Some Classic Refutations of protestant Errors on the Bible January 16, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, priests, reading, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From the Preface to the New Testament in the Haydock Study Bible, some excellent commentary on common protestant claims regarding Sacred Scripture as the sole rule of faith under the private interpretation of each individual (or the leader of each sect, as is more typical). Much of the commentary below comes from Archbishop Rene Fenelon. All of it is great. Some of the key points addressed below:
- The absolute need for a sole authority to settle questions of Scripture
- The extreme danger that results from private interpretation and the pride that inspires this interpretation
- The error of protestant use of supposedly superior knowledge of the Bible against Catholics as a weapon to rend souls from the Church, when in fact they simply twist Scripture to their own ends. Those souls would be far better off with a Catechism than a panoply of biblical studies.
- Scripture cannot be the sole rule of Faith
If there be no infallible authority, which may say to us all, “this is the true meaning of the holy Scripture:how can we expect that illiterate peasants, or simple mechanics, should engage in a discussion wherein the learned themselves cannot agree? God would have been wanting to the necessities of almost all men, if, when he gave them a written law, he had not at the same time provided them a sure interpreter, to spare them the necessity of research, of which they are utterly incapable. Every man of common understanding has need of nothing more than a sincere sense of his ignorance, to see the absurdities of the sects, who build their separation from the Catholic Church upon the privilege of deciding on matters far above their comprehension. [Or even if not above their comprehension, per se, we still see the effect of private interpretation in the proliferation of warring sects, each holding a different view of various parts of Scripture and their meaning. Most of those have to be wrong. And in point of fact, much of protestant Scripture “scholarship” is nothing of the sort but simply an exercise of ex post facto effort to twist Scripture to find in it the doctrines they’ve already decided upon, as Luther and Calvin did in identifying “total depravity” as a rule of Scripture in order to justify the elimination of works as necessary for salvation and thus most of the 10 Commandments] Ought we then to hearken to the new reformers, who require what is impossible; or to the ancient Church, which provides for the weakness of our nature?” If we listen to the former, we should soon be found to resemble those men of latter days, who St. Paul tells us to avoid: ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of truth; (2 Timothy chap. iii. ver. 7,) because they trust to their own lights, and not to the visible authority appointed by Jesus Christ. How evident does all this speak for itself, when we behold a Voltaire extracting mental poison from the Song of Solomon; or, another Cromwell reading to a ruthless soldiery God’s ordinances concerning the smiting of the Ammonites and Chanaanites, in order to induce them to kill every Catholic, man, woman, and child; or the fanatic, maintaining from the Revelations, that no king is to be obeyed but King Jesus; or, finally, when we hear those dangerous comments of our modern Moravian and Antinomian Methodists on St. Paul’s Epistles, importing, that they being made free by Jesus Christ, are not subject to any law either of God or man. Surely, in such cases, it would be advisable, if possible, to withdraw the Bible from every such profaner of it; and instead of it, to put into his hands the Catechism, in which he would find the bread of God’s word, broken and prepared for his weak digestion, by those prelates to whom this duty particularly belongs. This the Protestant owns, when he finds the Socinian [Society of Friends – Quakers] abusing private interpretation, by repeatedly citing and expounding the sacred text against the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the Presbyterian against the episcopacy……
……..The learned Walton (Prolegom. chap. iv. 56,) asserts, what every one versed in antiquity must allow, that “some parts of the New Testament were doubted of for some ages, till at length by consent of the whole Church, all the Books, as they are read at present, were received and approved.” [Indeed. The Canon of Scripture was settled by the Church. The protestants accept all of the New Testament canon, even though Luther wanted to exclude at least the Catholic Epistle of James because it was too contrary to his new doctrine. He was only prevented from doing so by allies of his due to human concerns – rejecting portions of the New Testament so long settled would cause even more division and scandal and undermine his new sect. But from a standpoint of logic, the protestants have no reason not to exclude all manner of books from Old or New Testament, nor to add works like the Epistle of Barnabas, Gospel of Thomas, or the Shepherd of Hermas – they have rejected Authority in favor of their own private judgment to arrive at answers predetermined in advance, so why not use these other works? The only reason they do not has to do with human concern, e.g., what people would think] Here then we see that for a chief proof of the inspiration, authenticity, and due rendering of the word of God, we are referred to the general consent of Christians; therefore Scripture, though the rule of faith and life, cannot be the whole rule;since from Scripture alone, an exact canon of the sacred books cannot by human art be learned…………
………St. Augustine goes so far as to say: I would not believe the gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not determine me. (Epis. cont. Fund. chap. v, n. 6.) “This, says Fenelon, is the most simple, short, and decisive of all controversies.”……..[This is the key. Scripture has authority because the Church determined it to have it, not the other way around. It was the Church that predated the Canon of Scripture or indeed any individual Gospel or Letter. Tradition ultimately is greater than Scripture, and it is a sad testimony that far too many priests and bishops today, cowed by supposed protestant knowledge of the Bible, mimic their arguments in favor of Scripture, turning reading the Bible into an end in itself rather than as simply being the support and basis for what the Church believes. Priests would be far better off advising the souls in their charge to read a solid Catechism like the Catechism of the Council of Trent or This Is The Faith than the Bible, honestly. Mind, I am not discouraging those sound in the Faith from reading the Bible, I read it every day, but I am saying that in this time when so few people are really able to understand much of Scripture, and with the proliferation, especially in this country, of erroneous protestant biblical studies, and very aggressive “bible study groups” seeking to make converts of poorly formed Catholics, that it is more prudent to first form souls deeply in the Faith before turning them loose on Scripture.]
………..There are such inimitable instructions in the five letters of Fenelon, to a lady who wished to be admitted a member of the Catholic Church, that a brief analysis of the same cannot but be very acceptable to the biblical scholar: — In the first, the prelate shews that there can be but one true religion, and one only Church, the spouse of Jesus Christ. Our Lord would have only one; men are not entitled to make more. Religion is not the work of human reasoning; but it is our duty to receive it, such as it has been given us from above. One man may reason with another man, but with God we have only to pray, to humble ourselves, listen, be silent, and blindly follow. This sacrifice of reason is the only proper use we can make of it, weak and contracted as it is. Every consideration must yield, when the supreme reason decides…….. [Awesome]
……..In the second, he shews the necessity of a visible authority. Religion, he says, is all humility. The mysteries are given us to subdue the pride of reason, by making us believe what we cannot comprehend. Without this authority, the Scripture can only serve to nourish our curiosity, presumption, jealousy of opinions, and passion for scandalous disputes: there would be but one text, but as may interpretations as religions, and as many religions as heads……..
……..In the third, he teaches how to hear the Church, and to obey it without any apprehension of error. The infallible promises of God are our surety. He tells the lady, if she wish for any reform, not to seek it, like Dissenters, out of the Church, but by frequently reverting back to her thoughts upon herself, and by reforming every thing amiss there; by subduing all that savours of self; by silencing the imagination, listening in silence to God, and imploring his grace for the perfect accomplishment of his will……….
……..In the fourth, he gives her comfort and instructions how to act under her trials. The kingdom of God suffers violence. We cannot die to ourselves without feeling it; but the hand that afflicts us, will be our support……..
………..In the fifth, he give excellent instructions, on the promises of Jesus Christ to his one true Church. He remarks the Jesus Christ does not say, if you will not hear the church of this country or that; he does not suppose a plurality of churches, but one universal Church, subsisting through all ages and nations, and which is to speak and to be obeyed from one extremity of the globe to the other. Not an invisible church composed of the elect only, but a Church that can be pointed out with a finger. A city elevated on the summit of a mountain, which all can see from a distance. Every one knows where to see, to find, and to consult her. She answers, she decides; we listen, and believe: and woe to those who refuse to believe and obey her: if he will not hear the Church, &c………
Such sage wisdom! Thank God for providing us – even if in the somewhat distant past – shepherds whose cooperation with Grace and docility to the will of God inform all they said and make of them a great light to souls of this and every age. We live in a time when such souls are few, almost non-existent, among the men given the sacred charge of holding watch over the souls of millions, but we have the inestimable gift of Tradition and the wisdom of the past to guide us still, even in this our own faithless age. That is a gift beyond measure. And one that, in spite of herculean efforts on the part of modernists, cannot be taken away.