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The Final Authority
Robert Wurtz II
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (II Peter 1:18-20)
Our passage is the beginning of a discourse on false teaching and false teachers that Peter continues describing saying, and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (II Peter 2:3 NASB) He continues on well into the chapter describing them as deceivers... having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children. (II Peter 2:14 NASB) This is a sobering account that dominates almost 3 chapters of II Peter. Yet we find in chapter 3 the solution for the deception; (I want you) to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the commandment of our Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. (II Peter 3:2 ISV) The rightly divided word of God is the final authority upon which we are to base our doctrine and practice. Many things have been used in the former days as well as our day to try to authenticate doctrine and practice, but the FINAL authority must be the rightly divided word of truth.
An Appeal to the Conscience
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God. (II Cor. 4:1-2)
There is a sense in which as Paul was preaching he was not ministering towards the heart for affirmation of what was being said as truth- but towards the conscience. This is important. Whenever we hear some doctrine or message being presented we have in inner witness that is hard wired into our being. That inner witness is like a judge that weighs words and concepts against what believe to be true. For those that truly desire truth and are willing to allow the word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit to teach them- they will come to the knowledge of God rightly. But if there are secret shameful desires lurking under the surface then those desires will be at work distorting what the person is willing to accept as truth. This is critical. Solomon stated in Proverbs 4:23, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Corruption and deception walk hand in hand.
Pleasure in Unrighteousness = Candidate for Deception
The word 'worldly' is one that is no longer in vogue in many circles. But there is a great danger to giving ones self over to the pleasures of sin and compromise in this world. That primary danger is found in Paul's writings to the Thessalonians; And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thess. 2:11-12) There is a price to pay for refusing to forsake this present world. Not only does the person's heart deceive them, but the risk is that God may in fact also send a strong delusion. This may well explain why many people seem to fall into deception after deception; they are trying to learn the ways of God without submitting to His authority and that is not possible. A twisted doctrine will always result.
Symptoms of Deception
One of the aspects of this behavior is that their sinful ways are openly revealed for all to see. They do not cover it- they celebrate it. Notice II Peter 2:13; They take pleasure in wild parties in broad daylight. The level of highhandedness of their compromise will dictate their level of deception. The more froward they are in worldliness and sin- the more deceived we can expect them to be. In fact, they even take it upon themselves to speak evil of celestial beings. We read in II Peter 2:10; Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings. (Exodus 22:28) This is a characteristic of many in Charismatic circles today. It is evidence of an underlying pride in which neither God or His word is revered. Folk usurp God's authority by railing upon the demonic rather than submitting themselves to God and resisting the devil. There are even songs that are sung that border on 'railing' and by no means can they please the Lord.
Crafty words are not evidence of authority. Signs and wonders cannot be used as a measure for truth. A large following is no evidence of anything. Words of prophecy and other use of the prophetical gifts cannot authenticate matters of doctrine or practice. These matters must be reserved for the rightly divided word of God alone. Peter states it plainly when he reminds us that he had a glorious experience in which he heard the voice of God as it spoke of Christ. Yet he states; We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. The word of God is of more value than an eyewitness account- especially in regards to fulfilled prophecy. We are told even by our Lord to 'search the scriptures...' In Acts 17:11 we read; These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. There are two things here:
1) They received the word with a readiness of mind (an open mind)
2) They searched the scriptures 'daily' to ensure what Paul said was true
This must be our attitude in this crisis hour. The enemy is working deception after deception, while their is a readiness to receive everything false in many cases. Again we are warned that the coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the power of Satan. He will use every kind of power, including miraculous signs, lying wonders, and every type of evil to deceive those who are perishing, those who refused to love the truth that would save them. (II Thess 2:9-10) This is an ongoing danger within the churches. But we have a more sure word of prophecy that we do well to give heed. We need a readiness of mind and a willingness to search the scriptures diligently in these deceptive times. We need an attitude that desires to know the truth rather than 'some new thing.' There are many false teachers in the land it is our responsibility to make sure we do not fall prey to them.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2009/8/22 23:36||Profile|
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As I've said already, there are dozens of sites that give a historic apologetic concerning the 66 books of scripture, it would behoove you to find your answers there. If you are not looking for answers, but rather helping us rethink our (in your opinion) wrong headed presuppositions, you are wasting your time here. Our brothers and sisters on this site do not hold to your beliefs, nor will they, God willing.
You have made your convictions known, as have we. Really, it's time to move on.
But it is good to have you here Catholic. May the LORD open you to the truth of Himself.
[i]Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdon[/i]. Fear of man is the path to hell.
| 2009/8/22 23:52||Profile|
Sir, have you ever even BEEN to a Catholic forum?
Why would I do that? I'm a Jew who follows Jesus. why would I ever have anything to do with the dark satanic institution that murdered more of the kin of my flesh than hitler himself? In fact the roman institution's seat of satan the vactican was one of the first "nations" that sent an ambassador to greet hitler as the legitimate leader of germany and of course your "papa" during that era gave his blessing to hitler, but that isnt surprising, as they both followed the same master, satan.
I'm not in the least offended by your ignorant and superstitious, fear-filled assessment of the Church Jesus Christ left behind. I once was ignorant like you.
It matters not one whit to me if you are offended by my forthtelling of the truth that scarlet whore of babylon, the roman institution engages in, nor do your insults affect me the least. If rome and her hell bound , priests and followers had its way, they would be doing a lot more than merely engaging in insults, they would be murdering, as they have in their well documented past of satanic machinations.
Lastly, I dont care if you take me seriously, as you put it. You better take God seriously, repent and flee rome before its too late, too late to realize hell is a million degrees hot, because thats right where you and that whole gaggle of mary worshipping idolators are headed, right to hell.
[url=http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sid=6846]Why True Protestants Reject the pope-Ian Paisley[/url]
| 2009/8/22 23:55|
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Ron, I appreciate what you've shared so far!
"...the Bible subtatiates itself as the word of God"
It may not be that we need to answer the question put here exactly.
But how does the Bible direct us, for faith, and for practice?
Christ prayed for His followers to be set apart by means of the Truth. And He said that God's Word is Truth(John 17:17).
When Christ was put to the test by the Devil, He answered him by the Word of God(Mat 4:1-10).
And when those that opposed Christ challenged Him, He asked them:
[b][color=660000]Have ye not read?[/color][/b]
...what David did when He was hungry(Mat 12:3)
...what God said in the beginning about marriage(Mat 19:4)
...what God said of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, God is the God of the living and not of the dead(Mat 22:29-32).
Saying to them also,
[b][color=660000]Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. [/color][/b]
When Joseph was in prison, it was the Word of the Lord that tried him(Psalm 105:17-19). And it was by faith in the Word of the Lord that Joseph sent his bones into the promise land(Gen 50:25).
And it was the Word of the Lord that
caused the Psalmist to hope(Psalm 119:49).
is upon the waters,
full of majesty,
breaks the cedars,
divides the flames
and shakes the wilderness(Psalm 25)
that brought all things into exisitence and upholds them even now(Heb 11:3, Col 1:17).
is pure(Psalm 12:6)
is tried(Psalm 18:30)
and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction(2Ti 3:16).
Yes, the Apostle Paul did write to those in Thessalonica, that they should hold to the traditions they had been taught, either by their word, or their letter.
They were sent by God, and those that are sent by God speak the words of God, because God does not give them the Spirit by measure(John 3:34).
Surely they spoke according to the law, and to the testimony(Is 8:20).
Christopher Joel Dandrow
| 2009/8/22 23:56||Profile|
| Why True Protestants Reject the pope|
This is a clear succinct sermon by Ian Paisley on the apostacy and error of the roman institution and that man of perdition that heads it up, the "pope".
[url=http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sid=6846]Why True Protestants Reject the pope.[/url]
| 2009/8/23 0:08|
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WHY THE BEREANS REJECTED SOLA SCRIPTURA
By STEVE RAY
A prominent anti-Catholic organization out of Oregon, with Dave Hunt at the helm, publishes a monthly newsletter entitled The Berean Call. The title is taken from Acts 17, where Paul refers to the Bereans in Asia Minor as "noble-minded," and Hunt chose the title to promote his belief in sola scriptura.
Sola scriptura, or the "Bible only," is a Protestant doctrine invented in the fifteenth century. It declares the Bible is the sole source of revelation and the only and final judge in all matters of the Christian faith. Martin Luther developed it as a reaction to the historic teachings of the Catholic Church and of the Fathers of the first centuries. Luther rejected the authority of the Church and the apostolic tradition and so was left with sola scripturathe Bible alone.
In reality, though, Hunt has turned the episode in Berea on its head, since the noble-minded Bereans actually condemn his sola scriptura position. This Bereans passage has been commandeered by Fundamentalists for too long, and it is time Catholics reclaim it. Many have been troubled by this text, and many explanations from a Catholic perspective have been mediocre at best. Not only can the text be explained easily by Catholics, but it is actually a strong argument against sola scriptura and a convincing defense of the teaching of the Catholic Church.
We are told that the Bereans were more noble-minded (open-minded, better disposed, fair)but more noble-minded than whom? The Thessalonians! It is convenient for Fundamentalists to pull this passage out of context and force it to stand alone. That way their case seems convincing, but the context tells the real story. Before we look at the Bereans, lets take a look at those they are compared to, the Thessalonians. What did the Thessalonians do that made them less noble-minded?
We find out in Acts 17:19: "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ. And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and, taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus. And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard this. And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go."
The Thessalonians rejected Paul and his message, and, after denouncing him, they became jealous that others believed. They treated Paul with contempt and violence, throwing him ignominiously out of town. Why? "For three weeks he [Paul] reasoned with them from the Scriptures" in the synagogue, as was his custom. They did not revile Paul the first week or the second; rather, they listened and discussed. But ultimately they rejected what he had to say. They compared Pauls message to the Old Testament and decided that Paul was wrong. We must remember that many were proclaiming a wide variety of new teachings, all supposedly based on the Scriptures and revelations from God. Heresies, cults, and sects were as numerous in the Roman Empire as they are today. The Jews in Thessalonica had a right to be skeptical.
Now lets look at Lukes comment about the noble-minded Bereans: "The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men" (Acts 17:1012).
When Protestants use this passage as a proof text for the doctrine of sola scriptura, they should realize that those in question were not Christians; they were Hellenistic Jews. There was no doctrine of sola scriptura within Jewish communities, but the Scriptures were held as sacred. Although the Jews are frequently referred to as "the people of the book," in reality they had a strong oral tradition that accompanied their Scriptures, along with an authoritative teaching authority, as represented by the "seat of Moses" in the synagogues (Matt. 23:2). The Jews had no reason to accept Pauls teaching as "divinely inspired," since they had just met him. When new teachings sprang up that claimed to be a development of Judaism, the rabbis researched to see if they could be verified from the Torah.
If one of the two groups could be tagged as believers in sola scriptura, who would it be, the Thessalonians or the Bereans? The Thessalonians, obviously. They, like the Bereans, examined the Scriptures with Paul in the synagogue, yet they rejected his teaching. They rejected the new teaching, deciding after three weeks of deliberation that Pauls word contradicted the Torah. Their decision was not completely unjustified from their scriptural perspective. How could the Messiah of God be cursed by hanging on a tree like a common criminal, publicly displayed as one who bore the judgment of God? What kind of king and Messiah would that be? This seemed irreconcilable to them (see Simon J. Kistemaker, Acts [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1990], 614).
When some of the Greeks and prominent citizens did accept Jesus as Messiah, the Jews became jealousand rightfully so, from their perspective, since the new believers separated themselves from the synagogue and began meeting elsewhere, at Jasons house. The Jews naturally considered themselves the authoritative interpreters of the Torah. Who were the Gentiles to interpret Scripture and decide important theological issues or accept additional revelation? They were the "dogs," not the chosen custodians of the oracles of God (see William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, 1976], 128).
We can see, then, that if anyone could be classified as adherents to sola scriptura it was the Thessalonian Jews. They reasoned from the Scriptures alone and concluded that Pauls new teaching was "unbiblical."
The Bereans, on the other hand, were not adherents of sola scriptura, for they were willing to accept Pauls new oral teaching as the word of God (as Paul claimed his oral teaching was; see 1 Thess. 2:13). The Bereans, before accepting the oral word of God from Paul, a tradition as even Paul himself refers to it (see 2 Thess. 2:15), examined the Scriptures to see if these things were so. They were noble-minded precisely because they "received the word with all eagerness." Were the Bereans commended primarily for searching the Scriptures? No. Their open-minded willingness to listen was the primary reason they are referred to as noble-mindednot that they searched the Scriptures. A perusal of grammars and commentaries makes it clear that they were "noble-minded" not for studying Scripture, but for treating Paul more civilly than did the Thessalonianswith an open mind and generous courtesy (see I. Howard Marshall, "The Acts of the Apostles" in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1981], 5:280).
The Bereans searched the Torah no less than the Thessalonians, yet they were eager to accept words of God from the mouth of Paul, in addition to what they already held to be Scripture, that is, the Law and the Prophets. Even if one claims that Paul preached the gospel and not a "tradition," it is clear that the Bereans were accepting new revelation that was not contained in their Scriptures. These Berean Jews accepted oral teaching, the tradition of the apostles, as equal to Scripture, in addition to, and as an "extension" of, the Torah. This is further illustrated by the Christian communitys reception of Pauls epistles as divinely inspired Scripture (see 2 Peter 3:16; here Peter seems to acknowledges Pauls writings as equal to the "other Scriptures," which can be presumed to refer to the Old Testament).
From the perspective of anti-Catholics, the Thessalonians would have been more noble-minded, for they loyally stuck to their canon of Scripture alone and rejected any additional binding authority (spoken or written) from the mouth of an apostle. In fact, at the Council of Jamnia, around A.D. 90, the Jews determined that anything written after Ezra was not infallible Scripture; they specifically mentioned the Gospels of Christ in order to reject them.
Why did the Bereans search the Scriptures? Because they were the sole source of revelation and authority? No, but to see if Paul was in line with what they already knewto confirm additional revelation. They would not submit blindly to his apostolic teaching and oral tradition, but, once they accepted the credibility of Pauls teaching as the oral word of God, they put it on a par with Scripture and recognized its binding authority. After that, like the converts who believed in Thessalonica, they espoused apostolic Tradition and the Old Testament equally as Gods word (see 2 Thess. 2:15, 3:16). Therefore they accepted apostolic authority, which means that the determinations of Peter in the first Church council, reported in Acts 15, would have been binding on these new Gentile converts.
By contrast, the Jews of Thessalonica would have condemned Peters biblical exegesis at the Council of Jerusalem. They would have scoffed at the Churchs having authority over themthe Torah was all they needed. Those who held to sola scriptura rejected Paul because he claimed to be the voice of "additional revelation."
Luke makes it plain that those who were willing to accept apostolic Tradition as binding were more noble-minded. The Bereans passage, therefore, is hardly a proof text for those who espouse sola scriptura. This text proves too much for Fundamentalists. Anti-Catholics love to associate themselves with the Bereans, but the example of the Bereans actually condemns their exegesis. Lukes praise of the Bereans cannot be applied to Fundamentalist Protestants, who resemble rather the Thessalonians, who held to sola scriptura and rejected the oral word of God contained in Tradition and in the teaching authority of the Church.
To be consistent with his novel theology of sola scriptura, Dave Hunt ought to rename his monthly newsletter. Let me suggest a new title: The Thessalonian Call.
| 2009/8/23 1:03|
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you're just here to start trouble "Catholic", my prediction is that you wont be around long.
| 2009/8/23 1:13|
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Look here, Natan. You're beginning to sound like a bit of a bully.
What you don't realize is that what you fear and have an infatuation with deriding verbally is the true Church of Jesus Christ.
I wish you had more substance.
| 2009/8/23 1:17|
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Welcome to the forum !
I believe that Sola Scriptura is indeed defensible on a number of lines of reasoning. One question I would ask you to consider is : If we believe the words in the Bible are 'God's words', then as David said, as recorded in Psalm 119:89, "Forever O Lord, thy word is established in heaven." If David is conveying God's truth here, then what is 'thy word' that He is pointing us towards ?
Let's also consider this, when Christ (who we agree was God in the flesh) was tempted by Satan, what words did he use to repel him ? They were the words we have recorded in the Old Testament, so this is further proof that the Bible is where we should go to, to find God's truth.
At the end of the book of Revelations, God gives a warning against taking away from the words of 'the book of this prophecy', so again the preeminent position of the Bible as the arbiter of truth is upheld here.
Earlier, there has been discussion about the verse (in 2 Peter) which talks about the fact that scripture is never subject to any 'private interpretation'. This brings up the vital question, can bishops or popes or other church leaders claim to have the final answer on the meaning of any particular scripture ? I would submit that the Holy Spirit is the one has perfect understanding of what the meaning of any scripture is, and he alone can illuminate our minds about the meaning of specific Bible verses.
As to whether Bishops or Popes or anyone else should have the right to be the authority on what is the correct interpretations of any scripture, in love, I would ask you this : Why is it that the positions of many popes over the years have been in contradiction to one another ? Has God amended 'truth', over time ?
If they speak the words of God, then it seems that their teachings should all line up with one another. For example, it is my understanding that in times past, the Catholic church had been in favour of Creationism, but now espouses the belief that Evolution is true. I believe that pope John Paul advanced this position.
Also, here's a thought. The apostle Paul was, if anything, one of the 'early church fathers', though I would prefer to call him an early church leader. Yet Paul, as a church father, didn't simply say, 'Listen to me, because I'm a church father'. Instead, Acts 17:11 records that he commended the Bereans as being of noble character, because they "examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true". 'Search the scriptures' was also something that Christ told us to do.
Shouldn't we heed Christ's words, and follow the example of the Bereans, by searching the Scriptures ourselves to find out what God has to say in them ?
| 2009/8/23 1:17||Profile|
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I just noticed that you had already brought up the passage about the Bereans- Acts 17:11 (below) that I had also posted about and your post is suggesting that the Bereans were not in favour of Sola Scriptura since they accepted Paul's teachings about Christ. It seems to me that this misses the point though. Paul was not just commending the Bereans because they searched the scriptures, but because they received the word that he was teaching. It is both these behaviours that Paul was in favour of. I firmly believe that what is being implied here, is that because they were searching the scriptures (with an open heart), they had come to see that Christ was the promised messiah who had been foretold in the Old Testament. Obviously, there was something about Christ and the gospel message which they saw as lining up with prerevealed truth, which they had come across in the Old Testament.
I see no 'anti sola scriptura message here'. Rather, it is underscoring of the principle that whatever we come across that purports to be 'truth', whether in word or in writing, it needs to be in accordance with 'the scriptures'. Furthermore, the point remains that Paul was encouraging people to 'check' out the message we hear from 'anyone' with what is in the Scriptures. I think this point comes across quite clearly here and in other verses.
11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
| 2009/8/23 1:40||Profile|