This may not make sense to anyone that has not seen how Douglas took the conversation from his last post from here to his own site. If I didn’t know better, I would think that he was simply using our website to promote his own and to carry on conversation within his own echo chamber. If anyone is interested in what he has written to my remarks at his website then feel free to browse his last 2 posts.
So this is my response to his last post – my other replies are inserted into his last 2 posts.
Authority of Scripture
Who told us what is Scripture and what is now the Bible? The Church told us or we could not have known this on our own. The New Testament Books were written after the death of Christ and therefore have not received His Imprimatur. It is the Church that declared these books to be worthy of the title which we now use; The Word of God. Either the Church is right about this and everything else that it declares (by the Grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit) or the Church is wrong. And if wrong about this, then where does one find any Scripture or Christian Faith? Is there a church somewhere that still abides only by the spoken word as it once survived in the early centuries? And how did that Church operate without the “Word of God” to thumb through. Besides, very few people on this planet were capable of reading anyway. No, it seems that the Scriptures are used everywhere . . . though adulterated by some. So at least the Church got something right . . . and without scripture to fall back on.
Example: Let us say that you know nothing of history but you believe rationally that something is higher than yourself and therefore in a Creator God. You go to a library to determine what is likely for belief. In this library there is a room that contains all the books that the Church examined for inclusion into the New Testament, the Koran and the writings of Buddhism, or any other religion you want to include.
By your own reading, you are trying to tell me that the books, which you say are the Word of God will be obvious, somehow. How? Do they glow in the dark? It took an authority to declare them as such which was the Church. Otherwise you would not have a Bible.
If that Church is still extant without substantial change (only growth in explanation etc.) then the words might prove themselves especially in light of historical facts foretold in the text. But as an individual without such authority you cannot nor could anyone else identify these texts. Some may well be and others may well not be. You have nothing to base it on because Holy Scripture has yet to have been codified into a complete Canon of Scripture. The Church did that, not some individual.
Now I assume that you believe in the Trinity. Please show it to me in Scripture. I also assume you think that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity with both a human and a divine nature and a human and divine soul? Who told you this? It is nowhere to be found in the Bible. How did we arrive at such things without an authority to answer such questions?
A (Corporate) Church founded on/with the headship of Peter:
You need to distinguish first between the corporate and the supernatural nature of the Church. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ or the Bridegroom of Christ in ordinary parlance according to the Scriptures themselves. The supernatural head is obviously Christ. It can be no other. But did He leave us a Church without a visible head (a headless monstrosity)? This is why Peter was chosen. For he had become humble and obedient to Christ which is most apparent when Christ asks him if he loves him three times. And Christ’s words to him were to “feed my sheep, feed my sheep and feed my lambs” which to me says that Peter is in charge of that task. I doubt Jesus had some sheep and wanted Peter to feed them some grass and hay though that would be an ordinary understanding of language? However, among most people we are certain of its meanings in the context of his discourse of the sheep, the shepherds etc. Then it is quite clear. Why also, when predicting the 3-fold denial of Peter did Christ say, when “thou” turnest, strengthen your brothers? The new English word can confuse but in the old English it is certain as it is in Greek and Latin. Christ is saying “you (Peter)” not “y’all” like we say in the South.
So it is nice to say that God is the ultimate authority of scripture but God is not visually here with us to tell us the answers to many things and has not been for 2,000 years. So God did not tell us about the Trinity and the other beliefs we all hold. Men did . . . but with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost. In that sense, yes, God is the ultimate Authority and He speaks through His Church. A mouthpiece so to speak.
There is an absolute necessity for a Church with Authority which is directed by God (by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). First, there are differing manuscripts. Second, we have many translations. Third, we have many problems in interpretations and in understanding colloquialisms from the times that the books were written. Is each person on their own and will they all come to the same understanding without an authority? The Bible cannot adjudicate in these matters about itself. It does not say that it is Scripture and it does not interpret itself. Men do that as we have always done. To cloak oneself in the self-righteousness of believing that such a charism has been given to you as an individual and therefore we all can understand the many mysteries which men have studied for many centuries, seems to simply be a large dose of hubris not the humble origins of what you assert (the plain understanding . . . which is not always in the texts). For you are not submitting yourself to God when you reject His Church which gave you the Bible. You deny that the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth. Do you not think that this same Church knows not how to read Scripture? I find that rather odd.
Under your system of examination of Scripture every man and every soul that soaks itself in the Scriptures will come to the same understanding; or they will each be a church unto themselves. For only the subjective view will be valid. There is no objectivity in this idea and the divisions of Christian thought around the world are in the many thousands. We only share, it seems to me, the very basic understanding that Christ is the Savior and that He is God. Outside of that there is great differences between what each Christian sect might put forth as truth. And, God in His Wisdom has not left us as orphans to act as such. He left us a visible Authority to decide on all matters of Faith and Morals. Thanks be to God.
Did Christ create a subjective Church and Faith to be understood by our own lights or did He give us an objective Authority that will lead all men together as His flock? Otherwise we are left orphaned and we are the “Peter’s” of our subjective understanding of Scripture and Christianity itself. It is logically unworkable.