Earlier, i critiqued a former class mate Jay Dyer, in his paper explaning his abandoning reform theology for the sake of eastern orthodoxy. His initial point however was under developed. So I found a resource where he argues this point more exhaustively. These are excerpts of from an online debate between calvinist turned EOC Jay Dyer and calvinist Josh Brisby. I am goin to show jay's arguments against Sola scriptura and respond.
"Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the consubstantial, life-giving Trinity. As Josh noted, I am formerly a Baptist Bible College and BTS student who converted to Roman Catholicism roughly 4 years ago, going the traditional, Tridentine route, and subsequently ending up in Orthodoxy. I have a degree (I’m on my last class) in philosophy and history. A more detailed version of the intellectual aspect of my journey can be found here. My real interests, however, are historical theology, biblical studies, patristics, dogmatics, liturgics, and textual studies (as in codices and canonicity). I live in a small town in Paris, TN, and presently work as a clerk in our liquor store as I, finish college (sorry, tee-totalers: please resist the temptation to use this ad "
As Jay finishes his stchick it is interesting how he finds obviously no moral delimma about working at a liquor store. I recall at bible college Jay protested the prohibition of alcohol among students.
But let us say you support moderate drinking. Liquor is not moderate by nature. How can you drink vodka or whiskey in moderation? The Bible condemns encouraging others into drunkiness Habakkuk 2:15.
"Such being the case, I affirm that Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the true form of Apostolic, Biblical Christianity, and that not only the Reformed Baptists, but all Protestant denominations, though having generally valid baptisms that impart grace, are, in the final analysis, heretical and severely deficient in their peculiar doctrinal distinctives. Though I am a sinner, I believe God’s deifying grace had brought me to this truth. Such arguments, by God’s grace, have already led to the conversion of many of my learned friends from Protestantism."
It is interesting that jay affirms that Protestantism though heretical, imparts grace. Why has God imparted more grace through heresy, if EOC is true? Because Protestantism has covered more of the world, after all.
But also notice how "God's deifying Grace had brought me to this truth"? Jay assumes that he has a transcendent knowledge which gives Him a truth which others can not obtain.
1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
So the idea of "hidden knowledge" or gnostcism is an immoral agent when used extensively.
"1. The First and Major Error: the Protestant Canon of Scripture.
My first argument is that if the Protestant has the wrong canon, then his claim of sola scriptura is completely groundless and falls flat. Let me preface this by saying we believe in soli verbum Dei, the Word of God alone, not Scripture alone. The Divine Logos is a living Person (Heb. 4:12, John 5:39), not a book, though the written Revelation of Himself in the canonical Scriptures is inerrant and infallible. It is not, as will be demonstrated below, the sole means of knowing Christ and obtaining infallibly true religious propositions."
So Jay is really putting forth his basic thesis and theology of scripture. The Word of God alone but not scripture alone. Let us see two important passages
matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for ins truction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
So I want to point your attention to What Christ says about the Word of God. Man shall live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. So we need to get the complete revelation of God's Word. But Paul teaches that the scripture may make the man of God perfect.(Here perfect simply means complete.)
How can the scripture make us complete when the scripture does not contain the complete revelation of God's Word? It is obviously a contradiction to hold this line of thinking alongside scripture.
"A detailed response to the major Protestant myths concerning the DC, which is what is required, are ably dealt with in this article of mine. I cite only conservative, respected Protestant scholars of various flavors."
The problem is the whole label "protestantism" is actual catholic. Ultimately it is a straw man. If he wants to debated evangelical theology then that is fine. But some have used the term protestant as a name to call any non-catholic and therefore set up a straw man.
"Suffice it to say in summary that it is completely false that the New Testament never quotes the DC. For example, we see the following citations very clearly:
Ecclus. 11:31 and 2 John 10."
Ecclus 11:31 Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful.
2 john 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:"
Ok, this is not a quote nor a prophetic fulfillment. It is simply a subject which is universal among ancient middle eastern peoples. Worse it is not exactly the same topic! The New Testament is referring to doctrine and nothing else.
"Ecclus. 11:18-20 compared with Christ’s parable of the wealthy farmer in Luke 12:19."
Eclus.11:18 There is one that is enriched by living sparingly, and this is the portion of his reward.
19 In that he saith: I have found me rest, and now I will eat of my goods alone:
20 And he knoweth not what time shall pass, and that death approacheth, and that he must leave all to others, and shall die.
luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Yet again not a quote or even a reference to prophecy. this was simply a common saying.
"Further, Jesus’ statements about the eye making the whole body dark in Matthew 6:22 seems to clearly refer to Ecclus. 14:8-11."
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
Sirach 14:8-11 The eye of the envious is wicked: and he turneth away his face, and despiseth his own soul.9 The eye of the covetous man is insatiable in his portion of iniquity: he will not be satisfied till he consume his own soul, drying it up.
10 An evil eye is towards evil things: and he shall not have his fill of bread, but shall be needy and pensive at his own table.11 My son, if thou have any thing, do good to thyself, and offer to God worthy offerings.
matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
definitely not a quote!
"Wisdom 12-13 is almost exactly parallel with Romans 1:18-32. F.F. Bruce admits this in his “Canon of Scripture,” where he writes that St. Paul obviously had this in mind when penning Romans."
romans 1:18-32 is 14 verses. Wisdom is 2 chapters and a total of 46 verses. Wisdom is focused on Israel whil Romans is focused on all mankind.
Jay is really stretching here. of course the Bible can use similar themes to previous writing. That Does not mean that these other books are all of the sudden divine.
"Wisdom 2 and Baruch contains clear prophecies of Christ, as evidenced here.
Hebrews 11:35 refers to women and children who refused to be delivered from death (martyrdom) that they might receive a better resurrection. Now, there is nothing like this in the Protestant canonical OT (based on the Palestinian Jewish canon), where a woman refuses to have her children saved in order to merit for them a more glorious resurrection. But there is exactly that situation in 2 Maccabees 7, where the mother and her seven sons refuse to be delivered so that they might obtain a better resurrection."
First of all many books after the Old Testament made messianic prophecies. Such as the works found in the dead sea scrolls. Since the Jews were expecting the coming Messiah this was nothing new.
However the wisdom passage contradicts the teachings of christ.
have returned from hell:
Wisdom 2:2 For we are born of nothing, and after this we shall be as if we had not been: for the breath in our nostrils is smoke: and speech a spark to move our heart,
This contradicts Christ teaching on the afterlife.
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
"Thus, we see that the NT writers clearly had no Protestant dislike of the Deuterocanon (from now on DC). I fact, it is well known that many early Protestant vernaculars contained still contained the DC Books, or at least some of them, such as the early King James and the original Geneva Bible. Who, then, is right on the canon? Who has the full written Word of God? If a Protestant cannot give a cogent account as to what constitutes canonicity, who makes that decision, and the historical events that makeup canonicity, then he continue to claim sola scriptura as a viable principle. It might simply be asked, why follow Luther in rejecting them? Luther himself admitted he had theological reasons for rejecting them. But that begs the question—to reject the DC because it doesn’t fit with “the Word of God,” as many Protestants do, is merely presupposing you already have the correct canon. But that’s what is in question. If you do not even have the correct canon, it logically follows that you are also wrong about sola scriptura."
They did not contain the apocyrpha in the traditional sense. The apocrypha was always separate because they were not translating from the LXX they were translating from the hebrew which did not contain the apocrypha. They did this for historical perspective. letting the books inform the reader of the history.
Here we are coming to Jay's fundamental misunderstanding of inspiration.
it just comes across so ridiculous in my mind. "Who Decides what God says?"
God!! He determines His Word.
psalm 119:89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
Jay appears to be missing the fundaental question. "what is the word of God to begin with?" Is it a set of Holy Books? Or is it the Revelation of God?
The Church does not make something the Word of God. The Church simply has a responsibility to recognize what we know that God has revealed.
But the Bible does draw a strict line between the word of God and the word of man.
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
"Rather, I affirm that Scripture itself directs us to Sacred Tradition. We also know for a fact, as Protestant scholars on this issue admit (as I showed in my above linked article), that the NT writers, for the most part, used the LXX (the Septuagint). Everyone knows it contained the DC. This explains the NT writers’ numerous allusions and citations (and there are many more than I listed). And, it is the LXX that passed into the early church as their OT “Bible.” This is why the claim of many Protestant Apologists is completely false, when they imagine that the early church, both apostolic and post-apostolic, “didn’t recognize the DC.” In fact, it’s the exact opposite, and it’s far more complex than that. The history of the canon evinces a long, flexible, progressive formation, as any student of this issue knows. However, sticking to the main point, it’s quite easy to demonstrate that the early church used them and cited them as they do the rest of the canonical texts:
The Big unanswered question. "What is sacred Tradition?"
If we are ruled by sacred tradition shouldn't we know what we are ruled by? Why would we have an oral tradition and never write it down? How can you preserve oral tradition? A quick game of telephone will prove how unreliable oral tradition is unattended to. How can you know that your source is not lying? And why would you not write it down??
It is also obvious that sacred tradition follows in lock step with the gnostic philosophy. Having a secret knowledge that only is known by the elites.
Now then, jay resorts to announce the canonicty of the LXX. With the common claim that the New Testament apostles used the the Septuagint. But where does it say that? Without any criticism the logic sounds good but this an argument on sinking sand.
1. LXX is dubious on it's authenticity. There are historical contradictions involving the reign of Ptolemy. And the 72 scribes story sounds mythological.
2. The earliest manuscript of the LXX that we possess is from the 4th century.
So that is 700 hundred years where manuscripts could have been corrupted. Origen's Hexapla proves the LXX was indeed altered over time.
3. Jesus preaching at the temple and synagogues certain gave him access to the Hebrew manuscripts and implies that he used them when he referred to "jot and tittle" (not Part of a Greek txt, but Hebrew) also when Christ would refer to the blood the prophets Abel to Zechariah. Abel is in genesisX and Zechariah is found in chronicles. The first and last books of the masoretic canon.
These arguments are further elaborated in Floyd Nolan Jones "The SEPTUAGINT acritical analysis" www.christianmissionconnection.org
""You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]" (Didache 4:5 [A.D. 70]).
St. Clement of Rome
"By the word of his might [God] established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. ‘Who shall say to him, "What have you done?" or who shall resist the power of his strength?’ [Wis. 12:12]" (Letter to the Corinthians 27:5 [ca. A.D. 80]).
St. Polycarp of Smyrna
"Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17].
. . . When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death’ [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Is. 52:5]!" (Letter to the Philadelphians 10 [A.D. 135]).
"Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]" (Against Heresies 4:26:3 [A.D. 189]; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible). "Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left on the earth, should both be under the rule of the saints and to minister to this [new] Jerusalem and that [his] kingdom shall be in it, saying, ‘Look around Jerusalem toward the east and behold the joy which comes to you from God himself. Behold, your sons whom you have sent forth shall come: They shall come in a band from the east to the west. . . . God shall go before with you in the light of his splendor, with the mercy and righteousness which proceed from him’ [Bar. 4:36—5:9]" (ibid., 5:35:1; Baruch was often considered part of Jeremiah, as it is here).
Here is an argument for a committed Catholic, Jay feels that He has won His debate and is now going to pick up the spoils. These men are not a divine authority, so whether they quote from the apocrypha the Bible or Satan has nothing to do with what the content is of the divine Word of God.
The Church leaders were simply wrapped up in tradition. Reading from a text that was in his common language. These men were responsible to bring the New Testament. However they were as individually fallible as anyone else.
Which explains why there is further tension in determining the canon later.
One question shot at Jay in this debate is which canon he holds to. RCC and EOC differ on which apocrypha list. In fact there is more than one canon debated amongst EOC.
"The whole canon of the scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . [T]here are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called ‘of Solomon’ because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them" (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]). "We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place" (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421])."
I have spent 6 years now in the Phillip Schaff Church Fathers Set, and there are literally too many of these to cite. More examples, for quick reference, can be found here. We see, then, that if 2 Macc. 12 is part of the written Word of God, then suffrages for the dead are laudable and praiseworthy religious actions. Therefore, to deny them, is to reject part of the written Word of God, and it then follows that the very origins of Protestantism’s conception of the canon (Luther’s dislike of the DB) are shown to be a serious heresy and a mere tradition of man: ironically, the very thing Protestants harp against Orthodox."
Since Jay is wanting to uphold the authority of Maccabees perhaps he should uphold the Maccabean doctrine concerning prophecy [
“There had not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people” 1 Macc. 9:27
There currently was no prophet
“They stored the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until a prophet should come and decided what to do with them” 1 Macc. 4:46
They were waiting for a prophet
“The Jewish people and their priest have, therefore, made the following decisions. Simon shall be their permanent leader and high priest until a true prophet of God arises.” 1 Macc. 14:41
Obviously the implication is that the apocryphal books are not at all inspired.
As far as interaction with the dead. The Old Tesament is clear that we are not to consult evil spirits. Also the spiritual state after death is permanent.
Many will respond that the Palestinian Jewish authorities [!] Lof the first century should be our model, since most of them (not all, however), rejected the Hellenized Jewish practices, one of which was the Diaspora use of the LXX. From whence does the Protestant derive this principle? Who determined that the Palestinian Jews must be followed? Didn’t they crucify Christ? Why would they determine our canon? Does the Bible teach that we should follow the Palestinian Jews? Weren’t they a Synagogue of Satan (Apoc. 2:9, 3:9)? In fact, Origen makes a compelling case that apostate Palestinian Jewish leaders purposely omitted and/or changed texts, in this letter. I highly recommend reading it, as it shows, first, that Protestant apologists such as James White are false in stating that Origen rejected the DC, and second, it illustrates the complexity at hand, and the inadequacy of the Protestant approach to this issue of canonicity. Note also that Origen, as did St. Augustine in Bk. XVII of the City of God, touted the Church’s acceptance of the LXX. Further, it exposes the foolishness of thinking that Christ-rejecting Jews have anything to do with defining the Holy Church of God’s canon. It is also well known that the Jews in Palestine fixed their non-LXX canon due to the fact that so many Christians cited the DC prophecies of Christ!
[ Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
Romans 9:1-5 "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
God entrusted the jewish hebrews witht he Old Testament for several reasons. First the Old Testament was perfectly inspired in Hebrew. The Jews were a culture that god cultivated for this task. Origen may make accusations but He was a critic of scripture and his hexapl proves that he doctored the text. Even more importantly Origen was a platonist and used his mystic understanding to alter theology. So he is probably covering his tracts.
I find it hilarious that Jay is defend the alexandrine jews and cursing the Israelis (palestinian:( ) with a curse upon the jews of asia minor! lol
Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee./>
Jesus son of sirach 1:3 "I entreat you therefore to come with benevolence, and to read with attention, and to pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words; for the Hebrew words have not the same force in them when translated into another tongue. And not only these, but the law also itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language"
So if we take the apocryoha seriously, the idea of superiority in the LXX falls flat on it's face.
"Moving on, we also see the difficulty for the Protestant when we examine St. Jude. We read there the citation from the Book of Enoch, which undoubtedly also prophesies Christ in many places. Protestants may try to take refuge in the argument that only 1 Enoch 9 is cited, so only 1 Enoch 9 is inspired. The problems with this are manifold. St. Jude is not merely accepting that only verse 9 is inspired, inasmuch as the reference here is to the return of Christ Himself. St. Jude is then also presupposing that the author, whoever he is, is correctly transmitting an oral tradition (that was eventually written) from the time of Enoch, since Enoch is explicitly said to be its author in St. Jude 14. Thus, you must affirm that Enoch said this, if you believe in inerrancy. Clearly there is an extra-canonical OT tradition that has been handed down, being subsequently written, so that even if one rejects that Enoch actually wrote it, it’s generally considered to be a text that originates prior to the Advent of Christ. But on what authority does the Protestant say that only verse 9 is inspired? Does the Bible say that? What about the rest of the book, where Christ is spoken of in many places? Furthermore, this is outside the realm of merely quoting a pagan poet for effect, as St. Paul certainly does on two occasions. This is, in fact, understood by the Apostle as a prophecy of Christ Himself!
My point is not to argue for Enoch’s canonicity, but to show that the Apostles obviously did not have the Protestant sola scriptura mindset. Many other examples could be given, such as the story of St. Michael and Lucifer arguing over the body of Moses in St. Jude 8-9, which most scholars believe is from the pseudepigraphical Assumption of Moses, as the notes to the Reformation Study Bible admit. More examples can be given, but the point is, I think, clear. There are infallibly true religious propositions that exist outside the actual canonical texts, and this is a lucid example of Sacred Tradition. And, only one clear example is enough to prove sola scriptura false, since it’s an unequivocal, universal claim."
Jay seems to be in a state of confusion as to what inspiration is, yet again. The authors of scripture are inspired by the Holy Spirit. But that is it. One place Jay seems ignorang is the distinction between revelation and inspiration. Revelation is knowledge revealed by God. Inspiration is the preservation of revelation in a perfect medium, scripture.
Revelation can come from a multitude of sources. Yet is it inspired? The word Elohim is used by the pagans, does that mean that pagans are inspired? Of course not!
Jay has refuted his previous position. His argument of any reference to the apocrypha is nullified since the New Testament quotes pagan sources as well.
"Another example of this problem from a different avenue is the question of textual authorship. All admit that Matthean authorship, for example, is crucial to its canonicity, yet no one possesses the autographa of St. Matthew himself. Our author does not neatly conscript himself as “I, Matthew, who was the disciple of Jesus, wrote this letter.” There is only one way we know this is part of the written Word of God, and that is through Sacred Tradition. The editors of the Reformation Study Bible are forced to admit this:
"Although this Gospel [Matthew] does not name its author, some earlymanuscripts have an inscription "according to Matthew," and Eusebius(260-340) tells us that early Church Father Papias (60-130) spoke ofMatthew as arranging the "oracles" about Jesus. Subsequent traditionis unanimous that the disciple Matthew, also called Levi (9:9-13,Mark 2:13-17), was the author of this Gospel, and not until theeighteenth century was this tradition doubted...other objections toMatthew's authorship are more speculative...but these objections[liberal, higher-critical doubts] do not disprove the tradition that Matthew was the sole author..."-New Geneva/Reformation Study Bible, pg 1503.
To simply assume that “Matthew” is the Apostle Matthew, begs the question. All the false gospels ascribe their origins to Apostles as well, such as the blasphemous Gospel of Thomas. The same goes for the question of the authorship of St. Mark’s or St. Luke’s Gospel. Again, Sacred Tradition is clearly inescapable. To ignore all this is to be dishonest, when confronted with the facts. Other examples could be given, such as Lent. We know from the writings of St. Polycarp that Lent was celebrated in the first century, along with Easter. How else would St. Victor threaten to excommunicate the Easterns and have his famous dispute, in which St. Irenaeus refers to the time of St. Polycarp (roughly 90-100 A.D.) where Easter in the East was celebrated on a different day. How is it, my dear regulativist pals, that the church had almost totally apostatized so early? How was it that Lent and Easter were celebrated so early and so widely in the Holy Churches which the Apostles established?"
We just got done focusing on Jude.4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan has been active from the beginning. Jesus called Peter Satan at one point and Judas was possessed by Satan. So it is easy to assume that there would be apostasy in the early church because it was already inherent in the New testament.
"On the genuineness of this, see J.N.D. Kelly’s Oxford History of the Popes, under the entry for Pope St. Victor. Didn’t God promise to raise up for His Church, His very Body, holy and wise men to lead and guide Her through the presence of His Spirit (Eph. 4:9-14)? Where were these men until Luther? Where was the Holy Spirit, in terms of keeping faithful sola fide-ists preching and teaching for that aeon? Over 1,000 years of no one teaching sola fide! See A. McGrath’s Iustitia Dei on this.
So now Jay is assuming that Sola Scriptura denies the acceptance of historical records???
Matthew is recorded as the author and this gospel has been read and accepted among the bible believing congregations. The Holy spirit has providentially preserved while the Gospel of Thomas was not. Other factors are obvious historical truth, prophetic fulfillment etc.
Plus this is an argument of confusion. The sacred tradition which he is arguing is actually the scripture itself. The argument of sacred tradition is supposed to be extra biblical. Besides Jay reported that a manuscript was indeed labeled "Matthew" thus scripture is indeed identifying the author.
"Another example of Sacred Tradition often missed by Protestants is the ancient Liturgies. The Liturgies factor in prominently in the discussions of the Ecumenical Councils, and give testimony to the very heart of the Church’s Tradition itself-the worship of God. How is it, that from Apostolic times, Sacred Liturgies have been passed on in the major sees and bishoprics of the Church, that teach all those “Catholic” things? In fact, unbeknownst to many of Protestant thinkers is the fact that inclusion of certain books in the canon was intimately tied to the use of certain verses or texts in the Liturgies! It’s never a hard and fast either/or on these issues, as many Protestants want to make it. Liturgy was involved in the canon, and vice versa. So was Oral Tradition, as were creedal, canonical and conciliar statements-all aspects of either Sacred Tradition or holy ecclesiastical traditions. For example, let us look at the Ancient Liturgy of St. Mark, used by the God-bearing Fathers such as Ss. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, which in its present form dates to probably the third century. But wait you say: “that’s not Apostolic, if it’s from the third century!” Then neither would be the NT Scriptures, since most of the 5,000 or so ancient texts we presently have date from the same period."
"What do we find present in the Divine Liturgy of Saint Mark? We find priesthood, Bishops, Real Presence, invocation of the Holy Angels, incense, One Visible Church, the sign of the Cross, sacrificial Eucharistic offering, epiclesis, consecration, etc. All those “blasphemous idolatries” so hated by Protestants. We see the same practices in the West as well, very early on, when St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, and St. Hippolytus describe their respective liturgies that contain all these same elements. So, when the Protestant says he wishes to have the “mind of the Church,” yet rejects virtually everything ecumenically confessed by the “mind of the Church” for the first 1000 years, it’s difficult to understand how this is supposed to work." Here Jay has Sacred tradition confused with church tradition. Now protestants are inconsistent in their quest to be little "c" catholics. jay is only going to say history when it is RCC or EOC. We don't find the montanist or Waldenses or Paulicans or albigenses or donatists. Why because they disagreed with the tyrants. So they were wiped out. But When did jesus give a discourse on homouises? this is post biblical tradition obviously.
"How can he rightfully oppose the hyper-preterist, for example, when he tries to fend such heretics off with “Tradition,” such as the Nicene Creed (and what else is the Creed but our Sacred Tradition?)? He may refrain from using the term ‘tradition,’ to the “mind of the Church,” but undoubtedly the mind of the Church is expressed in her ecumenical Creed! The Fathers who composed that Creed undeniably meant by “one, holy, catholic, apostolic,” what we Orthodox alone have maintained: one visible institution with the presence of the Holy Spirit in her sacraments alone, that spreads across the nations and through all ages, being founded on Apostolic Teaching & Succession.” To profess this Creed, and redefine the terms to fit one’s theological fancy to appear in line with the Church of all times is simply dishonest.
Such is my opening statement. In the follow ups and rebuttals, I will move on to other key topics: more essential biblical evidences for Sacred Tradition, the proper conception of the Word of God Incarnate & the Eucharist, Apostolic Succession, justification, the filioque heresy, and other key issues, such as problems with Van Tillianism, icons and relics, with attending responses to whatever Josh poses.
Ss. Peter, Paul, Athanasius, Cyril, & Augustine, Michael and Raphael, and the Holy Theotokos, pray for us."
I figured that the rebuttal was worth bringing up as well
I would not fend off a hyper preterist unless I have scripture. Which of course I do. Some tradition arguments are help ful but ultimately they are unneccesary. I have dealt with all these topics elsewhere on my blog.
"I thank Josh for his response. In my first rebuttal I want to do only a few things. First, Josh has brought up a plethora of issues that cannot be dealt with in one response. Thus, I can either spend ten pages on each item he raises, or spread it out a bit, and deal with these several issues over the course of several posts. My first rebuttal will only deal with his assumption of sola scriptura, since we will continue to talk past each other with competing exegesis. I’m not avoiding anything out of fear, either: I will deal with Van Til, Apostolic Succession, predestination, and other issues. But I also think readers would rather read a rebuttal of 7 pages than have to wait another week for a rebuttal of 30 pages.
2. Sacred Tradition, and that the “Word of God” is not solely written.
Suffice it to say that Josh’s arguement, and all of Protestantism generally, rests on the assumption that only the written texts are the Word of God, and that the Word Himself is only known from these. If this fails, then so does all of that system, since this its sole foundation. My goal is to get my opponent and the readers to see the error of his most foundational presupposition, and the overwhelming evidence for mine."
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
All scripture is the Word of God. As my ealier references state. we need all the word of God. btw, if Sola Scriptura is true then the EOC and RCC fall apart for rejecting it.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
"When we consider the history of Revelation, we note that in the beginning (Gen. 1:1-3), God’s Word was spoken, and yet nothing was written down. In fact, from Adam to Moses, a period of several hundreds of years passed with the Revelations given to Noah, Abraham, Joseph and others being passed orally. At least, we have no knowledge of anything being written. So, we see that there is nothing inherently defective with oral tradition, as Calvin seems to think in the Institutes. If God can guide the written texts, as the Protestant will admit, then He can also guide the Oral transmission as well. And, in fact, if one believes the Bible, one must affirm that from Adam to Moses the Oral Revelation was passed on faithfully and perfectly to Moses and Joshua, from whence arises the origin of the written texts.
When we survey the Old Testament, we realize that the Patriarchs, all through Genesis, operated according to this infallible Oral Tradition, when God was not giving a new Revelation, of course. When Abraham built an altar, he didn’t have a book to instruct him, He had the truths passed on from the time of Adam in the godly line of Seth, and whatever Revelations God spoke. He didn’t refer to “Genesis.” "
5 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
You may notice the generations. the word picture here is of a tablet or stone. usually a grave stone which would record history for the ancient peoples. They did not rely strictly upon oral tradition. For mor information, look up "The Genesis Record" by Henry Morris.
"As an even better example, we can examine the formation of the temple worship of God based on Sacred Oral Tradition in 2 Chron. 29 as follows, concerning King Hezekiah:
“25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.”
But we have no written record of what David commanded concerning these things. Furthermore, it’s also clear that King David flourished some 250 years before the time of King Hezekiah! It might be argued that this was David’s “opinion” concerning worship, but we know that God doesn’t tolerate men’s opinions in His worship. Such is the irony of the regulativist principle. The next chapter makes it clear that this was the Oral Word of God,
“10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.”
Take note of this reformed regulativists: the most holy thing--the very worship of God, is here based on an Oral Tradition. Very similar to the way the Holy Church of God has handed down her Liturgies “from the commandment of God through Apostles.” Other examples can be given. When we read of the sons of the prophets in 2 Kings, for example, we know that there was a guild/school, of which Elijah and Elisha were the preeminent members. These “sons of the prophets” were all prophets and prophesied. But we do not have any record of all that they prophesied, but if they were prophets of the LORD, then they prophesied the Word infallibly. Similarly, Obadiah was a prophet, but his recorded prophetic text is only 21 verses. Do we seriously believe that when he preached (and the OT prophet functioned in many ways like a preacher), that he only read the same 21 verses day in and day out, as if OT prophets functioned in a modern, Protestant, sola scriptura fashion? Such a view strains credulity."
First David wrote the psalms and that could be the reference. Secondly if a person holds to sola scriptura they are not necessarily bound to hold to reformed calvinism. The worship of the mosaic dispensation was temporary. but it is in fact divine. proverbs 16:10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment" There is revelation outside of scripture. but it is not inspired. One may have the spiritual gift of prophecy but without inspiration that gift is not preserved and is probaly only ment for a few anyway.
"I point all this out because Josh has used Isaiah 8:20-21 where we are commanded to stick to “the law and the testimony.” But the testimony is precisely the Oral Tradition. Now, when I say “Oral Tradition,” it should be recognized that that Tradition can, of course, be written down, and never achieve canonical status as a book. We see that in the New Testament with The Book of Enoch. But I want to remove from my opponent the idea that he can cite OT texts as proof of sola scriptura. Furthermore, how can you have sola scriptura in a period of ongoing Revelation? You can’t. We see the same principle of Sacred Tradition also exemplified in the following extra-canonical books/traditions quoted in the OT. Note particularly the fact that the books of those prophets listed must have contained infallibly true religious propositions since they were prophets of the Lord, and not false prophets:
1] Book of the wars of the Lord: "Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord: As he did in the Red Sea, so will he do in thestreams of Amen. The rocks of the torrents were bowed down that theymight rest in Ar, and lie down in the borders of the Moabites."(Num.21:14-15)2] Book of the just:"Then Josue spoke to the Lord, in the day that hedelivered the Amorrhite in the sight of the children of Israel, and hesaid before them: Move not, O sun, toward Gabaon, nor thou, O moon,toward the valley of Ajalon. And the sun and the moon stood still,till the people revenged themselves of their enemies. Is not thiswritten in the book of the just? So the sun stood still in the midstof heaven, and hasted not to go down the space of one day." (Jos.10:12-13)"(Also he commanded that they should teach the children of Juda theuse of the bow, as it is written in the book of the just.) And hesaid: Consider, O Israel, for them that are dead, wounded on thy highplaces." (2 Kings 1:18)
3] Book of Nathan the prophet:"Now the acts of king David first andlast are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book ofNathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer:" (1 Paral. 29:29)Now the rest of the acts of Solomon first and last are written in thewords of Nathan the prophet, and in the books of Ahias the Silonite,and in the vision of Addo the seer, against Jeroboam the son ofNabat.(2 Paral. 9:29)4] Book of Samuel the seer: Now the acts of king David first and lastare written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathanthe prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer: (1 Paral. 29:29)5] Book of Addo the seer:"Now the rest of the acts of Solomon firstand last are written in the words of Nathan the prophet, and in thebooks of Ahias the Silonite, and in the vision of Addo the seer,against Jeroboam the son of Nabat."(2 Paral. 9:29)
The last one is particularly revealing, in that we are told that that prophetic text contained visions of Addo the seer against Jeroboam. Thus, a true prophet is prophesying against the evil king Jeroboam, obviously from the Lord. But where is the “written law” of this incident? Note also that the OT text itself is directing one to these books as references! On the Protestant model, we would have the infallible referencing the fallible for truths about the Lord! But this is absurd. So, again we see that they did not have a sola scriptura mindset in the OT, as Josh’s use of Is. 8:20-21 mandates. All of these prophecies were still the “Word of the Lord.” Rather, the written law and the Oral Testimony of the prophets was the Word of the Lord. And, it’s because the Word is a Person, and not a book, that some of these obscure prophesies and visions have been lost. It’s because the Person of the Word came to men (Is. 2:1) and spoke what was necessary whenever and wherever He saw fit. And in His providence, He has maintained and preserved for us today what He has seen fit in both an Oral and written form.
At this point, I move to the New Testament. Is this principle continued into the New Testament, or do the arrival of the Word Incarnate and the commission of the Apostles inaugurate sola scriptura?"
deteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
Yes this is a princepal in the old Testament. However we must understand it dispensationally. Everything must be placed in it's context. Btw, secular knowledge is not divine, but it doesn't mean that it is a lie. when other jewish books are refernced, it is in order that there is a context given and we unstand scripture literally. Which is part of sola scriptura.
" I believe it can be shown that the OT principle carries right on through into the New. Now, this does not mean that there are any new, public revelations that bind the Church after St. John died. Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and most reformed hold that the deposit of faith was complete with the death of the last Apostle. From what conduits that Revelation is derived is where we differ.
Our Lord Jesus, as far as we know, never wrote anything (aside from what he inscribed in the sand). Yet St. John records in John 20:
“30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
And in John 21:
“25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
All those other words and actions and miracles and signs of our Lord are all infallible truths concerning Himself. And the Apostles were taught all these things, yet could not write them all down. Now surely there is an advantage to the written form, in terms of communication, but there is nothing inherently faulty with the Oral. If the Oral is inherently flawed, then Jesus would have surely written something!"
How do we know if oral tradition has recorded all the words of Jesus? We don't. How can prove it's authenticiy? We can't.
"But, it so happens that only some of the Apostles wrote anything we know of! But they all went out teaching and preaching the deposit they had received from Jesus, which includes all that He did and said (that each particular one knew).
My opponent cited Acts 20:27, concerning sticking only with the “full counsel of God,” which he assumes means only written texts. However, this section functions as a powerful refutation of his Protestant tradition. St. Paul says that he taught day and night for three years in Ephesus (31)! Now, all we have from St. Paul in this regard is his letter to the Ephesians and the two to St. Timothy. Are we to imagine that he only repeated these written texts (as if that was all the Holy Spirit had to say to the Ephesians)? Was St. Paul like Obadiah in the Protestant view, only reciting his few verses day and night for three years? Of course not, and we can see in the Book of Acts that this is not Apostolic method. They preach the Word. As a side note, it is also in Acts 20:35 where we have the Oral Tradition recorded that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is nowhere recorded in the Gospels. Thus, all that they taught, both Oral and Written, was the Word of God. Here, my opponent may raise an objection and say that only what the Apostles taught in written form is authoritative and inspired. But where does the NT say that? From whence does he derive that principle? In fact, it says the exact opposite. We read in St. Paul:
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13)
This means the Oral preaching of the Apostles was infallible. My opponent was hesitant on the phone to agree to this, but we see that St. Paul clearly claims that his oral preaching to the Thessalonians was the Word of God.
What if the apostles privately preach the Old Testament? Yes the Word of God can be delivered in Oral Form. But only That which is taaught in scripture is God's Word to the world.
And to St. Timothy he writes:
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2 Tim. 1:13)
“1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:1-2)
Again we see that the Oral preaching of St. Paul is commanded to be passed on to men after St. Timothy, along with the written. This is the same injunction of St. Paul used with the Thessalonians: 2 Thess. 2:15:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
Clearly the command is for both to be passed on because both are the Word of God. St. Peter agrees:
“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God [a Person] which lives and abides forever, because,
“All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23-24).
Thus, St. Peter understands that the Oral preaching he did was infallible, inspired revelation from God, as much as His written texts were. James White admits this, too, in one of his debates with Matatics. Too many problems arise when we propose that the Apostles could orally teach error, and were inerrant only in written texts. And clearly the biblical evidence is otherwise. The same goes for St. Paul’s lost letter to the Laodiceans:
"Salute the brethren who are at Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house. And whenthis epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans: and that you read that which is of the Laodiceans." (Col. 4:15-16)
St. Paul would not have ordered that it be read in the church if it was not the Word of God! And yet, we do not have this text. But for the Orthodox, it would be no problem if it were discovered and were identified as certainly Pauline. It wouldn’t be a new revelation, but part of the original deposit. Furthermore, if the Apostles could err in their oral teaching, they could also err in their written teaching, since their written proposition that their oral is infallible would be proven false!
How do we account for all this? The answer is that all truths and all knowledge are summed up in a Divine Person: The Logos Himself, who contains all the logoi of creation, as St. Maximus says. That is why we read in John 5:
“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
The very same thing said to the Pharisees can be said with equal weight to the Protestant sola scripturist: you search the texts because you confusedly think that they are the Word, when the written texts bear witness to Him. That’s Jesus’ theory of inspiration. And that’s really as far as you can go with the idea concerning what sense the written texts are the Word. Strictly speaking, they are not. They are merely words on a page. But just like icons, they are created images which are empowered to be vehicles of Revelation for the Word Himself. And they contain nothing erroneous. If the Protestant has no problem with me writing “God” or “Jesus,” he should have no problem with icons, since words themselves are images. And those two words are made holy by that fact.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His (the Word’s) sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:12)
He is a living, Divine Person, not a book. And just like it is true that someone can know about me through a letter, without knowing me personally, the Protestant is devoid of true knowledge of Christ, and is just like the Pharisees who worshipped Moses, like the Protestants do St. Paul, when, in fact, St. Paul “wrote of Him.” Even St. John expresses this fact when he writes that he would rather speak in Person as opposed to writing (3 John 13)! Why wasn’t he thinking in terms of sola scriptura?"
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.