I thought this part was particularly appropriate for our recent discussions with Ashley (where are you Ashley?) regarding sola scriptura.
Catholicism and Protestantism differ fundamentally with regard to the relationship of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition: the Bible on the one hand, and the historical doctrines and dogmas of the Christian Church on the other. Protestantism tends to see a certain dichotomy, or divide, between the pure Word of God in the Bible and the Tradition of the Catholic Church, which is considered to be too often corrupted by "arbitrary traditions of men" (in this vein Matthew 15:3-6, Mark 7:8-13, and Colossians 2:8 are cited).
For Protestants, Scripture alone (or, sola Scriptura, as the Reformers cried) is the source and rule of the Christian faith. As such, it is superior to, and judges all Tradition. It is sufficient in and of itself for a full exposition of Christianity and for the attainment of salvation.
The concept of sola Scriptura, it must be noted, is not in principle opposed to the importance and validity of Church history, Tradition, ecumenical Councils, or the authority of Church Fathers and prominent theologians. The difference lies in the relative position of authority held by Scripture and Church institutions and proclamations. In theory, the Bible judges all of these, since, for the evangelical Protestant, it alone is infallible and the Church and popes and Councils are not.
In actuality, however, this belief has not led to doctrinal uniformity, as the history of Protestant sectarianism abundantly testifies. The prevalence of sola Scriptura, according to Catholic thinking, has facilitated a widespread ignorance and disregard of Church history among the Protestants in the pews. Protestantism is clearly much less historically-oriented than Catholicism, largely for the above reasons. Recently, several evangelical scholars have frankly critiqued the weakness of either sola Scriptura itself, or else the extreme version of it which might be called Bible Only (a virtually total exclusion of Church history and authority).
Anyway, it looks like a fascinating read. You can get it here.
"A Biblical Defense of Catholicism" Microsoft Word 2000 hyper-linked version, by Dave Armstrong eBooks Download
Is there enough interest perhaps to do a weekly study of this book?
Let me know!
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