How to Argue for Mary's Assumption (This Rock: May-June 2001): "When this question is posed, the Catholic might be tempted first to offer the scriptural evidence for the Assumption. But the person is not questioning the biblical evidence, he's questioning the authority of the Church. So you must first address the authority of the Church and the role of Sacred Tradition in God's plan of revelation.
If you asked a hundred Evangelical Christians, 'What is the sure norm by which Christians know the teachings of Christ?' the unanimous answers would be to look only to the Bible. However, Paul advised Timothy to take as his norm the sound words that Paul spoke to him (1 Tim. 1:13). Timothy knew that even if a particular teaching was not written down, Christians were still expected to abide by it (2 Thess. 2:15) and to defer to the authority of Church leaders (Heb. 13:17). The only way a person could know what these unwritten binding traditions were was to keep their ear to the mouth of the Church. If the Church were merely a collection of saved individuals-none with any real authority over the others-then Scripture would not tout her as the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15) whom we must listen to or be cut off (Matt: 18:17).
Nothing in scripture indicates what the canon of the New Testament should be, but this silence in no way hindered the Church from exercising the authority given to her by Christ (Matt. 16:15-19, 18:17-18) to decide the canon. Just as the fourth-century Church had authority to determine that twenty-seven books belonged in the New Testament, the nineteenth-century Church had the authority to dogmatically define Mary's Assumption into heaven.
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