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August 25, 2004



Bad mouth Hellboy all you want Dave. Sticks and stones, brother. Sticks and stones...



I would also like to add, since I can't edit my original post, that I think this is very intersting. I've never heard of the Sola Sriptura, so I find this topic very exciting to hear about.
I haven't studied the bible like you and Michael West have, so I'm not any where close to a positition where I can debate on here on what is and what isn't theologically right. If I did, I would just sound more like an idiot than I normally do.
As far as the Virgin Mary goes, I take the Kevin Smith route on that one. Believing a woman gave birth without having known the touch of a man takes faith. Believing that she never did after that while still remaining married takes gullibility.


To take another point of Ginny's, scripture does not hold generally to the idea of losing one's salvation. The only text that seem to lean towards the possible loss of salvation is in the book of Hebrews and once studied it becomes apparent that the author is actually making an argument against the loss of salvation from a Jewish mindset.

Generally speaking, if you're going to argue with Dave (or me for that matter) you will find us kindly and open minded. If fact we'll greatly enjoy the discussion. But making general statements about the amount of bible reading we've done isn't going to sway us. If you want to make a point about what the bible says you'll need to direct us to the passage your referring to a bit more specifically.


What? You don't have Bible ESP? Some student you are... :-D


We aren't allowed to deify Mary. We revere her. There's a difference. Besides, we can't honor her any more than God already has.

God Bless and Pax Christi


Do you not pray to Mary or the saints? Scripture never once indicates that a person who has passed away can be communicated with, much less asked to intercede on our behalf. No one ever prays to anyone but God the Father in scripture. I (and basically all other Protestants) believe that anything else is idolatry, no matter what meaning you pour into the words you use.

By the way, thanks for being so civil.


Well, I admit I'm no Bible Scholar, I'm only repeating what I already know. There are others I'm sure who could give you a more lucid argument.

There's a difference between praying to and praying for. Our prayers "to" Mary are merely supplication. It's the same as if you looked at one of your friends during a hard time and asked him or her to pray for you. The same with the saints.

If you have any desire for further interfaith dialogue, you're welcome to sign up at http://phorum.phatmass.com/ and debate with others who are more learned on the subject than I am.

God Bless and Pax Christi

Michael West

I both agree and disagree with you Amy. I've heard the argument before that praying to Mary, or through her if you prefer, is the same as asking a friend to pray with you. And since we all agree that Mary is around somewhere, that this practice is not really that outlandish. There are a couple of points I would bring up however.

First, calling on the dead in Christ to voice our prayers is completely lacking in any scriptural foundation. Even after the deaths of most of the apostles no book promotes the idea of asking their help or joined supplication. One can make an argument that lots of things are not explicitly mentioned in the New Testament (instruments for example, for my Church of Christ friends), but the absence of an proof for a stance only heightens the requirement for circumstancial evidence. Which in this case is also lacking.

Second, the example of praying through a saint is not the same as asking a friend or clergy member to pray for you, since the assumption in those cases is that you will both be praying to God through Christ about the subject. Where it seems that in praying through a saint, I don't then need to petition God directly.

Third, the practice as a whole deteriates the concept of the priesthood of believers (which is repetitively supported by scripture) and my ability through the blood of Christ to approach God directly. If I have access to the general, why would I go to a captain?

Last, it is important to return to David's orginal issue... If scripture doesn't support it what real place does it have in Christianity? Christian traditions have a real place in our lives even those that aren't based in scripture... From the Christmas tree to the Easter Egg, but they are supposed to be a reflection of Christian Doctrine, not a creator of it.


Thanks for your civil conversation. I did find the superpope things hilarious, and even ordered the t-shirt.
The best place to find answers to questions about Catholicism is "Catholic Answers." www.catholic.com . Your second point misses our point completely, and just takes some mulling over. And I am sorry if I sound aggresive, but I feel I must clarify some other things, please do no be offended.
Your whole approach to Scripture is admittedly different than ours. As a student of Catholic Church history, I must seriously question whether any pope ever made any such statements as you raise above about saint veneration, etc., and would be interested to know which popes said what in reference to your statement in your posting about contradicting popes.
And in regards to the Bible, let me say, that the great Catholic (and Croatian!) saint, St. Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, the common language of the time, said that "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." Unfortunately, we Catholics have forgotten that, but are now diving back into it with full force. One of the main reasons we do not hold to Sola Scriptura is because the Bible, and the New Testament, as we know it today, was not defined as to which books were left in or out, until the year 393 with the Council of Catholic Bishops at Hippo and in 397 at the Council of Carthage (both in N. Africa). This was later again ratified at the Council of Trent (of infamy to Protestants). This is why the Bible today does not contain books like the Gospel of Thomas (which says women must become men to go to heaven, and which was the basis of some movie like the Last Temptation of Christ of some such thing), the Gospel of Peter, letter of Clement, etc., etc. The Bible you hold in your hand only has authority because the Catholic Church gave it that authority. The question should be: what gives the church the right to make that decision. Saying the Holy Spirit has changed his methods since then does not make a whole lot of sense.
You are right that if Sola Scriuptura is out, then the rest of Protestantism, and all that you hold dear in that, becomes very unsteady; and I am sorry it is that way for you. But for 1500 years, no one ever came up with Sola Scriptura, until Luther. (Luther also added the word "alone " to Romans 3:28, and wanted to drop the Letter of James which balances Romans).

Which came first: the Church or the Bible? What guided the church for four centuries until the Bible canon was decided? Surely the books that are in it now, but what of the other ones? What about disputes? Why did Paul go to Jerusalem to confront Peter to his face if it were not that he knew this man Peter held the chair of Jesus (cf chair of Moses Mt 23:1-3) and it was important that everyone was on the same page?
And is Christianity just between me and God? What of the Body of Christ? Jesus said to Paul: Why are you persecuting ME?" The Body of Christ. Read Ephesians on the Body of Christ. That's why we ask others, including saints, to pray with us as a FAMILY of God thru Christ.
And the Trinity only has relevance because it was THE CHURCH, not the Bible, who spelled out that this was a natural consequence of the Scripture and of belief in Christ. It is because the Trinity is not explicitly in the Bible that some fundamentalist sects are now questioning the need for the Trinity, just as many mainline denominations now accept fornication, homosexuality and abortion, and other perversions (natural consequences of sola fide, by the way). These questions are not taken seriously in the Catholic church because an authority outside the Scripture, which indeed defined the Scripture, makes those determinations. And that is why there are thousands of denominations. See Ephesians on the church as the bride of Christ. Is Jesus a polygamist?
The Bible (New Testament) does not have anything to say about it's own authority, but it does talk about the importance of the Church:
Eph 4:7-10: Paul was made a minister of the Gospel to the Gentiles and to reveal the Mystery that "THROUGH THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be known....."
2Thess 2:15: Hold fast to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."
1 Tim 3:15: "....which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."
1 Cor 11:2: I commend you because you remember me in everything and amintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you." What traditions? They sound important? Maybe they had something to do with the constitution of the church and some of the other ways we pray, things that didn't need addressing in Paul's letters as much as other more pressing needs at the time. No where in the Bible is Scripture described as the pillar of truth. Christ is the Foundation, Peter is the Rock (with keys) and the Church is the Pillar of Truth. The Chuch is the Body of Christ, Scripture is the word of Christ, and Scruipture and Tradition and the Church come from the one source: Christ, and Scripture and Tradition can only be maintained in their integrety int he Body of Christ, His Church.

Sorry for my soapbox, but I in conscience I couldn't let Amy hanging alone. I know this may raise many other questions; like I said catholic.com is the best place to find very in depth answers from people who know where you are coming from better than most Catholics who largely don't understand their faith beyond some essentials to say nothing of your point of view to begin with. Hope you consider this civil.
In Christ.


Thanks for the comments, Strazman, and thanks for buying the shirt!

This is a difficult issue because each side believes they are correct for the exact same reason that the other side believes they are wrong.

You make it sound as if the decision as to what belonged in the canon of scripture was not carefully decided upon after dating and verifying sources and manuscripts. The sacraments we follow as protestants (communion and baptism) are found in scripture and were instituted by Christ Himself. We need no other tradition but what has been preserved in scripture by God. And as for whether or not anything has been left out, do you think God would allow an important text to go missing for 2000 years? He is God, after all.

I don't need tradition to inform me of the Trinity. John 1:1 lets me know that the Word was God and was with God at the same time, and that the Word "became flesh and dwelt among us". The Holy Spirit is also very plainly deliniated in scripture, and His coming was proclaimed by Christ himself.

The main comment you make that I'll take issue with, however, is the idea that denominations embracing abortion, homosexuality or any other sin is a logical consequence of sola scriptura. For that to be true, scripture would have to be unclear about these issues. It is not. Homosexuality and fornication are strictly condemned throughout the NT and OT. Abortion is the taking of innocent life and an attempt to circumvent God's design for life, so its condemnation need not be explicitly outlined in scripture.

You think I need tradition to help me interpret a verse that says homosexuals, murderers and fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God?

In order for someone to embrace homosexuality, fornication or abortion they have to IGNORE the truth of scripture. This has no bearing on the discussion at hand (if you can even call this discussion "at hand"... I wrote this original entry when the previous Pope was still alive).

If you want to blame sola scriptura for the existence of homosexual ministers, couldn't I just as easily blame Catholic tradition for causing the homosexual abuse of children at the hands of priests sworn to celibacy?

Let's not take man's tendency to follow his own selfish desires and blame it on God, scripture, or tradition.


Thanks for your thoughtful and sincere response. Good point about sins listed in the Bible, but my point is is that as St. Peter I think says in the NT: even the devil can quote scripture to his own profit; and other denominations do just that. But I do agree with you that these things are condemned. And the Trinity can be seen in the Bible also. But again, not all protestants agree on that? Who's to decide.
Also, you said: You (I) make it sound as if the decision as to what belonged in the canon of scripture was not carefully decided upon after dating and verifying sources and manuscripts." That's not what I said; just the opposite: I said the Catholic Church did just that: somebody had to do that to give us the Bible we have today: who decided what was included and what was not? That is precisely my point. And yes, it was done after long (three and half centuries) and serious and prayerful deliberation!
We agree that the Eucharist and Baptism are found in Scripture, but again: what do we mean by sacrament: Protestants are all over hte map on that. And is the Eucharist necessary for salvation? What if there are other sacraments that are not as explicit but there, that may have an effect on our salvation, like Confession (John 20)? What about the priesthood? Catholics believe the Eucharist is not present where the ministerial priesthood is not present? Anglicans sometimes say that. Lutherans and the rest emphasize the other priesthood, of the baptized. Some Protestants believe Baptism is NOT necessary for salvation, others do. Both point to the Bible. Who's right? As a Catholic I find it very confusing, and I am not trying to ID or slam any of your particular beliefs; but to me it's a roll of the dice what you may or may not believe, because there is no continuity in Protestantism, and I don't see why Jesus would want to leave us in such a mess.
I know I tend to be blunt. But thanks for listening.
By the way, I said the denominations that go off track on morals do so because of sola fide, not sola scriptura (Faith alone: I just have to believe in Jesus salvation and it doesn't matter what I do: a logical consequence of that is that you really do not care what you do, and if you read Reformation history, some Protestants took this to the extreme as the mainlines do today). So your whole counter argument misses my point entirely about sola fide. And we have to admit that those other Christian brothers and sisters of ours appeal to St. Paul's so called mysogynism when they try to turn things upside down: again: by what AUTHORITY do we interpret Scripture: I was not trying to blame homosex on Scripture, the other side is already doing it! So then in this case it is not a matter of scripture or not, but whose reasoning are you going to follow and why. The other side will say those were cultural constraints. You and I do not. Again, I do agree with you they are wrong, but not for all the same reasons you do: I also have the Church to back me up alongside the Scriptures; both are consistent in this; and the Church is an additional proof text, so to speak in this matter; both need to coincide at some level and balance each other. And I don't see this as a weakness or a weakening of Scripture as you seem to: Again the Church is the source of the Scripture! You need both.
And you may not need tradition to inform you of the Trinity, but it WAS the tradition and the Church that gave us the definition of the Trinity; that's a historical fact, Council of Nicaea, 325, and the other early councils. A two edged sword there: otherwise we would be very confused about what we are talking about; though it sounds like we already are.
Also, where in the Scripture does it say that everything is there? The end of John's Gospel and the Beginning of Luke's Gospel both spell out very clearly: things that will bring you to faith in Christ as Son of God are here; if all were written, all the books in the world could not contain them. What about bringing us to unity as a church? Is ALL of it in Scripture? Some Protestants would say yes, we would say sorta. And I would refer you again to the passages on tradition that the Bible points to something outside of itself that seems to be very essential: the church and tradition. If you deny that, then it would seem you are denying the truth that the scripture is trying to tell us. It's not so much a matter of what you need or do not need, but what actually happened when the church began and what is the Bible actually saying. We may be able to figure all these things out without the aid of tradition and the church, (and any Protestants who do that usually become Catholic) but in the end, the Bible says we need those too.
Hope this helps explain our view better.
With prayers in Christ,


Sorry for the delay in replying! I had this typed up the day you posted, but I forgot to post it on the site.

The sacrificial atonement of Christ is rendered worthless if we are capable of doing anything to earn our salvation. Paul makes this clear. Whether or not different groups believe this is irrelevant. It is evident from the plain reading of scripture that this is the truth of salvation.

I did misread your post. I didn't notice you switched "Solas" on me. :) Sola Fide isn't about what sort of behavior is acceptable. It is about the nature of forgiveness. Paul makes it plain that being under grace is no excuse to do wrong. "Everything is permissible to me, but not everything is beneficial."

You speak of the Trinity and the canon of scripture being developed by men as if that supports your claim for the necessity of tradition. But it wasn't tradition that arrived at these conclusions. It was men studying scripture and using scripture to judge itself.

You can bring up the individual failings of people all you want, but those sorts of claims are ad hominem and are not valid in a logical argument. What you and I say or do has no bearing on the TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE, which exists objectively whether or not you and I agree on what that truth is. A philosophy cannot be judged by the behavior of the people who claim to follow it.

Jesus didn't leave us in a mess. The minds of men have always been corrupted and are going to stay corrupted until Jesus returns to make "all things new" when the old heaven and earth pass away. We should be able to agree on that.

Traditions change with the times, but the scriptures have remained true to their original text and can be dated back to within 50 years of the original writing. This is the stability God has given me. My beliefs need not be subject to the whims and agendas of fallible men.

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    Ravi Zacharias: Can Man Live Without God?
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