium was dreamed up?

The Squirrel said...

Fred, you're evil! You know that, right?

(c:

The Squirrel

NoLongerBlind said...

P.U. (pun intended!)
- from the Word, here's why He provides pastors for His church:

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;" (Ephesians 4:11-14

At the same time, we, the individual body parts, are called to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21)like the people to whom Paul witnessed and taught in Berea who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (Acts 17:11)

Basically, God gifts some people to teach and explain His Word, but we are to make sure that they are doing it accurately. The Word is the reference point and Authority, not the extra-biblical traditions and teachings of mere men.

Frank Turk said...

Oh Dan ...

Catholic apologetics wear me out. And they will come out of the woodwork with questions exactly as misdirective as the one poised by the appropriately-named "P.U." who has already started the procession.

DJP said...

Good thing I'm a merciless taskmaster when it comes to keeping discussions on topic, eh?

Just wait until the next Next! or two.

(c;

Solameanie said...

If the Magisterium disagrees with a previous Magisterium, which one is right? Is it like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses, who constantly find "new light?"

Yeah, Joel is a troublemaker.

DJP said...

Thanks, Benjamin.

johnMark said...

Let me ask you this...why are so many "protestants" so friendly towards Roman Catholicism as if it's just another denomination? Is being "nice" more important than the Gospel?

Mark

Eric said...

Mark,

I would sum up the most common reason for this coziness with one word: Ignorance.

Frank Turk said...

jM --

They want to be loving.

The ones I just don't get are the White Horse Inn guys. They evicerate guys like Doug Wilson in absentia and they give a full hour to Anne Rice.

Just. Don't. Get it.

DJP said...

What?! Oh, my.

johnMark said...

Hey Frank,

Remember the good ole days of engaging RC's on that one website, C**M? Thousands of posts and hours...sometimes wasted. I'm glad that's over.

Eric,

I don't disagree, but the same folks don't want to be educated either.

Mark

NoLongerBlind said...

The "Ecumenical Theme Song":

We Are the World

(a.k.a., "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?") -- all under the authority of the (un)holy father and his legion of cardinals, of course.....

Eric said...

Mark,

To expound a bit on what I meant by "ignorance", I was referring generally to rank and file "protestants" that really are ignorant as to what the Reformation was all about, the depth of RC doctrinal error, and what "protestant" means. In that you say they don't want to be educated, I agree, and would then term that "willful ignorance".

Solameanie said...

Frank,

Maybe there's some kind of hidden or surreptitious symbolism with the Anne Rice thing. Catholicism's rather Gothic imagery, vampires and the like. Think of Christopher Lee being the allure of Catholicism's spirituality, while Peter Cushing is the Protestant who comes along with sober truth and a stake through the heart.

See what being home sick with the flu does to me?

Atone said...

Does your church have a pastor that explains the Scripture to you? If so, then why isn't he superfluous, given what you say here?

PU,

To echo what others have said a bit differently, the Evangelical concern centers around the Magisterium's authority being viewed as co-equal, or even higher, than Scripture. According to Scripture, I am commanded to go to my brother when I believe he errs. But under the Magisterium, that same privilege seems to be diluted at best and suppressed at worst. In other words, there seems to be a great deal of "traditional red tape" that's required to correct error, or to even bring it up for serious consideration by church leaders. The freedom we have in Christ is less free when we insulate ourselves with tradition in order to "protect" ourselves from the commands of Scripture. Peace.

Brad

Jugulum said...

johnMark,
Let me ask you this...why are so many "protestants" so friendly towards Roman Catholicism as if it's just another denomination? Is being "nice" more important than the Gospel?

Viewed in the best possible light:

1.) Some of those Protestants are being friendly toward Roman Catholicism, and are subject to that criticism.
2.) Some are being friendly toward (some?) Roman Catholics, with the assumption that there are people in the Catholic Church who do not understand what the Church teaches. (As James White puts it, people who are saved in spite of what the Catholic Church teaches, not because of it.)


And that does seem to be an important distinction to make in how we interact with Catholics. I'm not saying anything about exactly how that distinction ought to be applied in any given situation, or how that makes sense of the WHI's differing treatment of Wilson and Rice, but...there it is.

Doug Hibbard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnMark said...

Jugulum,

I do understand that and am just a little bit familiar (grin) with James White's position. I agree with him.

The problem is, despite accepting a particular Roman Catholic person, the treatment seems to be as if "I'm okay, you're okay". On blogs, the RC person is accepted and allowed to promote their "church" with no issue.

Take someone like Beckwith who wrote a book promoting Rome and his journey back to her. You can find protestant blogs quoting and promoting him, seemingly, without issue to his new found "gospel".

Tiring...

Mark

Stefan said...

There are, of course, certain quarters of the Protestant universe who insist that if an interpretation of Scripture is not warranted by one of the, ahem, magisterial Reformed confessions, it's not valid, and probably heretically "anabaptist."

Jugulum said...

Doug,

"Do we sometimes act like we have a Magisterium?"

Yes.

"That there are unquestionable church leaders/authors/preachers in Protestant or Evangelical-dom?"

Yes.

"But I don't think you'll convince very many people with a short response."

Right, but it's not intended to accomplish the persuasion. This whole "NEXT" series is intended to provoke thought. To respond to thoughtless assertions in a way that redirects the conversation, and causes people to re-examine some of their assumptions.

More particularly: These responses don't argue, "God did not establish & maintain a pure line of teaching authority." These responses point out the shoddy logic that Catholics sometimes use to defend the inherent need for a Magisterium.

In other words: They try to say, "It's impossible for fallible people to perfectly interpret Scripture, so we need an interpreter to explain it." But their premise is, "Fallible people can't interpret perfectly." And that means that we can't perfectly interpret anything that the Church says.

They can still argue that a Holy-Spirit-guaranteed Magisterium would help us arbitrate disagreements, and they can argue about whether the Bible points us to an infallible Magisterium. But they can't argue, "Scripture is inherently not-enough."

Chad V. said...

Stefan has a lot to learn about how confessional churches use their confessions.

BaseDad said...

johnMark
(Let me ask you this...why are so many "protestants" so friendly towards Roman Catholicism as if it's just another denomination? Is being "nice" more important than the Gospel?)

i now when i fell into this "trap" it was because teh RC was recruiting me. some of us are the only Christian at work etc. and there is a big push (atleast in my area) to call the RCs home. When i fainally realized he was attempting a conversion i sent him a copy of "the death cookie". sometimes i regret it and sometimes i dont.

BaseDad said...

point being, i think that the every day RCs are more confused (or completely unaware) about the differences, more so than the pew (er i mean auditorium chair) fillers

Jugulum said...

jM,
I do understand that and am just a little bit familiar (grin) with James White's position. I agree with him.

Heh. :)

The problem is, despite accepting a particular Roman Catholic person, the treatment seems to be as if "I'm okay, you're okay". On blogs, the RC person is accepted and allowed to promote their "church" with no issue.

Right. That crosses over into friendliness toward Roman Catholicism, and that's the problem.

I think that comes from a combination of:
1.) People actually believing that the RCC is OK. They should be rebuked and taught--what the Gospel is, and/or what the RCC actually teaches.
2.) People who don't think that the RCC is OK, and who are intending to be friendly toward a Catholic, but who don't know how to do it right. They fall into friendliness toward the -ism. They need practical advice.

It's a difficult balance to find.


BaseDad,
And I'd say that sending someone a Chick Tract is always a regrettable way of handling it. (Even if God rescues us, and brings some good out of it.)

Stefan said...

Chad:

Of course, there's all the difference in the world between the Roman Catholic magisterium and Protestant confessionalism, the former supplanting Scripture, while latter is derived from and is an expression of the teachings of Scripture.

I have carefully studied and affirm my own church's statement of faith, which comes out of a hundred-year-old line of such statements within our denomination.

And I have carefully read over and studied the Second London Baptist Confession as well, and consider it as my personal statement of faith (where it does not directly contradict my church's, and I have not yet seen such a contradiction.)

But perhaps you have not been unfortunate enough to visit certain Presbyterian "truly reformed" blogs to see how the value and worth of confessionalism is elevated to the level of authority, to the point that, for example, believer's baptism is rejected, not directly because it is (from their point of view unscriptural), but because the magisterial reformers rejected it (and their arguments from Scripture are uncompelling).

Stefan said...

Let my clean up my last sentence:

Believer's baptism is rejected not so much by arguments from Scripture, but by appeals to the authority of the classic Reformed confessions.

Jugulum said...

DJP,

Response B seems weak.

Response B: Hunh. So, how did man succeed, where God failed?

They're suggesting how God succeeds--through a continuing source of guaranteed infallible guidance, rather than a one-time sufficiently-perspicuous infallible source. If I were arguing from their side, I would see Response B as simple strawman--speaking as though the Magisterium is an accomplishment of man, rather than a work of the Spirit.

Rachael Starke said...

I think it definitely is helpful to distinguish between individuals who have converted from nothing to RCism, vs. so-called evangelicals who go "back to Rome". My dear husband was one of the former - raised in a Jesus-hating home, and was converted on Christmas Eve at a midnight Mass. He spent the first nine months of his Christian life being discipled by his priest. And in an interesting turn of event, when he started asking too many pointed questions about justification, his priest lovingly and calmly said that he'd probably fit better in his local evangelical church. So, he got saved there, but didn't stay there. When someone like Anne Rice, whose life was formerly characterized by such darkness, now suddenly talks about her new love for Jesus and others, that's my prayer for her too.

And as for the Magisterium concept, well, our family's been to enough doctrinally waacko churches, and waded through more than one brutal battle over the essentials of the faith, to find the idea of a group of leaders able to step in and bash a few heads together tremendously appealing.

But hey, if an appealing idea was all that was important, we'd be dyed in the wool OPC-ers, instead of, as Stefan so rightly indicates, anabaptist heretics. ;)

Jugulum said...

Er, clarification of my last sentence.

"speaking as though the Magisterium is an accomplishment of man, rather than a work of the Spirit."

Of course, I'm not saying that the Magisterium is a work of the Spirit. I'm saying that "man succeeds where God fails" isn't an accurate depiction of the notion of a Magisterium.

Chad V. said...

Stefan
I have visited such blogs, web sites etc.

I don't think they are using their confessions in a magisterial fashion.

BTW I see that you said that you use the second London Baptist Confession and consider it as your personal statement of faith where it does not directly contradict your church's statement. Even though you don't see a contradiction as of yet when you do find one your remark sounds a bit like you would side with your churches statement over the confession simply because it's the statement of your church.

Be careful that you don't fall into the trap of using your church's doctrinal statement in the manner you accuse some in the reformed camp of doing.

Frank Turk said...

DJP:

Mike Horton did a full show with Anne Rice after her "reconversion" to Roman Catholicism. I wrote them some e-mail about it and got cordial replies, but to this day I am puzzled over their seeming-embrace of her as a convert to Christianity, and their plain vilification of other people.

naturgesetz said...

@ Matt — Who gives the Church the authority? God does. As in Matthew 16:18-19, 18:17-18, 28-20; Luke 10-16; 1 Timothy 3:15
Doubtless you can explain away each of these verses to your satisfaction, just as the homosexuals explain away each verse which on its face refers to homosexual activity, thus avoiding their plain meaning and cumulative effect.

DJP
"[W]ho explains the Magisterium?" The Magisterium, of course. And therefore there is no infinite regress as you would try to have us believe.

"So, how did man succeed, where God failed?" God did not fail. The Magisterium is part of his plan and his success. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that the Magisterium exists and teaches authoritatively.

You admit the power of the Holy Spirit enabling men to write the word of God correctly. The same Holy Spirit has power to enable men appointed to the task to interpret that word correctly.

trogdor said...

"I'm saying that "man succeeds where God fails" isn't an accurate depiction of the notion of a Magisterium."

Sure it is. It's saying that God needs an interpreter to make his message understood.

God to the common man communications? According to papalphiles, it's impossible. God just can't do it. Epic fail (I speak as a fool, or worse, a pope).

But God apparently can communicate to a very select, supremely awesome group of men in robes led by Cap'n Dorkhat. And then these supremely talented folk are capable of taking that message and transmitting it infallibly to the ignorant masses.

God could not communicate to the ignorami directly. No, apparently he needed to use the magisterium. Where God fails, they succeed. Again, that blasphemy is their claim, and I feel filthy even typing it.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

Well, naturgesetz

You can't use scripture to bolster your position, you aren't part of the magisterium and therefore you are unable to properly understand it. So, you really can't see that those verses you cited lead to a magisterium because you really don't, by your own argument, have the capacity to understand them.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

Jugulum

This whole "NEXT" series is intended to provoke thought. To respond to thoughtless assertions in a way that redirects the conversation, and causes people to re-examine some of their assumptions.

Thank you! SO well said.

Chad V. said...

Stefan There is no love lost between us.

There is such a thing as truly Reformed and not truly Reformed and the line is too often blurred now a days so I actually appreciate the stand that these Reformed Churches are taking. But let's save that discussion for another time.

Jugulum said...

naturgesetz,
""[W]ho explains the Magisterium?" The Magisterium, of course. And therefore there is no infinite regress as you would try to have us believe."

The infinite regress comes when you try to actually read or listen to anything that the Magisterium says, and to understand it. If you read a magisterial document, how do you know that you're understanding/interpreting it correctly? (It's conceivable that you could ask them, and get an official magisterial infallible explanation. And then how can you be sure that you understand that correctly?)

Doug Hibbard said...

Jugulum---the comment I posted was deleted for a reason, and would you mind not picking just a few lines of it to interact with, since the whole thing's not there?

You seem to have misrepresented what I intended to say in general, probably because I didn't communicate quite what I intended, which is why I deleted the comment.


Thanks.

naturgesetz said...

Chad — cute but silly attempt at evasion

*You* have to accept the scripture and not attempt to weasel out of what it says.

And of course, taught by the Magisterium, I *do* understand what it says, whereas any contrary interpretation you come up with is merely the doctrine of men, even as I would be error-prone if I were to try to come up with my own interpretation.

Eric said...

naturgesetz,

You liken popish rulings to the writing of Scripture, which is infallible.

If popes are infallible, then how can they contradict past popes?

DJP said...

naturgesetz, you've stepped into a moderated thread. Welcome! But that does mean you don't get to dodge and invent topics.

So, you still haven't dealt with the post.

RC view:

The Bible: no one can understand it, we need the Magisterium

Magisterium: we can understand it

Conclusion —
Bible = communication failure
Magisterium = communication success

Blasphemy. THANK GOD it isn't where Scripture would lead any believing reader!

Jugulum said...

naturgesetz,

Your last comment is a good case-study.
"And of course, taught by the Magisterium, I *do* understand what it says, whereas any contrary interpretation you come up with is merely the doctrine of men, even as I would be error-prone if I were to try to come up with my own interpretation."

You say that you correctly understand Scripture because you are taught by the Magisterium. How were you taught? By reading infallible magisterial documents, or by listening to people who have done so, or to people who have learned from (fallible) individual members of the bishopric.

And why do you think that you can correctly understand the Magisterium, but you can't correctly understand the Bible itself? If you are a fallible, error-prone individual, why do you think that your interpretation of those documents or people is correct and not error-prone?

Or is it that you think the Bible is not clear, but the Magisterium is?

naturgesetz said...

Jugulum — your response is not about the Magisterium but about understanding in general. Your profound skepticism about our ability to understand the Magisterium is equally applicable to understanding anything else we read or hear. You can either follow you argument into utter skepticism about the possibility of communication or you can take a commonsensical approach supported by the fact that most of the time we seem to understand each other. When you admit that we are normally capable of understanding each other, and don't try to make a unique case for the ability to understand the Magisterium, your empty rhetorical problem evaporates like the morning dew.

Jugulum said...

Nature,

On extreme skepticism, you're absolutely right about the empty rhetorical problem evaporating like dew. That's the point.

So why do you insist that we can't understand Scripture without an infallible interpreter?

DJP said...

naturgesetz , you need to slow down, you're still not getting it. So your answers continue to be non-responsive.

(And folks, Calvinists shouldn't need to be reminded to pray for naturgesetz — but we do, don't we?)

Jugulum is correctly applying and dismantling the RCC's anti-Biblical position. The RCC advocates complete nihilism (for everyone except sect leaders) when it comes to the Bible, but complete perspicuity when it comes to the Magisterium.

Being a manmade doctrine, and opposed to Scripture, it collapses on itself.

DJP said...

tag

naturgesetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jugulum said...

P.S. Our understanding of Scripture will never be infallible, but neither will your understanding of the Magisterium, or our understanding of each other. But we can meaningfully say that we understand each other. Not infallibly, but sufficiently. Particularly when we have the Holy Spirit helping us each individually--not guaranteeing our infallibility, but working sufficiently.

Also: As I said before, you can still try to argue that a Spirit-guaranteed Magisterium would be helpful. But you can't say that we inherently require a Magisterium because of our fallibility. Because that cuts both ways.

Jugulum said...

Doug H.,

Remember--I posted my comment before you deleted yours! If I misconstrued you, I apologize--'twas not my intent.

I was agreeing that sometimes, Protestants effectively act like we have popes--people who we trust unquestioningly. But we shouldn't do that. (Which I thought was your point.)

naturgesetz said...

The thing about my correctly interpreting because taught by the Magisterium was a light-hearted response to Chad's silly attempt to disqualify me from quoting scripture.

The thing is, it isn't that the scripture is always obscure. But it is obvious that in places it seems that opposing interpretations can be argued with some merit. In other words, Scripture is not always perfectly clear. The Magisterium is not needed to tell us what every passage of scripture means unless some wacko comes along and starts persuading people with an off-the-wall piece of lunacy such as a pre-millenial rapture. For the most part scripture is clear enough. It is obvious, for example, from John 6 and the accounts of the Last Supper, that what has come to be called transsubstantiation occurs at the Eucharistic Liturgy. But when competing interpretations start disrupting the unity of the Church or novel interpretations go beyond the pale, the Magisterium is there to say ,"This is inconsistent with what the Church has understood. This is an incorrect interpretation. Here is what is correct on the question raised." As long as the faithful are all reading the scripture to mean the same thing, the Magisterium is not needed to settle the disputes.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Hibbard said...

Jugulum--

I'm not sure how you posted yours before I deleted mine, since I posted it, reread it, and then clicked delete. Of course, I've got slow internet, so the comment may have lingered for a year by the time the command executed. But I'll take your word for it.

That was a part of my point. The rest of my point just didn't materialize. And the parts you quoted were actually much of what I felt didn't adequately communicate my point.

naturgesetz said...

Jugulum — Thanks for your latest comment. I take your points.

What I would say is that not only would a Spirit-guided Magisterium be helpful, but God in his providence for the Church has given us one.

Jugulum said...

naturgesetz,

"What I would say is that not only would a Spirit-guided Magisterium be helpful, but God in his providence for the Church has given us one."

Which puts the discussion where it should be--which is part of Dan's purpose. Does Scripture teach us to look toward a continuing teaching authority in which the Spirit will maintain infallibility?


By the way, on the matter of obscure parts of Scripture: When I wrote my P.S. (timestamp 11:50am), I also started to write something like the following, but decided to leave it out for simplicity:

Also, our point is not that all Scripture is similarly clear, or that it does not require study. (The picture is not, "Me and my Bible alone in the woods.") It is not that all theological points are settled with the same clarity and ease. It is that the Bible is sufficiently clear. (There's a lot of specific things to be said about that, and I'm not going to try to capture it at the moment. But hopefully, understanding what we don't mean will help you move forward.)

Again, the discussion needs to go where it should be: What kind of clarity & sufficiency does the Bible claim for itself? What kind of teaching authority does it point us toward? What is the Biblical meaning of "tradition", taking out & examining the Catholic definition? (A definition which we argue is anachronistic.)

Jugulum said...

Doug H.

"But I'll take your word for it."

You don't need to. How could I have quoted any of it, if it weren't still up when I started my reply? :)

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

Thanks for your reply. I didn't see an answer to my question of why your pastor isn't *superfluous* if you don't need a magisterium to explain Scripture.

If on the other hand the relevant point of disagreement [with the Catholic Church] is not in the need for someone to "explain" Scripture, but in the claim to have the authority to bind the conscience, then the position rejected in the body of your post is immediately subject to the tu quoque reply.

So the dilemma your position faces is the elimination of a Protestant teaching office by the priniciple of parsimony or a tu quoque.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

No. My pastor does not bind my conscience and subject me to the living nightmare any Roman Catholic Christian would wake to — the "Who are you going to believe, the Pope or your lying eyes?" dilemma. My conscience, as one famous former Roman Catholic famously said, is bound to the Word of God.

It is one of many chasmic and fatal divides between Roman Catholicism and Biblically faithful Christianity. The latter notes that the Word of God was spoken to Christians, says "Amen," and gets on with it. The Roman must say "Here here! None of that!",and make away with it.

naturgesetz said...

DJP — I had not noticed your post of 11:33 before I posted my previous comments.

Let me try to state a little more irenically the point behind my comment of 12:03, and explicate it a bit.

It is obvious to everybody that honest people sometimes come to differing interpretations of some passages of scripture. the disagreements can seem so profound that people regard them as "church-dividing."

Your statement of the "RC view:

The Bible: no one can understand it, we need the Magisterium

Magisterium: we can understand it

Conclusion —
Bible = communication failure
Magisterium = communication success"
is an oversimplification and as such a straw man. The Magisterium is given by God so that in those cases where some individuals misunderstand scripture to the point of potentially dividing the Church, unity can be preserved by having the incorrect understanding repudiated.

December Sun Blog said...

An awesome reminder of the authority of scripture. Great post!

DJP said...

What I think you're not dealing with, naturgesetz, is that if these happens even once successfully and finally, then the RCC has succeeded where God failed.

That is, the Bible was insufficient and opaque, but the Magisterium (which has in fact ended up directly contradicting Scripture) is sufficient and pellucid. All praise to the Magisterium?

Not to the Christian.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

So how do you avoid the dilemma I raised? Either your pastor is superfluous (since you don't need anyone to explain the Scriptures), or your jibe at Catholics that they need someone to explain the Scripture to them applies also to you.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Mark B. Hanson said...

ng -

Problem I have with the "magisterium" has to do with the fact that is not actually a committee of people, but a theoretical entity, represented by certain scriptural interpretations made and accepted through the history of the church. The "magisterium" is really a set of creeds and documents and pronouncements. But where are these gathered together? If I have a question, is there a book of "magisterium" I can consult?

Where is the list of infallible interpretations? And does this list contain all of them?

DJP said...

P.U. — Easily. My pastor is "superfluous" to the binding of my conscience to God's truth like a Royal Coachman (trout fly) is "superfluous" to bringing down a grizzly.

It is — to coin a phrase — "above his pay grade."

naturgesetz said...

Jugulum — "Does Scripture teach us to look toward a continuing teaching authority in which the Spirit will maintain infallibility?"

I believe that in "He who hears you hears me" and the Great Commission, corroborated by Matthew 16:17-19, scripture does teach us that.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

So the "challenge" in the body of your post shouldn't be "We need the Magisterium to explain the Bible to us." It shouldn't be that, because you too need someone to explain the Bible to you, just not (in your view) an explanation accompanied by a binding of your conscience.

So the challenge should be something like "We need the Magisterium to bind our consciences". That way, you at least avoid the tu quoque.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

The Squirrel said...

P.U.-

We all need teachers, sure. But I want teachers who teach what the Bible says. I do not want teachers who teach the traditions of mere men. Especially when what those traditions are in obvious contradiction to the clear words of scripture.

When teacher and scripture disagree, dump the teacher, not the scripture.

The Squirrel

naturgesetz said...

DJP — what you're not dealing with is that many times people have disagreed so strongly over interpretations of scripture on points that they thought so important that they have divided from one another. If the scripture were as clear as you seem to be saying, I don't see how that could have happened. By your standard, as I understand it, it seems that God has failed.

But I disagree with your standard. I see these disagreements as evidence not that God has failed but that men have failed. God knew that this would happen, so he gave us a Magisterium as a corrective for those failures.

DJP said...

Keeping people from dividing is not my priority. Loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength is; and loving my neighbor as myself pulls a second.

With that priority, my concern is embracing the Scripture directly, truly, tenaciously, and in all its fullness; followed by a responsibility to make it known to others to the best of my ability.

Scripture itself lets me know in no uncertain terms that people will be offended at what it says, reject it, and hate me for affirming it (Matthew 5:10-11; John 15:18; 1 Corinthians 1:21-25).

Therefore it is sad, but proper, for Christians — who, by definition affirm the clear Biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone — to be marked off from all groups who deny that Biblical message.

Even if they hide behind a Magisterium to do it.

Principium Unitatis said...

Squirrel,

Of course the teacher must teach what the Bible says. But we have to be aware of the possibility of misinterpreting Scripture, so that we're not just following teachers who teach our own misinterpretations of Scripture. Protestants think Catholics misinterpret Scripture, and Catholics think Protestants misinterpret Scripture.

In order to figure out who is right, we have to examine the Scriptures together very carefully, especially in light of how the Church has always interpreted them.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

we have to examine the Scriptures together very carefully

But isn't that an exercise in futility, as long as the RC's conscience is bound the traditions of man? I have seen it literally countless times, equally with Jehovah's Witnesses and Roman Catholics: the Bible just cannot say something that contradicts the human authority — even when it does!

You've already ceded the Bible. The Magisterium overrules you. Why (I ask in a friendly tone) should I even bother to look at it with you? You "can't see" anything the Magisterium tells you isn't there.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

the clear Biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone

Is sanctification also by grace alone, or is sanctification not part of salvation?

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

It's off-topic, is what it is, and no point discussing it if the Bible isn't the Word of God speaking directly to your conscience and mine alike.

Stefan said...

Chad:

We could have a productive and fruitful discussion of this, but I agree that that's for some other time and place.

In fact, I had a long response drafted, but to extend our sidebar would just complicate the debate, and drain attention and energies away from the main point of Dan's post.

I'll wire you some flowers via FTD.

Daryl said...

naturgesetz,

If that is true, then why is there demonstrably as much disagreement among Roman Catholics as there are among Protestants?
And why so even among the changing magesterium from decade to decade?

Your portrayal of Catholic unanimity which should result from the magesterium is just not reality.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

You "can't see" anything the Magisterium tells you isn't there.

Of course you are presuming that the Bible teaches something contrary to what the Magisterium says it teaches. So you are begging the question in just the opposite direction.

In order for Protestants and Catholics to figure out who is right and who is wrong, and work out our disagreement (and this almost 500 year old schism), there is no way we can do it without talking to each other. If our positions entailed that we couldn't even enter into dialogue with each other, then we would be locked into a perpetual schism, apart from a miraculous intervention of some sort.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

Well now, P.U., that's quite an admission.

Most Roman Catholics won't admit, up-front, that what God is to the Christian, the Roman Catholic Church is to the Roman Catholic.

But you are right, the premises are as separate as Heaven and Hell. The Christian seeks to get it straight from Scripture, since what Scripture says, God says.

To the RC, if Rome says it, that's it. End of discussion.

Two entirely different religions.

Atone said...

It shouldn't be that, because you too need someone to explain the Bible to you, just not (in your view) an explanation accompanied by a binding of your conscience.

Not when Scripture alone is your Magisterium. It's the undiluted Word of God that's being appealed to here, that the Gospel is it's own authority.

You don't add a gallon of water to a glass of wine.

Doug Hibbard said...

Ok, here's my 2 cents worth, and I'll leave this comment undeleted so I won't be nitpicking Jugulum anymore.

1. We are fallible people. In fact, apart from the redemption of Christ, we're dead, spiritually. Being dead, we bring stink and corruption with us, including to Biblical understanding.

2. Even being made alive in Christ doesn't make us instantly perfect in our understanding, so we still bring the remnants of stink and corruption to our Biblical understanding.

There's two basic ways to handle the stinkiness of our involvement: have people that, in truth, have just as much tendency to bring stink and corruption as we do, tell us what the Bible means, and trust them completely.

The other option is to allow the Author of said Bible to work through His Holy Spirit and the text He inspired to correct our understanding, as well as speaking through the works of others. However, we still admit those others carry a little stinkiness with them, and can make mistakes, and so they, too, are subject to the text and the Holy Spirit.

One puts us back before God, trusting to His grace, His power, His work to help us understand. The other puts a layer of men in between, to help protect us from our own humanity.

Which sounds like eating fried chicken 'cuz the doctor said cheeseburgers are making you fat.

The Squirrel said...

Of course the teacher must teach what the Bible says.

That would be nice, but, of course, the RCC goes way beyond what the scripture says. The Bible says nothing about praying to dead people. The Bible says nothing about Mary being “queen of heaven,” nor anything about Mary being, herself, sinless, nor “ever virgin,” nor any other of the RCC doctrines concerning Mary. A bunch of popes have said it, it’s RCC tradition, but it goes way, way beyond anything the Bible says.

So, with what right do the popes speak, where the Bible is silent?

The Squirrel

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

since what Scripture says, God says.

Catholics believe this too. But we are not unaware that there are multiple interpretations possible. That's why it is important to make sure we get the right interpretation, and not misinterpret Scripture. That's why the early Christians looked to those to whom the Scriptures had been entrusted for the authoritative interpretation, as Tertullian describes.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Daryl said...

PU and naturgesetz,

As a Christian I have a responsibility to sit under Christian teaching.
That said, I also have a responsibility, where I see error to study as well and, if the situation warrants it, take my disagreement to said teacher and try to sort it out.
Again, if the situation warrants it I may have to remove myself from said teacher's authority in recognition that they are not properly instructing me in Scripture. A regrettable situation to be sure, but a real and biblical possiblity (people being fallen and all).

You however, have no such option. If the magesterium teaches something that is apparently in contradiction to Scripture you have no option of challenge or further study, they are, after all, the final authority. Luther proved that by attempting to right serious wrongs in the church and getting thrown out on his ear for his trouble.

So clearly the paster/magesterium connection just doesn't fly.

Given all that, how are you not putting the magesterium in God's place and how is that not blasphemy? (As has already been asked/not answered/asked/not answered)

Principium Unitatis said...

Daryl,

Evangelicalism has moved so far from historical Christianity that the idea of an authoritative interpreter of Scripture sounds blasphemous. But see the book by Keith Mathison (a Protestant) titled The Shape of Sola Scriptura, in which he argues against what he called solo scriptura. His article in Modern Reformation is available online; here it is.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Daryl said...

I'm not arguing for solo Scriptura, and in fact, you are arguing for solo magesterium.

The issue is not whether or not I may jettison everything the church has taught because "I see it differently". The issue is whether or not what the church has always taught comports with Scripture.

The Roman view is, if the magesterium says so, there is no other viable interpretation. That includes outright additions to the text.

But even in recognizing that in straying from what the church has always taught hugely places the burden of proof onto me, it is still true, that unless those authorities are appealing to Scripture in a way that allows anyone to examine their conclusions in the light of Scripture and then accept or reject their conclusions, the magesterium allows no such examination.

What they say is what God said, or so they teach. And yet, over the centuries, varies members of the magesterium have freely contradicted themselves with no reference to Scripture.

So my point still stands. Sola Scriptura, I recognize, does not mean that I can ignore everything the church has taught and come up with my own interpretation, it does however, mean that there are no infallible interpreters and that all interpreters are subject to the scrutiny of Scripture.

If you can't explain it from Scripture, I don't need to believe you. Which is why I do listen to the historical church to see what they believe, because the trustworthy ones never made proclamation without painstakingly bringing it all back to Scripture.

Would you agree that the moment they fail to do so (bring their conclusions accurately back to Scripture) we can all ignore those conclusions in favour of conclusions that do run back to Scripture?

Why then, does the magesterium not do so faithfully? And if they do, why appeal to the fallible when you can follow them all the way back to the infallible Scripture?

It's because you have, at least in practice, if not by admission, confused which teacher is fallible (the magesterium)and which is infallible (Scripture).

Sing-Along Steve said...

Do any of the Pope-lovers want to address why the infallible Magisterium under one "Pope" codified and solemnly pronounced one Order of "Mass" as absolutely binding and authoritative, while the current Magisterium is patently ignoring all of the egregious error in the modern Roman organization?

I thought they were all supposed to agree...

Hey, P.U., how about your beloved dead Papa John praying with pagans at Assisi back in the day and applauding them for invoking their false gods?

Where's the infallibility of the ol' Mag now? Oh, and if you try to give me any trash about "only infallible when he (or they) is propagating something as binding concerning faith and morals, I will laugh till I cry. How can praying in front of graven images and with believers in false gods in public NOT be considered a direction in matters of faith and morals?

Seriously, either give the world a Magisterium that has never ONCE wavered on doctrine, nor ever contradicted itself, or admit that your false religion is collapsing under the weight of its own absurd claims.

By the way, I AGREE that if there is to be any healing, there needs to be communication, so here goes:

REPENT. COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, THAT YE BE NOT PARTAKERS OF HER SINS.

How's that? God hates idols, with or without pulses.

Principium Unitatis said...

Daryl,

Catholics don't believe in "solo magisterium". We believe that the Magisterium of the Church, as the Catechism says, is the "servant" of the Word of God. (CCC 86) So we do not believe that by giving the authentic and authoritative interpretation of Scripture, the Church's Magisterium is taking the place of Scripture, or taking the place of God. In the same way that you believe that a pastor giving an explanation of Scripture is a way of serving God and serving Scripture, so we believe that the Magisterium giving the authoritative understanding of Scripture is a way of serving God and serving Scripture.

Protestants operate in a very different paradigm than does the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has always believed and taught that apostolic authority did not cease when the last Apostle died. According to the Catholic Church, that authority was passed on to the bishops whom the Apostles had ordained by the laying on of hands, and they in turn passed it on, and so on, to the present day. This is what we call apostolic succession. So, in the same way that the early Christians believed that what the Apostles taught was what Christ had taught, since He had authorized and sent them to speak on His behalf, so we believe that what the bishops teach is the faithful interpretation of what the Apostles taught, since the Apostles authorized and sent them to speak on their behalf. The Church has made many mistakes throughout her history, but we believe that she has never erred in what she declared to be doctrine in the areas of faith and morals. I have never found a contradiction between the Scripture and the doctrines of the Church. Protestants tend to operate in a "if you can't show it to me from Scripture than I don't have to believe it" paradigm. But that sort of mentality was not how the early Christians received the teaching of the Apostles, nor was it the mentality of the second or third generation of early Christians, as the example from Tertullian shows. It is a mentality that presumes that apostolic succession is false.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

...none of which matters, because you can't address the topic of the post, the point at which RC veers off from Biblical Christianity into damnable heresy: how can this manmade institution (Magisterium) succeed when God's Word failed?

How can it be sufficient when Scripture is insufficient?

How can it be pellucid when Scripture is opaque?

I won't let the discussion stray too far from that. It's the point of disconnect, and you can't deal (and haven't dealt) with it from an RC perspective.

Bobby Grow said...

I wonder if Protestants have their own magesteriums? (Just to clarify I am Protestant, even 'Evangelical').

Bobby Grow

DJP said...

Define "Magisterium" and, I think, you will answer your own question.

Principium Unitatis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Squirrel said...

Catholics do not believe that the purpose of Scripture is to speak to God's people, without the guidance of the Magisterium,

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The Squirrel

Bobby Grow said...

I wonder if Protestants operate with "interpretive traditions" (like Calvinism, Dispensationalism, etc.) without admitting that these indeed represent "tradition?"

The consequence: Protestants can function with their own magisteriums, that is if we don't admit we have "traditions."

Principium Unitatis said...

Squirrel,

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

There's your infinite regress, unless Christ Himself, the God-man, promises to pray for the unbroken rock upon which the Church is built, that his faith will not fail. (Matt 16:18, Luke 22:32)

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

jigawatt said...

Principium Unitatis

I've been wondering about this for quite some time and none of my Roman Catholic friends have been able to find an answer.

Can you provide a list of Scripture verses where the Magisterium has acted as an "authoritative interpreter of Scripture" and given an "authentic and authoritative interpretation of Scripture" along with the interpretations themselves? Obviously this list would have to be authentic and authoritative itself to have any real meaning, so please also provide the source for it's authenticity as well.

The Squirrel said...

P.U.,

Again, you ignore the problem of the demonstrable disagreements among different Popes, and the undeniably self-evident extra-Biblical teachings of the Magisterium.

IF the Magisterium has erred in its teachings, and

IF the Magisterium is your highest authority as to what Scripture really says,

THEN you’re up the creek without a paddle, because you now have nowhere to turn. You either become willfully ignorant of the fallibility of the Magisterium, or you must abandon the Magisterium.

The Squirrel

Sing-Along Steve said...

PU Bryan,

"that authority was passed on to the bishops whom the Apostles had ordained by the laying on of hands, and they in turn passed it on, and so on, to the present day. This is what we call apostolic succession."

Which "apostolic succession" is bogus, because there are HERESIES being taught by the Mag today that cannot, I repeat CANNOT, be supported by Scripture. Your claim that there is an infallible rock of apostolic authority is hogwash.

By the way, you very pointedly did not address a single thing I said. How do you explain the public and very open apostasies that have taken place as a result of the actions of bishops that you claim are infallible when they teach in union with their pope? Apostolic succession is a totally useless dogma if there is no guarantee that EVERYthing they teach and do is EXACTLY as the Twelve did.

Your so-called chain of infallible popes and bishops was broken long ago, but even the modern examples I cited are proof enough.

Oh, and another question: why do you still cling to the idea that your modern "church" is infallible when YOUR OWN bishops like LeFebvre and others have held to doctrines that the modern, post Vat-II church has abandoned? Who failed, the rest of the bishops who changed, or the ones who stayed faithful to pre-Vat-II RC theology and doctrine?

See, the idea of infallibility must necessarily imply a guarantee that the WHOLE body of bishops is going to remain faithful. How else can there be a unity of your faith? Authoritative doctrine by majority vote? Ludicrous.

Principium Unitatis said...

Jigawatt,

That's not how the Magisterium does it. It doesn't go through verse by verse and say, "Here's the authoritative interpretation for this one", "Here's the authoritative interpretation for that one", etc. Rather, it teaches doctrines, such as the deity of Christ, the two-natures in one Person of Christ, the Trinity, etc., as an authoritative theological structure within which the interpretation of Scripture is to occur.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Principium Unitatis said...

Squirrel,

Popes may, have, and do disagree with each other. That's not a problem in the Catholic paradigm. What *would* be a problem (in the Catholic paradigm) would be a contradiction between a doctrine (regarding faith or morals) taught formally by one pope and contradicted formally by another pope. That has not happened in the history of the Catholic Church.

undeniably self-evident extra-Biblical teachings of the Magisterium

Catholics are not Protestants. Catholics don't operate according to the "If its not in Scripture then we don't have to believe it" notion. Nor do we believe that such a notion is taught by Scripture. That notion is itself an extra-biblical philosophy brought to Scripture by some non-Catholics.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

andy spaulding said...

Wha!?!?

baptismal regeneration, the sinlessness of Mary and her perpetual virginity and assumption, purgatory, indulgences, the mass, the papacy, prayer to the dead, mortal and venial sins, relics, infused righteousness, my own merits playing a part in my salvation.

These and many other doctrines show that the magisterium has not got the first clue as how to interpet Scripture. I guess if I want to go to hell they could be an accurate guide.

One question for our RCC buddies. About 500 years ago at he council of trent "the magisterium" would have said I am a heretic doomed for hell. I was just wondering if you believe the same thing? Because PU keeps saying to us "the peace of Christ". How can a schismatic and heretic have the peace of Christ?

Atone said...

That's because Catholics do not believe that the purpose of Scripture is to speak to God's people, without the guidance of the Magisterium, in such a way that everybody can understand them.

PU,

Honest evangelicals take no issue with truth vehicles as long as they agree with Scripture. If the Magisterium fails this test it's useless. You claim it does pass, we don't...alright, let's move on.

So if we examine the Magisterium as lens by which we can truly see Scripture correctly what then are we supposed to do with its contradictions against Scripture, and against itself over the centuries? Do we just toss out plain reason because two bishops disagree on a major point of theology?

And I agree with your infinite regress argument, except that the true lens, the Holy Spirit always seems to get it right and given that he lives in the hearts and minds of those that are his...they tend to get it right too all without the help of extra additives or preservatives. Peace.

Brad

jigawatt said...

Principium Unitatis

Ok, then where is a complete list of the authoritative theological structures? Again, the list itself should be authorative, right?

Is any interpretation of Scripture correct so long as it abides by all the authoritative theological structures on said list?

The Squirrel said...

I said, "You either become willfully ignorant of the fallibility of the Magisterium, or you must abandon the Magisterium."

I present Brian as exhibit 1 of the former.

The Squirrel

(Funny, my verification word is "latin")

Principium Unitatis said...

Sing-Along Steve,

See, the idea of infallibility must necessarily imply a guarantee that the WHOLE body of bishops is going to remain faithful. How else can there be a unity of your faith?

The doctrine of infallibility does not require that every bishop is going to remain faithful. In the history of the Church (even the first five centuries) there were a number of bishops who fell into heresy. And not every vote at an ecumenical council is unanimous. But, we believe (as dogma) that the decisions of such councils are protected from error by the Holy Spirit, whom Christ promised would guide the Church into all truth. The SSPX bishops are in error, because they are in schism.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

The Squirrel said...

Sorry, "Bryan" not "Brian"

Principium Unitatis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

P.U. — I discourage "see this link" links as a rule, and particularly when they're to sites that advocate contrary to the Gospel. It isn't an exact science, but that's my call. You want to say something to our readers that is on-topic and within the scope of the posted rules, please say it here.

DJP said...

OK, we're back at least for a bit.

PU made a comment that I had to delete, giving another link to another advocacy cite. But I did want to reproduce in the main PU's comment, which I reproduce minus the link, but otherwise unedited:

Dan,

A thing can only fail to achieve purpose P, if P is its intended purpose. You are [seemingly] claiming that the purpose of the Scriptures was to speak to God's people, without the guidance of the Magisterium, in such a way that everybody can understand them. If that were the purpose of Scripture, then the imposition of a Magisterium into the process in order to help out Scripture would imply that Scripture had failed to achieve its purpose. But the whole challenge simply begs the question. That's because Catholics do not believe that the purpose of Scripture is to speak to God's people, without the guidance of the Magisterium, in such a way that everybody can understand them. We believe that Scripture was never intended to be read apart from the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

In addition, there is a qualitative difference between a living person and words on a page. Jesus isn't the Bible. Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity. The Bible is a sacred book that contains, in written form, the words of God. But the Bible is not itself God. So a book cannot talk with you the way a living person can, because the book is not a person. Fr. Kimel talks about that here when he quotes Chesterton in saying that you can't put a book in the dock. But you can put a living person in the dock. And that's why you don't have the "infinite regress" problem, because there is a qualitative difference between a book and a person.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

Then we're back to simplicity itself — if our concern is with God's express will.

For there is no record that He entrusted His revelation to a caste to keep it out of the hands of His children. The authority is in God, who speaks through His word. And to whom is His Word addressed?

Romans 1:7 — "To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints"

1 Corinthians 1:2 — "To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours"

2 Corinthians 1:1 — "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia"

Galatians 1:2b — "To the churches of Galatia"

Ephesians 1:1 — "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus"

Philippians 1:1 — "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons"

I could go on and on. God spoke "to the fathers by the prophets," and in these last days He spoke "to us in the Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2). There simply is no expression equivalent to "God spoke to A so that he could interpret it and understand it and tell His children what He meant." The word of God was addressed to His children. To get anything else, you have to bring it to Scripture, and force it on it, in a form of eisegetical rape.

So if Scripture reveals the mind of God, we're done.

But as you already said, you have an allegiance prior to your allegiance to God: your allegiance to the Roman sect, which stands in God's place. That is, of course, idolatry, Rome's long-standing sin. It is the very sin Christ, whose name you keep mentioning, denounced so soundly (Mark 7:6-12).

So I say to you in Christ's name: repent. Leave the traditions of men. Hear Christ's Gospel in Scripture alone. Come to Him, trust in Him alone for salvation, through faith alone, by grace alone.

No other Gospel saves.

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

I sincerely appreciate your concern for my soul. I understand that you think that I believe a false gospel, and that is why you urge me to repent. But the Catholic point of view sees things just the other way around. From the Catholic point of view, the Protestant 'gospel' is [insofar as it differs from the Catholic gospel] a false gospel, and Protestants are [in those respects] in heresy, having left the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that Christ founded.

So, just pounding the table and urging each other to repent isn't going to get us any closer to agreement. If Protestants and Catholics are going to be reconciled, it can't be by commanding each other to repent, or ignoring each other. We have to step back, so to speak, and together figure out the underlying reasons for our disagreement.

I think Scripture is quite clear that Christ gave some to be Apostles, and some to be prophets and teachers and so on. (1 Cor 12) Not everybody is an eye, not everybody is an ear, etc. The Body of Christ has a hierarchical constitution, just as a physical body has parts that differ with respect to their role and greatness of gift.

All the Scripture you quote were indeed directed to the believers in those churches, but by whom? By an Apostle. You seem to leave out the human author, as if God alone wrote the Bible. The Word of God always came to the particular churches in the NT era mediated through a living human voice, one who had been authorized by the Church for this purpose. These leaders whom the Apostles ordained were the ones the author of the book of Hebrews commanded the people to submit to and obey (Heb 13:17). And that hasn't changed, to this present day. Despite the problems in the Church of the 16th century, Luther actions were ultimately not in keeping with Heb 13:17. The Scriptures warn us about following those who "cause divisions" (Rom 16:17), who "despise authority", (2 Peter 2:10), and who "reject authority" (Jude 1:8).

Regarding whether the Catholic gospel is the true gospel, I'd be glad to discuss that, but it would take quite a bit of patience and commitment, because it is not a subject that can be hammered out in an hour or two through comboxes.

Thanks very much for the discussion.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

DJP said...

I'd be very sorry if anything I said gave you the impression that I'm looking for "reconciliation" with Rome, Mecca, or Salt Lake City. The reconciliation that concerns me most is between sinners such as you and I, on the one hand, and an infinitely holy God. Only the Gospel reveals God's single way to that grand reconciliation, and it is through Christ alone, in whom (without intermediaries or rituals) we find God in His fullness (Colossians 2:9-10).

I don't in any way leave out the human authors; I just treat them as God does. The words of the apostles are the command of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:37). When an apostle writes a church, God addresses the church.

Which reaffirms my point, dismantling the Roman insistence on taking the Word from the very hands in which God placed it.

Through the apostles' doctrine I have fellowship, not with another generation of apostles, but with God Himself (1 John 1:1-3). Rome has invented this game of "Telephone" by which successive encrustations and perversions are represented as "enrichments" of the original message. The Christian is the man who insists on going back to the message itself.

Bring us back to the topic.

Can a Christian hear God speaking directly to him through Scripture? Is Scripture sufficiently clear for him to understand God what God wants to say to him through Scripture directly?

naturgesetz said...

"For there is no record that He entrusted His revelation to a caste to keep it out of the hands of His children." — If that is intended to refer to Catholic doctrine it shows a stunning misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine and of what several of us have been saying here. That God's revelation is to be kept "out of the hands of His children" is not Catholic teaching, nor does it fairly represent what Principium Unitatis and I have been saying.

You may have demolished a straw man, but since you have not stated the Catholic position, you have in no way refuted Catholic doctrine.

DJP said...

Ah; then you believe that God gave His word to every Christian at large, and that He means every Christian to hear His Word directly, study it personally, and look to it alone to hear His voice of command, invitation, and instruction? You believe that it is sufficiently clear that any Christian led by the Holy Spirit can understand what God says to Him, directly, through its pages?

Mike Riccardi said...

Catholics don't operate according to the "If its not in Scripture then we don't have to believe it" notion. Nor do we believe that such a notion is taught by Scripture.

But how does that not open the floodgates? What stops me from saying that I'm the Magisterium? God, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, graciously guides all Christians in their interpretations of faith and morals ("into all truth") by me.

This is the tradition of my family, dating back to my ancestors in Naples, that Scripture doesn't talk about or support (but that's OK, because I as the infallible interpreter of all things sacred say that it doesn't have to). We've been doing this ever since the first century, but no one's been paying attention to us.

So, I assert that, based on the same principles of reasoning that you do, Bryan. And I, as the Magisterium, also declare you're wrong.

Principium Unitatis said...

Mike,

According to the Catholic Church, if a person does not have Holy Orders, he has no Magisterial authority. You would need a bishop to ordain you (preferably at least three, see the canons of the Council of Nicea 325) in order to become a bishop. Without Holy Orders, a person could claim to have magisterial authority, but would have none at all.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

naturgesetz said...

To amplify slightly my previous comment. Not only is it *not* the Catholic position to keep God's revelation from his people and reserve it to a special caste, but in fact the Catholic Church, from its founding has proclaimed that revelation in its liturgies. Once the scriptures were written, it has done so by reading them to the assembly of the faithful.

As for the perspicuity of Scripture, St. Peter says, "There are some things in them [St. Paul's letters] hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." If the Scriptures were as clear in their meaning as you would have it there would not be the "truly Reformed" and "not truly Reformed" churches that Chad V. spoke of. Once freed of the supposed false teachings of the Roman Magisterium, all Bible-believing Christians would be led into unanimity of understanding by the Holy Spirit who is poured out upon them. But it hasn't happened. So you can pronounce your own anathema on the ones who disagree with you, or you can admit that some things in scripture are sufficiently unclear that men of faith and good will can come to incompatible interpretations — which logically implies that some of them have fallen into error (despite being free from the doctrines of Rome).

Joshua said...

I don't support the need for a magisterium, but I do think Principium Unitatis had a good point in his first post. What can we learn? How often do we treat our pastor as the pope? If we voiced a concern over our pastor's particular interpretation of scripture, would we be chastised? Does the layman's voice have equal power? We have to be careful because we very often rely on the pastor's interpretation, funnel our views through his interpretations, and act like there is no other authority, or that his is the chief authority. In that regard, there's a point to reflect on.

naturgesetz said...

"Ah; then you believe that God gave His word to every Christian at large, and that He means every Christian to hear His Word directly, study it personally, and look to it alone to hear His voice of command, invitation, and instruction? You believe that it is sufficiently clear that any Christian led by the Holy Spirit can understand what God says to Him, directly, through its pages?"

I've already responded to the second question. As for the first one, St. Paul, in the passages you quote addresses sometimes the saints, and sometimes the churches. The Christian is to hear the Word of God in and in communion with the church. God did not intend is people to be lone rangers when it came to receiving and studying his Revelation. The church can tell the individual believer whether his understanding is inconsistent with what has always been believed as the faith delivered to the apostles. So scripture must be studied and understood in communion with the Church. Otherwise one runs the danger of inventing false doctrine.

DJP said...

That is an evasion of some pretty clear words. The Word is addressed to the churches, the saints, Christians — in general. Christian churches don't have priests, so naturally they aren't addressed to them; they aren't addressed exclusively to the pastors. Just to Christians, period. In church, sure; but not to a hierarchy, who then parcels it out to Christians in predigested, tightly-controlled, pre-interpreted portions.

At least, that's what we read in Scripture.

Mike Riccardi said...

According to the Catholic Church, if a person does not have Holy Orders, he has no Magisterial authority. You would need a bishop to ordain you (preferably at least three, see the canons of the Council of Nicea 325) in order to become a bishop. Without Holy Orders, a person could claim to have magisterial authority, but would have none at all.

Fine, but according to Church of Mike Riccardi, no such Holy Orders are necessary. In my Church, orders have to be presented by a Pizza chef (remember, we're from Naples) with my last name. Without those, your boys with the funny hats have no magisterial authority. They might say they do, but they really don't. Cuz remember, the Holy Spirit guides you all into all truth by me.

"I speak as if insane."

But be honest with yourself for a minute and grapple with what you're saying. There are no reasonable grounds upon which you can refute what I've said about the Riccardian Church unless you say, "Scripture, the very Word of the God you claim to serve, precludes that from being the case." If you appeal to other men, or any tradition, I can simply create my own tradition and assert my own authority.

Once you abandon the principle that the authority for everything belongs to the Scriptures alone, you insulate yourself against any question of your absolute authority. That makes what you're saying unfalsifiable. There's no objective standard of measure. Which means it's its own proof, which means it's no proof at all.

Principium Unitatis said...

Mike,

It is actually very easy to refute your hypothetical claim. I would do it exactly the same way Tertullian and St. Irenaeus refute the gnostic sects of their time (200 AD). Show me your list of bishops going back to the Apostles. See Tertullian's Prescription Against the Heretics, and St. Irenaeus' Adversus Haereses 3.3.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Mike Riccardi said...

I declare that my bishops don't have to go back to the Apostles.

naturgesetz said...

"That is an evasion of some pretty clear words. The Word is addressed to the churches, the saints, Christians — in general. Christian churches don't have priests, so naturally they aren't addressed to them; they aren't addressed exclusively to the pastors. Just to Christians, period. In church, sure; but not to a hierarchy, who then parcels it out to Christians in predigested, tightly-controlled, pre-interpreted portions."

Again, you oppose a position which is not that of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not teach that the words of scripture are addressed exclusively to the pastors, to a hierarchy which then parcels it out in the way you describe, nor does it behave in practice as if that were the case. Therefore you have not said anything against the Catholic position in your comment, only against a straw man of your own (or some other man's) invention.

Mike Riccardi said...

"Well then you have no Apostolic authority!"

Exactly! And neither do you. You say you do, but you don't show me any of the Apostolic record that demonstrates that.

And if you did, you'd then base your belief in a Magisterium based on the teachings of Scripture, which, then, your Magisterium says you can hereafter ignore and listen to them.

The formula is: Appeal to the authority that everyone knows you should be appealing to, then twist it to make it teach that it's giving all that authority to you.

How convenient!

andy spaulding said...

PU,

One pope(i dont know which one, i can find it if you like) said that salvation is found no where else but in the RCC, and john paul 2 said that many who are outside the RCC will go to heaven.

There you have it. 2 popes just contradicted themselves on an issue of faith.

Again 500 years again i would have been a heretic who would have been burnt at the stake, but now i'm just a seperated "brother." What has changed since this is both an issue of faith and morals?

Principium Unitatis said...

Mike,

I declare that my bishops don't have to go back to the Apostle

By revealing that your bishops don't go back to the Apostles, you reveal that your "declaration" has no authority. This was precisely the error of the Montanists and other gnostics of that time, and it is precisely why the Church has always taught that apostolicity is an essential mark of the Church. The bishops of the Catholic Church (and of the Orthodox Churches) all have valid orders that go back to the Apostles.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Principium Unitatis said...

Dan,

When an apostle writes a church, God addresses the church.

I completely agree. With that in mind, read the epistles of St. Ignatis of Antioch, who was martyred as an old man in 107 AD, and who wrote these epistles on his way to martyrdom in Rome. Notice how he enjoins the Christians to treat the words of the bishops and presbyters and deacons.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Mike Riccardi said...

Heh... call me a prophet.

Bryan: By revealing that your bishops don't go back to the Apostles, you reveal that your "declaration" has no authority.

Me: "Well then you have no Apostolic authority!"

Exactly! And neither do you
(your magisterium). You say you do, but you don't show me any of the Apostolic record that demonstrates that.

See the rest of my comment as it anticipated the response you gave.

Bedtime for me though. Proverbs 26:4-5 and all that.

andy spaulding said...

when the bishops, cardinals, and priests gave the orders for the crusades, the inquistion, and the burning of people at the stake what teaching of the apostles were they following?

Principium Unitatis said...

Mike,

I would provide the links showing the lists going back to the Apostles, but Dan asked me not to include links.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Principium Unitatis said...

Andy,

As I said above, the Church has committed many wrongs in her history. Peter even chopped off a guy's ear. (One of the conveniences of being a non-denom Evangelical is that one has no shameful events in one's tradition, because one's tradition has almost no history.) But we believe that the Church is a family (the household of God), and it is still our family, even in spite of those shameful events in our family history.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

KM said...

P.U.

In reference to this:

"All the Scripture you quote were indeed directed to the believers in those churches, but by whom? By an Apostle. You seem to leave out the human author, as if God alone wrote the Bible. The Word of God always came to the particular churches in the NT era mediated through a living human voice, one who had been authorized by the Church for this purpose. These leaders whom the Apostles ordained were the ones the author of the book of Hebrews commanded the people to submit to and obey (Heb 13:17). And that hasn't changed, to this present day. Despite the problems in the Church of the 16th century, Luther actions were ultimately not in keeping with Heb 13:17. The Scriptures warn us about following those who "cause divisions" (Rom 16:17), who "despise authority", (2 Peter 2:10), and who "reject authority" (Jude 1:8).

It seems to me that Martin Luther followed the instructions found in this scripture:

Matt.18:15-17
"If your brother sins go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as Gentile and a tax collector."

But the "he/him" that Luther and others regarded as a Gentile and tax collector after these things happened to be Magisterium.

Paul said that all things are lawful but not all things are profitable and all things are lawful but not all things are edifying and that we should seek out not our own well being but that of our neighbor. (1Cor.10:23-24 paraphrased)

This in my view is representative of what Martin Luther did and it was profitable.

You noted Hebrews 13:17 as a scripture he failed to keep. But that verse says:

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

If he were in violation of this then it would not have been profitable for him. But, he was successful in what he did so it was profitable for him, therefore either that scripture is wrong or that accusation against him is.

Principium Unitatis said...

KM,

In the Matt 18 passage the brother is not "the Church". You can't take the Church before the Church; that would make no sense. The passage shows that the Church has the last say. But it was precisely the Church that Luther rejected.

If he were in violation of this then it would not have been profitable for him. But, he was successful in what he did so it was profitable for him,

From the Catholic point of view, he was successful in creating a schism and a heresy. As for judging whether what he did was profitable for him, we would have to be able to see into the afterlife and the day of Judgment to determine whether it was truly profitable. Many people whom you would acknowledge as heretics live/lived seemingly decent lives (in this life). Man looks at the outside, but God sees what we cannot see.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

KM said...

I'm sorry. I didn't bring my comment back to the subject of this post so I will. Because of Martin Luther we now have the freedom as Prodestants to read the Bible for ourselves and hear from God through it ourselves without condemnation. The RCC members on the other hand also has the freedom to read the Bible for themselves and hear from God through it themselves too, but their leadership and teachings do condemn them for it.

Doesn't that invalidate what Paul said about all things being lawful? And, isn't it in violation of what Paul said about looking out for the well being of others over one's self to impose restrictions on others (the RCC lay church members) that one does not have to adhere to one's self (the magisterium)?
Are there positions in the RCC hierarchy that have greater authority than the Apostle Paul?

KM said...

P.U.

"In the Matt 18 passage the brother is not "the Church". You can't take the Church before the Church; that would make no sense. The passage shows that the Church has the last say. But it was precisely the Church that Luther rejected."

Martin Luther did not take the Church before the Church. He took men who were abusing their positions before the Church and you are correct in stating that the Church did have the last say. Just not the Church in your mind.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

Way, way up above, Chad wrote a comment that began:

"Stefan There is no love lost between us."

He was replying to a comment that I have removed and am reposting, with an edit for the record, as follows:

Chad:

Where's the love, baby?

Again, of course, I agree, in all seriousness, that there is a world of difference between the RC concept of the
magisterium and Protestant confessionalism.

I was
indicating in my last comment that I myself see the worth and value of confessionalism. My initial comment was meant to a lighthearted jab at those who divide the world neatly into "truly Reformed" and "not truly Reformed."

And do I really need to explain the hierarchy of confessions I embrace? Scripture first,
Sola scriptura, Scripture über alles. If the LBCF and my church's statement of faith contradicted, the question would be, does either contradict Scripture? Do they both contradict Scripture?

[Begin edit]

Does neither contradict Scripture, but they contradict in their application of Scripture?

[End edit]

If the latter, does it make sense that I would say that I hold allegiance to the LBCF over that of my own church?

I'd originally written:

Does neither contradict Scripture, but they contradict on something extra-Scriptural?

But I was writing in haste, not thinking how that question could be misread. I do not believe there to be anything in either confession that is "extra-Scriptural" (in the way that term is commonly used), nor did I mean to imply that. I was thinking more of questions of church governance (e.g., LBCF ch. 26, "Of the Church"; or for that matter, compare WCF ch. 31, "Of Synods and Councils"), the relationship between church and state, etc., where application is made from principles in Scripture, though not expounded in every detail within the pages of Scripture itself. Assuming both interpretations to be equally valid applications, it would be ludicrous for me to hold to the LBCF over and against my own church's statement of faith.

Sorry for this convoluted expounding a point that no one may have picked up on, but my conscience wouldn't rest until I cleared this up.

naturgesetz said...

KM "The RCC members on the other hand also has the freedom to read the Bible for themselves and hear from God through it themselves too, but their leadership and teachings do condemn them for it."

What you say is not true. The leadership and teachings of the Catholic Church do not condemn the members of the Church for reading the Bible and hearing from God through it. Whoever told you that about the Catholic Church was either mistaken or lying. Either way, the source of your false assertion is not a reliable source of truth. Flee that teacher of falsehood.

Frank Turk said...

I haven't finished reading the thread yet, but at what point is a Catholic advocate going to fully cite the Catechism rather than use his own fallible words to advocate for his position? I would think that this would be the place for the convinced Catholic to start: the actual arguments and teaching of the infallible Magisterium.

andy spaulding said...

PU,

You never answered my question about the 2 popes who contradicted themselves.

And you never answered the question about how magisterium said 500 years ago that i would be a heretic and schismatic doomed to hell. and now the magisterium(2nd vatican council) says i'm just a seperated brother. Do you see the contradiction?

But the RCC just morphs and makes up their own truth as time goes on. Classic post modernism.

Gary said...

Psalm 119:9-16
9. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your magesterium.
10. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your magesterium!
11. I have stored up the magesterium's word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12. Blessed are you, O Magesterium, teach me your statutes!
13. With my lips I declare all the rules of your magesterium.
14. In the way of your magesterium I delight as much as in all riches.
15. I will meditate on your magesterium and fix my eyes on your pope.
16. I will delight in your magesterium, I will not forget your papacy.

andy spaulding said...

PU,

one other question. if the magisterium said today that. lets say homosexuality was ok and not sinful, would you accept that? If not, why?

KM said...

Naturgesetz,

I'm not entirely sure what your purpose here is, other than to talk about straw men and point out yet another thing that myself and other don't know about the RCC. If you are going to say this or that is not true, don't you think that you should at least have a little bit of reference, even if it is from something other than the Bible to illustrate what you believe is true. I have provided scripture to validate my views and no attempt has been made to answer the questions I've asked or the conclusions I've come to. I might be wrong because I'm no theologian. But, I will not except the argument that states simply that what I have said is not true without putting forth what is true. If you are going to correct me, correct me. Don't just defend yourself. Or maybe only the Magisterium is equipped for "correcting" and that's why you have failed to do so yourself.

Frank Turk said...

The Catholic Catechims, authorized English translation, from the Vatican website.
_________________________

CHAPTER TWO
GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
ARTICLE 2
THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION
74 God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth":29 that is, of Christ Jesus.30 Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:
God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.31
I. THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION
75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."32
In the apostolic preaching. . .
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";33
- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".34
. . . continued in apostolic succession
77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."36
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38
79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."39
II. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE
One common source. . .
80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".41
. . . two distinct modes of transmission
81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42
"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."43
82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44
Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions
83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.
Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.
III. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE HERITAGE OF FAITH
The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church
84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."46
The Magisterium of the Church
85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48
87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me",49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.
The dogmas of the faith
88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.50
90 The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ.51 "In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith."52
The supernatural sense of faith
91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them53 and guides them into all truth.54
92 "The whole body of the faithful. . . cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals."55
93 "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life."56
Growth in understanding the faith
94 Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church:
- "through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts";57 it is in particular "theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth".58
- "from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience",59 the sacred Scriptures "grow with the one who reads them."60
- "from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth".61
95 "It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."62
IN BRIEF
96 What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.
97 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God" (DV 10) in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches.
98 "The Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes" (DV 8 § 1).
99 Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith, the People of God as a whole never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine Revelation.
100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.
_________________________

That's what the CCC teaches about Scripture & the Magisterium. That's what I think we should compare to [a] the book of Titus, and [b] the arguments posted here by Catholic advocates.

Any takers? Take it up in the meta of my post today on Titus. This thread is closed.