Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sola Scriptura as an Epistemological Principle?

It is objected by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox that there is no verse that teaches sola scriptura. But I tend to disagree with this assessment because I believe that 1 Corinthians 4:6 teaches sola scriptura. But suppose I am all wrong about that and it in fact does not teach sola scriptura, does this entail that I should be a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox? In other words: What are the implications if one rejects that sola scriptura is taught in the Bible? My contention is that there is really no major implication to Protestantism if scripture alone is not taught in the Bible.

So let us suppose for the moment that sola scriptura is not taught in the Bible and that we reject the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic arguments (as I have done elsewhere on this blog) then all we are left with is scripture. So we could modify our view of God's revelation to be as follows: Scripture alone is the only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice that we have knowledge of. As for there being additional revelation other than the Bible we should withhold belief that such additional revelation exists. In other words, with respect to the proposition that there is additional revelation other than the Bible we should be agnostic with respect to this proposition.

Once one has accepted this epistemological form of sola scriptura (the criteria given above) then it seems like the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox claims of incoherence lose their weight. This is because the conjunction of reason and scripture warrant the conclusion that these are the only scriptures we know of (this is of course assuming that the other church authority arguments fails). Therefore, there is no logical incoherence with this epistemological version of sola scriptura.

Conclusion

So even if Protestants cannot provide a proof text for sola scriptura this still does not entail that one should be a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. In fact it would appear that the epistemic status of Protestantism is not effected at all if one cannot give a proof text.

Additional arguments must be given and have dealt with those arguments in the posts referenced below.

For the refutation of all the positive arguments that the East and Rome gives for believing their positions see the following blog posts:

Canon Argument:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/refutation-of-canon-argument.html

Perspicuity:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/refutation-of-roman-catholic-and.html

Infallible Interpretations:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/do-we-need-infallible-interpretation-of.html

Scripture Alone:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/02/sola-scriptura.html

59 comments:

Derek DeVries said...

You said: "So we could modify our view of God's revelation to be as follows: Scripture alone is the only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice that we have knowledge of."

First of all, which Scripture?

Second, on the basis of what will you decide this or that Scripture, (if not by presupposing 'sola scriptura' which we are supposing not to be in Scripture)?

Third, how would you know that the Scripture you have happens to be "the only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice" (if not by presupposing 'sola scriptura' which we are supposing not to be in Scripture)?

It seems to me that the circularity of Protestantism applies even if we were to grant that 'sola scriptura' is not taught in the Scripture and Scripture is all that we have left were we to reject EO/RCC arguments.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello Derek,

The scripture I am referring here to are the Protestant canon.

I would use reason to determine what would be scripture. I would say that we form a basic belief that God is speaking through that particular scripture and that we can use history to see what books were written from those related to the Apostolic circle, what books were written earlier, and what books are theologically consistent.

I would use reason to determine what scriptures I know of or not. If I do not know something is scripture then I obviously would not follow it as the only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice that I know of.

Well I am using reasoning that either based on a basic belief or inferred from a basic belief so by definition it would not be circular. So I am unclear as to how it would be circular. Do you think you could show me how this is circular?

Thank you,

NPT

Mark said...

I posted this same question in your other post- the post about Michael Horton's article.

I'd like to re-open the discussion I see on your other post, on Sola Scriptura.

Here is my question.

Consider proposition P: Group S of books are all divinely inspired books. (this is the question which will in effect answer the question- which books belong in the Bible- which tells us what is the correct Canon).

Now, how do you justify a belief that P is true?

Here's how the Catholic might justify, or could justify his belief that P is true. The Catholic, as someone in the comments explained, can say- look at the Bible as a historical document. Jesus claims to be God, and He also claims that have established an infallible teaching magisterial authority- an infallible Church. This is a merely historical claim at first- even the atheist will believe that Jesus claimed such things- even though he may not believe that the claims are true. Now, the Catholic puts faith in Jesus and by faith knows that all Jesus says is true. So, he believes that there is an authority that can answer the question- and this authority is the Catholic Church. And this is how it happened historically. The Church infallibly declared which books were actually inspired.

Now, how would you justify belief that P is true? Is there some authority to answer such matters for you that is itself infallible? You might think that we don't need infallibility to have knowledge. Perhaps it's true that we don't need an infallible source in order to justify some beliefs (like that 2+2=4), but won't you need an infallible source to justify the belief that the list of Books in the Bible is infallible, that all those books are inspired and none of them are un=inspired books (especially in light of the historical debate about which books were inspired)? If the atheist questioned you, how would you justify your belief that you have the right books in the Bible?

Mark said...

Nathaniel,

Do you really think that reasoning can tell us whether a book has a divine or supernatural quality, if it is divinely inspired? I think reasoning can help us to discover a motive of credibility, and we can discover reasons to believe that what some person says is true, but I don't really think that this sort of reason is present with regard to the authors of Scripture.

Do you have some proof that the authors of the writers in the New Testament actually claimed that their books were inspired, as well as motive of credibility to believe each of those authors? For example, the Mormons have the first, with regard to the book of Mormon. But they don't have the second.

You might think that If the Catholic can ask this of your position, then he has to answer the same question. I might reply that, of course it can't be the case that we have no reason to think that the authors of the New Testament books believed that they were divinely inspired. But,there was disagreement about which books were inspired- this is a historical fact. AND IMPORTANTLY, there is not sufficient reason to think that we could separate the good from the bad (i.e. choosing the books in the Canon) merely by reasons of textual comparison- i.e. looking for consistency or other textual qualities or relations between the books. The only sufficient reason to think that one has the ability to infallibly decide which books are inspired, and which ones are not, is if one is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church claims to be the One Church established by Christ, an infallible magisterial teaching authority established by God Himself. Now, we can discuss whether there is reason to think that Jesus Christ ever did such a thing as establish One True Church which He promised an infallible teaching authority in matters of doctrine, in teaching on faith and morals.

Taylor, I don't know what you mean by basic belief, and how that is related to justification with regard to the belief that a certain book is divinely inspired.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Mark Here is my response to your first post of questions:

The you present Argument is as follows:

P1: If one does not have infallible and authoritative church to determine the canon then one cannot know what books belong in the canon

P2: Protestants do not have an infallible and authoritative church to determine the canon

C: Hence, Protestants cannot know what books belong in the canon



A Rejection of the Argument:

The Protestant ought to reject P1 because one who holds to the Protestant position can say that the Bible self-authenticating and self-verifying thereby suggesting that when one reads it they just know it is God speaking to them. To use philosophical jargon: It is a properly basic belief what books are divinely inspired and belong in the Canon of scripture. A basic belief is a sort of belief that is reasonable to hold without inference and arguments, but yet these reasonable beliefs are basic or foundational for inference and arguments to start. Here are a few basic beliefs that are reasonable to hold without inference or argumentation: The existence of the external world, the fact that you have existed longer than five minutes, that you have reliable faculties, that we are not in a matrix and that we are not brains in vats. Therefore, it is a properly basic belief that God speaks to me through the 66 books of the Bible when I read them.

A Biblical Basis:

But is this idea of us being reasonable in believing that the Bible is divinely inspired independent of argument and inference itself a Biblical Idea?

It certainly seems that it is. Jesus says of himself to believers that they will know his voice:

John 10:3-6 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Jesus does not say that they will know the Shepard’s voice on the basis of arguments and inference, but merely that when they encounter it they will know it is the voice of God. This is how the Protestant knows that the 66 books in the Bible are divinely inspired by God.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Do we really need a Divinely Inspired Table of Contents?

At this point the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox might say “well you may know the 66 books of the Bible belong in the canon but you do not have a divinely inspired and authoritative table of contents to the Bible.” In short, they are objecting that in the Bible it never says what books belong and do not belong in the Bible.

How should we respond to this?

The Bible does give a criterion for what books belong as scripture in the Canon (John 10:3-6). However, Non-Protestants will be quick to point out that it does not give the content of which books fulfill that criterion. But why think that we need that? I really can think of no good reason for why that is necessary. Admittedly, it may be subjectively preferable to some, but it is hard to see why this is necessary. They might argue that it makes things clear and that thereby entails that the Non-Protestant position is more reasonable, but I have demonstrated in the last post that just because a position is clearer than another does not constitute a good reason for choosing one position over another.

For the last post I reference look here: http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/refutation-of-roman-catholic-and.html

Mark You said: "Here's how the Catholic might justify, or could justify his belief that P is true. The Catholic, as someone in the comments explained, can say- look at the Bible as a historical document. Jesus claims to be God, and He also claims that have established an infallible teaching magisterial authority- an infallible Church. This is a merely historical claim at first- even the atheist will believe that Jesus claimed such things- even though he may not believe that the claims are true. Now, the Catholic puts faith in Jesus and by faith knows that all Jesus says is true. So, he believes that there is an authority that can answer the question- and this authority is the Catholic Church. And this is how it happened historically. The Church infallibly declared which books were actually inspired."

My Response: Is this a fallible or infallible argument you have made here? And how do you know it is the Catholic church and not the Eastern? You are going to need yet another fallible argument to justify that. You and I are in the same boat we are both going to need fallible human arguments to determine what is God's infallible revelation, the difference is of course is that you choose the church and I choose the a collection of books.

Do you really think that reasoning can tell us whether a book has a divine or supernatural quality, if it is divinely inspired? I think reasoning can help us to discover a motive of credibility, and we can discover reasons to believe that what some person says is true, but I don't really think that this sort of reason is present with regard to the authors of Scripture.

My Response: Yes, I really think reasoning can help us determine what books are divinely inspired. In the same way you use reasoning to determine what church is infallible.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Do you have some proof that the authors of the writers in the New Testament actually claimed that their books were inspired, as well as motive of credibility to believe each of those authors? For example, the Mormons have the first, with regard to the book of Mormon. But they don't have the second.

My Response: Why think that I need proof? why could it not be properly basic? I have arguments but I do not need arguments, all that I need is for a belief to have warrant in order for me to hold it. My argument would be that all of the books of the New Testament fulfill these 3 reasonable criteria: 1) they were written by an apostle or someone connected with apostolic circle, 2) they can be reasonably dated to the first century when the Apostles and prophets were alive, 3) all of the books are theologically coherent with one another. My reason for thinking that the New Testament is inspired then is this reasonable criteria and that it is a properly basic belief. Do you have proof that the Catholic church is the true church over and against the Eastern Orthodox Church, sedevacantists, the Mormons, and the Jehovah's Witnesses? Any proof you will give will just be fallible human reasoning to justify an infallible church, the same way I use fallible human reasoning to justify a infallible collection of documents.

You might think that If the Catholic can ask this of your position, then he has to answer the same question. I might reply that, of course it can't be the that we have no reason to think that the authors of the New Testament books believed that they were divinely inspired. But,there was disagreement about which books were inspired- this is a historical fact. AND IMPORTANTLY, there is not sufficient reason to think that we could separate the good from the bad (i.e. choosing the books in the Canon) merely by reasons of textual comparison- i.e. looking for consistency or other textual qualities or relations between the books. The only sufficient reason to think that one has the ability to infallibly decide which books are inspired, and which ones are not, is if one is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church claims to be the One Church established by Christ, an infallible magisterial teaching authority established by God Himself. Now, we can discuss whether there is reason to think that Jesus Christ ever did such a thing as establish One True Church which He promised an infallible teaching authority in matters of doctrine, in teaching on faith and morals.

My Response: You and I are in the same boat. You have to use fallible reasons to establish an infallible church because there is disagreement about what church is the true church.

I have already demonstrated previously in this blog and another blog that none of the Roman Catholic arguments hold any water. Therefore, there is no reason at all to believe that the Roman Catholic church is the infallible church at all. In fact there is actually reason to doubt this claim. I would encourage you to read the following blog posts were I have demonstrated this.


Canon Argument:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/refutation-of-canon-argument.html

Perspicuity:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/refutation-of-roman-catholic-and.html

Infallible Interpretations:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/do-we-need-infallible-interpretation-of.html

Scripture Alone:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/02/sola-scriptura.html

Justification by Faith alone:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-i-am-protestant-justification-by.html

Merry Christmas,

Nathanael P. Taylor

MICHAEL said...

Where is the Reference?

Bible Christians, believers in Sola Scriptura, teach that the Bible is complete and that it is all that is needed. They teach that all answers are given by Scripture.

I wish to refute that thinking by showing that there are a lot of questions brought up in Scripture that are not answered therein. So where do we go to find those answers so that we have the fullness of truth and not just some of it?

Matthew 11:21, "Woe to thee, Corozain...For if in Tyre and Sidon had been worked the miracles that have been worked in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

What are these miracles in Corozain? Where is the reference?

Matthew 23:2, "The Scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses."

Where is this 'chair of Moses' referenced in Scripture?

Acts 20:35, "In all things I have shown you that by so toiling you ought to help the weak and REMEMBER the Word of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Show me the verse where Jesus said these words.

Matthew 2:23, "And He went and settled in a town called Nazareth; that there might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

In what verse did the prophets say this?

James 4:5, "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit which dwells in you covets unto jealousy.""

Where does Scripture reference this?

2Timothy 3:8, "Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these men also resist the truth..."

Who are Jannes and Jambres? Where is the reference? If you know, by what means did you find it?

Hebrews 11:35, "Women had their dead restored to them by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might find a better resurrection."

Who are these 'others', the ones searching for a better resurrection? Where is the Bible reference?

Jude 1:9, "Yet when Michael the Archangel was fiercely disputing with the devil about the body of Moses..."

Where can this 'dispute' be found in Holy Scripture?

Jude 1:14, "Now of these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord has come with thousands of His holy ones.'"

Where is this prophecy in Scripture? Where is the reference?

Since non-Catholics are bound to Scripture and Scripture only (Sola Scriptura), the purpose of this post is to show that everything is not in the Bible.

Answers to some of the questions asked here can be found through Tradition, and others through the seven books that non-Catholics do not have in their Bibles.

Some can be found in the multitude of apocryphal writings, and in the very large library of writings by the Church Fathers.

Others simply cannot be found anywhere but have been lost forever for various reasons. It is thought that about 400,000 priceless historical writings alone were lost due to the great fire in the library of Alexandria Egypt in 48 B.C. (the actual date is debatable).

Others have been lost simply by the deterioration of the scroll media used by the various authors of antiquity.

Catholics have the fullness of truth since they can draw on so many resources outside of Scripture as mentioned above.

Protestantism has many pieces missing to their puzzle of GOD's salvation history unless they are willing to search the Catholic sources listed.

As long as they cling to the false doctrine of sola scriptura, they will never see the full picture. They will never have the fullness of truth.

David N. said...

Mark,

"Bible Christians, believers in Sola Scriptura, teach that the Bible is complete and that it is all that is needed. They teach that all answers are given by Scripture."

No one on this blog has made this claim. You are putting words in our mouths. If you are going to come here and make arguments against Sola Scriptura, at least have the courtesy to interact with the arguments we are actually making.

Even putting that aside, though, Mark, you must see that this is a terrible argument that has nothing to do with the real issues at hand. Why on earth should any of the references you mentioned actually be contained in Scripture in order for Sola Scriptura to be true? Where is the argument here? Also, you said:

"Catholics have the fullness of truth since they can draw on so many resources outside of Scripture as mentioned above."

That makes no sense, Mark. You just said that some of the references you mentioned have been lost forever. How exactly can a Catholic draw upon a resource that doesn't exist? Further, this once again demonstrates that you are merely arguing against a straw man. Sola Scriptura does not mean that Protestants are not allowed to read any books outside of the Bible. Jude, for example, makes reference to Enoch. Protestants can read Enoch and understand the reference he is making without needing Enoch to be Scripture. There is no problem here. I really just don't see the connection you have attempted to make, Mark. It sounds as though you simply found this argument on some anti-Protestant website and used it without really thinking it through.

Also, you have not responded to any of Nathaniel's responses to your initial comments. I would really like to see how you deal with his arguments.

David N. said...

Michael,

My apologies. My comment was directed at you, not Mark. Sorry for the confusion of names.

Mark said...

Nathaniel,

You said: “The Bible does give a criterion for what books belong as scripture in the Canon (John 10:3-6). However, Non-Protestants will be quick to point out that it does not give the content of which books fulfill that criterion. But why think that we need that? I really can think of no good reason for why that is necessary.”

Also: “Jesus does not say that they will know the Shepard’s voice on the basis of arguments and inference, but merely that when they encounter it they will know it is the voice of God.”

My response: I think you are misapplying John 10:3-6. To be honest, I don’t know exactly the way in which you are using John 10 to support the idea that, ‘if a person reads a book, they can attain knowledge of its divine inspiration’. Maybe you think that part of the content of John 10 expresses a proposition like, ‘if x reads a book which is divinely inspired, then x will be led to believe or will be led to knowledge of the divine inspiration of that book’. I think that we can prove such a proposition to be false merely by testing it out and seeing if it works. This would merely require doing a blind experiment and giving different sets of texts to different persons, some of which would be inspired and some of which would not be inspired, and seeing if every person (suppose even that every person had declared their faith in Jesus) came out to choosing the same texts to be divinely inspired.

“My argument would be that all of the books of the New Testament fulfill these 3 reasonable criteria: 1) they were written by an apostle or someone connected with apostolic circle, 2) they can be reasonably dated to the first century when the Apostles and prophets were alive, 3) all of the books are theologically coherent with one another. My reason for thinking that the New Testament is inspired then is this reasonable criteria and that it is a properly basic belief.”
My response: My problem here is this. You must give reason for criteria one, and giving reason for criteria one requires appeal to Scripture. (or else, you might have some historical critical reasons, which I would be interested to hear) The claim that, ‘whatever the apostles teach, concerning the faith, is correct’ is a claim of Scripture. BUT, you have to justify why you accept the book (that contains the claim) as Scripture. A good form of justification for why you accept that book as Scripture would require that you provide reasons why you accept the discrimination that had to be made between books which were Scripture and which ones were not. This is required BECAUSE this historical circumstance- need of discrimination (between inspired and non-inspired books) and the existence of competing claims of inspiration/non-inspiration- is exactly the sort of circumstance where the sort of justification I am asking you to provide is a very reasonable request. The fact is that you, who consider yourself to be fallible, are accepting a decision made by individuals you consider to be fallible. And you are doing this in light of knowledge of a historical circumstance- the sort of circumstance I have just described. I am claiming that such an acceptance (fallible individual believing other fallible individuals regarding the inspiration of certain books and the non-inspiration of others)- in light of one’s knowledge of the historical circumstance- is not reasonable. By not reasonable, I mean just this- this position has problems it cannot provide a solution for, and there are alternative positions which are reasonable and provides such a solution to this very problem.


Best,
Mark

Anonymous said...

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED

To be saved, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

However, that’s not all. Sacred Scripture clearly shows other things you must also do to be saved:

• You must endure to the end. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13.

• You must accept the Cross (suffering). Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.

• You must be baptized with water. Mark 16:16, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:20-21.

• You must be a member in God’s true church. Acts 2:47.

• You must confess your sins. James 5:16, I John 1:9.

• You must keep the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:19-20, Matthew 7:21.

• You must heed the words of St. Peter, the first Pope. Acts 11:13-14, Acts 15:7.

• You must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. John 6:51-58, I Corinthians 10:16, I Corinthians 11:23-29.

• Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. CCC 1996, John 1:12-18, John 17:3, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The only Church that meets all the requirements of Salvation is the Holy Catholic Church.

Mark said...

Hey all, what do you guys think about my last comment?

I'm interested to hear what you guys think, honestly. There is some quite live discussion on this topic over at Calledtocommunion.com.

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello Mark,

Sorry I did not see that you responded previously. My responses are below.

Mark: I think you are misapplying John 10:3-6. To be honest, I don’t know exactly the way in which you are using John 10 to support the idea that, ‘if a person reads a book, they can attain knowledge of its divine inspiration’. Maybe you think that part of the content of John 10 expresses a proposition like, ‘if x reads a book which is divinely inspired, then x will be led to believe or will be led to knowledge of the divine inspiration of that book’. I think that we can prove such a proposition to be false merely by testing it out and seeing if it works. This would merely require doing a blind experiment and giving different sets of texts to different persons, some of which would be inspired and some of which would not be inspired, and seeing if every person (suppose even that every person had declared their faith in Jesus) came out to choosing the same texts to be divinely inspired.

Nathanael: Why think that I am misapplying John 10:3-6? I think that if one reads a divinely inspired text that the Holy Spirit forms in them the basic belief that this is a divinely inspired text. I think if that experiment were to be done that persons who are functioning properly would come to believe that the Bible is the word of God (whether or not they are willing to acknowledge this fact or not).

Nathanael Taylor said...

Mark: My problem here is this. You must give reason for criteria one, and giving reason for criteria one requires appeal to Scripture. (or else, you might have some historical critical reasons, which I would be interested to hear) The claim that, ‘whatever the apostles teach, concerning the faith, is correct’ is a claim of Scripture. BUT, you have to justify why you accept the book (that contains the claim) as Scripture. A good form of justification for why you accept that book as Scripture would require that you provide reasons why you accept the discrimination that had to be made between books which were Scripture and which ones were not. This is required BECAUSE this historical circumstance- need of discrimination (between inspired and non-inspired books) and the existence of competing claims of inspiration/non-inspiration- is exactly the sort of circumstance where the sort of justification I am asking you to provide is a very reasonable request. The fact is that you, who consider yourself to be fallible, are accepting a decision made by individuals you consider to be fallible. And you are doing this in light of knowledge of a historical circumstance- the sort of circumstance I have just described. I am claiming that such an acceptance (fallible individual believing other fallible individuals regarding the inspiration of certain books and the non-inspiration of others)- in light of one’s knowledge of the historical circumstance- is not reasonable. By not reasonable, I mean just this- this position has problems it cannot provide a solution for, and there are alternative positions which are reasonable and provides such a solution to this very problem.

Nathanael: Well my reason for thinking that criteria 1 is true is not by assuming the Bible to be divinely inspired but by assuming them to be historical documents (so it would not be circular). I would then use Resurrection argument as William Lane Craig does from 1 Corinthians 15 and the Gospels. In those Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15 we see that there are Apostles who were taught by Christ. So then the reason for including them in criteria would be that they are closest to the source by which God chose to act in Christ on the basis of historical argumentation. So the intuitive principle would be that we should mostly like trust a documents as authentic if the author is closer to the events and the persons by which they are writing about. I am not sure if you really understand the nature of your other objection. Maybe you could clarify and write them out in premises. But I have some questions about what you wrote above to better understand what I think you may be trying to say. Are you fallible? If you are fallible then did you use your fallible judgment to pick an infallible church? How is this any different than the Protestant who is fallible who picks out a group of infallible documents?

God Bless,

NPT

Mark said...

“Nathanael: Why think that I am misapplying John 10:3-6? I think that if one reads a divinely inspired text that the Holy Spirit forms in them the basic belief that this is a divinely inspired text. I think if that experiment were to be done that persons who are functioning properly would come to believe that the Bible is the word of God (whether or not they are willing to acknowledge this fact or not).”

Mark: I think you are misapplying it because of the following reasoning; here is a reduction argument: John 10:3-6 says P. P is not true. Therefore, John 10:3-6 does not say true things, or at least says something wrong (whatever the content of P).
The experiment was already done in the early Church. It is also being done by Mormons. Neither time did each and every single properly functioning individual arrive at the same book collection as you. Also, if Catholics disagree with you over the Canon, then are they not properly functioning?

Mark

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Morales said...

"Are you fallible? If you are fallible then did you use your fallible judgment to pick an infallible church? How is this any different than the Protestant who is fallible who picks out a group of infallible documents?"

Of course I am fallible (I think you knew I'd answer this way, and I'm undecided on whether it's a good idea to ask questions when you obviously know the other person's answer). The difference is not in our starting position. The difference is in our reasons for choosing to believe what we believe: in our case, we are discussing the belief that a certain set of books are divinely inspired. Now let's compare our reasons for believing that this certain set of books is divinely inspired.

Your's is, I think, supposed to be arrived at by some historical inquiry combined with Apostolic authority. So, do you think there is reason to believe a book is divinely inspired if it written by one of the apostles, and only when it is written by one of the apostles?

For a moment, never mind your actual justificatory grounds. Suppose that you just had some grounds, A and B. Grounds A and grounds B provide justification or warrant for belief in S (a proposition to the effect that these books are divinely inspired, each one of them). Now, grounds A and B for belief that S, might or might not be good grounds. Suppose they were bad ones. In the case where they are bad grounds, they would be bad grounds for anyone who held belief that S, not just for you, but me also. If grounds A and B were not grounds that justified belief that S, and they were the only grounds that you and I had for our belief that S, then you and I both would not be justified in believing that S. So, our beliefs are subject to the same scrutiny.

But, in our case, we have different grounds. You have grounds A and B. And I have grounds C and D (actually my grounds might include some of yours, because I accept them. but, I think, your grounds will probably not include mine). So, what we want to do here is to compare your set of grounds to my set of grounds, and see which ones are reasonable. This is what I have been trying to do, but I'm not sure if that's clear so far.

The grounds that we are here comparing are our grounds for belief that each book of the Bible is divinely inspired. I am objecting that lack of belief (for any believer, including myself) in a God-established-authoritative-infallible-magisterial-teaching-authority, leaves us with an unjustified belief in S. Does this seem wrong? Is there some other belief or reason that justifies belief that S?

Best,
Mark

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark. Here is my response.

Mark: I think you are misapplying it because of the following reasoning; here is a reduction argument: John 10:3-6 says P. P is not true. Therefore, John 10:3-6 does not say true things, or at least says something wrong (whatever the content of P).
The experiment was already done in the early Church. It is also being done by Mormons. Neither time did each and every single properly functioning individual arrive at the same book collection as you. Also, if Catholics disagree with you over the Canon, then are they not properly functioning?

Nathanael: I would say groups of persons would know that it is God's word even though they would not acknowledge that fact because of sin. So with the Mormons and Catholics they would know God's word in these cases (in the cases of them actually reading the documents carefully), but they would not acknowledge that fact. Pointing out disagreement proves nothing. After all just because there is disagreement about what is the true church it does not follow from that there is no true church or that a true church could not be known in a properly basic fashion. So I would say that John 10:3-6 says P and you have not provided a defeater for P, hence P is true.

Mark Your's is, I think, supposed to be arrived at by some historical inquiry combined with Apostolic authority. So, do you think there is reason to believe a book is divinely inspired if it written by one of the apostles, and only when it is written by one of the apostles?

No: I would say that any 2 of the following conditions would have to be fulfilled in order for me to think that a book is divinely inspired: 1) They would have to be written by an apostle or someone close to the apostolic circle, 2) it would have to be written in the first century, 3) It would have to be theologically consistent with all documents that fulfills conditions 1 and 2.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Mark: The grounds that we are here comparing are our grounds for belief that each book of the Bible is divinely inspired. I am objecting that lack of belief (for any believer, including myself) in a God-established-authoritative-infallible-magisterial-teaching-authority, leaves us with an unjustified belief in S. Does this seem wrong? Is there some other belief or reason that justifies belief that S?

Nathanael: Previously it was unclear to me what you were trying to argue, but now it is sufficiently clear to me. But I see no reason for thinking that there is an infallible magisterial teaching authority and in fact I have reason for doubting that position of infallible magisterial authority held by the Eastern orthodox church and Roman Catholic church. So I have no reason for believing such a position and on top of that I have a defeater for such a position (I have attached a few defeaters to such a position at the end of this very blog post). I also think that I have provided a justificatory basis for S namely that 1) it is properly basic and 2) that it fits into a intuitively reasonable historical criteria of authentication. So I see no reason or need for an infallible church. We are in very similar positions: we are both fallible beings fallibly justifying and fallibly interpreting infallible teachings.
All this to say: it does seem wrong to have S justified by an infallible church.

God Bless,

Nate

Nathanael Taylor said...

Mark,

Here is one post I wrote awhile back that I would see functioning as defeater against all works righteousness cults (Mormons/JWs), Rome, and the East (I forgot to attach it to this post). So this would be my main reason for rejecting the claims of Roman church. Among others things like I think the doctrine of absolute divine simplicity is logically incoherent and hence necessary false. But here is my main theological reason for rejecting Rome:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-i-am-protestant-justification-by.html

God Bless,

Nate

Michael said...

Faith means Submission to the Truth Taught by the Church

There are many people who are calling themselves Catholics, self-styled Catholics, cafeteria Catholics who think they can stay in the Church because they agree with so much of what the Church teaches.

Do you realize what faith is and what faith is not? Faith does not mean I agree with the Church and its teaching. Faith is that which submits to the mysteries proclaimed by the Spirit through the Church.

Faith believes whatever God reveals because God is the One revealing it and God can't deceive and God can't be deceived. We can trust God and we can trust Him to speak through the Church.

So faith is an act of submission to whatever God proclaims despite the fact that we can never know these things through reason or through the senses; we believe them by faith.

When somebody says, "I agree with practically everything the Church teaches except maybe for contraception." You've got to stop them and say, "Hey, you're completely off. Even if you agree with the Church on contraception, it's not enough for you to agree with the Church.

What that amounts to is just a coincidence; I have found these truths to be true in my own experience and it just so happens that the Catholic Church teaches the same thing."

That's not faith, that's just a nice convenient coincidence; your beliefs coincide with the Church's teaching. You agree, fine, but you might change your mind.

Faith is an act of submission, a loving surrender of self to Christ who is present within the Church. And if we don't renew that self-surrender tonight, tomorrow and everyday of our lives, we are going to become more and more a part of the problem, not the solution.

Mark said...

(Re: Post 1)

Nathaniel,


Nathanael: I would say groups of persons would know that it is God's word even though they would not acknowledge that fact because of sin. So with the Mormons and Catholics they would know God's word in these cases (in the cases of them actually reading the documents carefully), but they would not acknowledge that fact. Pointing out disagreement proves nothing. After all just because there is disagreement about what is the true church it does not follow from that there is no true church or that a true church could not be known in a properly basic fashion. So I would say that John 10:3-6 says P and you have not provided a defeater for P, hence P is true.

Me: So, are you proposing that all Christians 'know' (or would know) that the Protestant Canon is the right one? I don't even believe that the Protestant Canon is right, so I'm not sure how I could know it is the right one. I think I have just provided a defeater of P. I (and many many other Christians) have read the all the books commonly referred to as the Bible (including the ones that I guess you don't consider divinely inspired) and we have not agreed. But, I guess this is not a defeater IF we all 'know' that the Protestant canon is the right one, but just don't say so (and I just said what I think is wrong with that).

Mark said...

(Re: post 1)
Nathaniel,

"I would say that any 2 of the following conditions would have to be fulfilled in order for me to think that a book is divinely inspired: 1) They would have to be written by an apostle or someone close to the apostolic circle, 2) it would have to be written in the first century, 3) It would have to be theologically consistent with all documents that fulfills conditions 1 and 2."

Is there some connection between a book's being written by 'someone close the apostolic circle', and it's being divinely inspired? I have the same question about the criteria of 'being written in the first century'? If two documents meet these two criteria, but are consistent with the rest of the books- which would you go with, the two? or all the others?

Best,
Mark

Mark said...

Nathaniel,

Sorry, made a typo, here's a correction.

Is there some connection between a book's being written by 'someone close the apostolic circle', and it's being divinely inspired? I have the same question about the criteria of 'being written in the first century'? What if two documents meet these two criteria, BUT are inconsistent with the rest of the books that also meet these two criteria- which would you go with, the two? or all the others?


Best,
Mark

Mark said...

(re: post 2)

Nathaniel,

"But I see no reason for thinking that there is an infallible magisterial teaching authority and in fact I have reason for doubting that position of infallible magisterial authority held by the Eastern orthodox church and Roman Catholic church."

We are not talking about reasons for thinking that there is an infallible magisterial teaching authority. My claim, in my post, was not that there actually was one- I simply wanted to suggest that such an entity would be a 'problem solver' (to the problem that I have been trying to point out), and am trying to bring attention to the fact that you haven't put forth or proposed any such 'problem solver'.

Do you have one in mind, or not think that one is needed?

Do you think that the historical authentication criteria can function as a 'problem solver'?

Best,
Mark

Mark said...

(Re: Post 3)

Nathaniel,

I am not sure I want to get into discussing other theological disagreements, at least not yet.

The problem I am bringing up is a philosophical one. And I'm wondering whether we are just disagreeing about whether there is a problem at all. And that is what I'm hoping to discuss here.

Best,
Mark

Michael said...

The Magisterium or Teaching Authority of the Church

by Fr. William G. Most


By the Magisterium we mean the teaching office of the Church. It consists of the Pope and Bishops. Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church : "He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects your rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me" (Luke 10. 16).

Now of course the promise of Christ cannot fail: hence when the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible. This is true even if the Church does not use the solemn ceremony of definition.

The day to day teaching of the Church throughout the world, when the Bishops are in union with each other and with the Pope, and present something as definitive, this is infallible. (Vatican II, Lumen gentium # 25).

It was precisely by the use of that authority that Vatican I was able to define that the Pope alone, when speaking as such and making things definitive, is also infallible. Of course this infallibility covers also teaching on what morality requires, for that is needed for salvation.

A "theologian" who would claim he needs to be able to ignore the Magisterium in order to find the truth is strangely perverse: the teaching of the Magisterium is the prime, God-given means of finding the truth. Nor could he claim academic freedom lets him contradict the Church.

In any field of knowledge, academic freedom belongs only to a properly qualified professor teaching in his own field. But one is not properly qualified if he does not use the correct method of working in his field, e.g., a science professor who would want to go back to medieval methods would be laughed off campus, not protected.

Now in Catholic theology , the correct method is to study the sources of revelation, but then give the final word to the Church. He who does not follow that method is not a qualified Catholic theologian. Vatican II taught (Dei Verbum # 10): "The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."

Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark! Below are is my response:

Mark: So, are you proposing that all Christians 'know' (or would know) that the Protestant Canon is the right one? I don't even believe that the Protestant Canon is right, so I'm not sure how I could know it is the right one. I think I have just provided a defeater of P. I (and many many other Christians) have read the all the books commonly referred to as the Bible (including the ones that I guess you don't consider divinely inspired) and we have not agreed. But, I guess this is not a defeater IF we all 'know' that the Protestant canon is the right one, but just don't say so (and I just said what I think is wrong with that).

Nathanael: Well you saying you do not believe the Protestant Canon is right does not constitute a defeater to the belief that the Protestant canon is right. Skeptics for instance deny that the external world is basic belief that they have whereas non-Skeptics like myself say that such a belief is basic and shared by all individuals. A person can be dishonest about what they believe as well as self-deceived about what they believe. Romans 1:18-25 for instance says that all men *know* God but they suppress the truth about it so clearly the Bible as well as philosophy would lead us to think that dishonesty and self-deception exists (especially in atheists). In the case of the Roman Catholic they would basic belief about all the books I believe to be divinely inspired, but because of tradition and the unwarranted belief in the infallible church they would be self-deceived about the additional books being inspired. So I do not think my ground has been made here by way of your defeaters against my position.

Mark: Is there some connection between a book's being written by 'someone close the apostolic circle', and it's being divinely inspired? I have the same question about the criteria of 'being written in the first century'? What if two documents meet these two criteria, BUT are inconsistent with the rest of the books that also meet these two criteria- which would you go with, the two? or all the others?


Nathanael: All of this depends on the basic methods of history and the resurrection argument. So once this is established we can ask the question about how do we get to the source of this divine activity that took place. The best way I have suggested is to stay close to the source. The Apostles and those who had teaching relationship with the Apostles are close to this source so I think this is an effective criteria for getting us close to the source of divine activity. The reason there is a connection between this and divine inspiration is because if one starts out on these basic reasonable historical assumptions and grounds they find that the Apostles taught that they were inspired and that others could be inspired in the first century (prophets). So one would then start out on mere historical grounds from the resurrection to the Apostles to their teaching about divine inspiration, this would be the connection between being close to the Apostolic circle and divine inspiration. This all took place (prophecy) in the first century and I think there are plausible biblical arguments that prophecy/Apostleship ceased after the first century so this would show the connection between divine inspiration and the first century (see Eph. 2:20). If two books fulfilled two of the criteria and was inconsistent with the canon then this would defeat the plausibility of the three criteria I had laid out. But there is never an instance where this occurs so this does not bring about epistemological vagueness in the criteria that I have laid out for determining the canon. If you were to demonstrate that this is the case then this would defeat my demonstrative approach but my properly basic approach would still be in tact.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Mark: We are not talking about reasons for thinking that there is an infallible magisterial teaching authority. My claim, in my post, was not that there actually was one- I simply wanted to suggest that such an entity would be a 'problem solver' (to the problem that I have been trying to point out), and am trying to bring attention to the fact that you haven't put forth or proposed any such 'problem solver'.

Do you have one in mind, or not think that one is needed?

Do you think that the historical authentication criteria can function as a 'problem solver'?

Nathanael: Well given the fact that the canon is properly basic and that we can use arguments to determine it there would be no need for a problem solver for the canon. I think that either the properly basic approach to the canon is sufficient or that historical authentication is sufficient. If one were to fail the other one would be sufficient such that one would not need a problem solver as you have suggested. In the same way one would need a problem solver for the canon one could also just as easily ask for one for the infallible magisterial teaching authority. An infallible problem solver that would tell you what church is the infallible magisterial teaching authority. But then you would need an infallible problem solver to tell you what is the correct infallible problem solver...ad infinitum. The same is true of infallible interpretations of course. You are always going to be a fallible human being interpreting infallible documents/teachings. If you require an infallible interpret to prevent this you are just going to need an infallible interpreter to interpret the infallible interpreter and ad infinitum. I have an argument against such entity as the infallible magisterial teaching authority then: it is an unnecessary entity and so by Ockham's razor then we are unjustified in thinking it exists. This would then be an additional argument against the infallible interpreting teaching authority (unless of course someone thought such an entity was properly basic or had other arguments for it).

God bless,

Nate

Mark said...

Nathan,

"Well you saying you do not believe the Protestant Canon is right does not constitute a defeater to the belief that the Protestant canon is right."

It wasn't supposed to. It was a response to your claim that we all (myself included) somehow 'know' which books are inspired. However, I my exmaple was (I think) slightly different from your original one, because I am making sure to include 'knowing that a book is not inspired' under 'knowing that a book is inspired'. If some principle like the one you suggested is really what's doing the work, helping us decide which books are inspired- then it will have to include this second 'capability', because that's the situation we are in- discriminating between competing claims of collections of divinely inspired texts.

So, the part which it's not the case that I know the same thing as you (because I don't even believe it) is when it involves knowing which books are NOT divinely inspired- that if we each looked at all the books, I would 'know' that the books in the Protestant Canons are the inspired ones, and that I would 'know' that the ones that arent' in the Protestant canon are not inspired. BUT, I can't know that the books that aren't in the protestant Canon are not inspired, because I don't even believe it.

As for the verse that includes 'know', I won't pretend that I fully understand that passage. But, I don't think that it on the face makes your version of knowing (where the person can know and not believe) the right one, or that it amounts to a claim that knowledge doesn't include beleif. If you disagree, then you will have to let me know, because then we are using radically different concepts of knowledge,and it would be good to know that before we continue discussion.

Best,
Mark

Mark said...

I am trying to understand your explanation of what sort of closeness an author has to have to the apostles in order for his writing to be considered divinely inspired.

So, is your claim that, if a book is written by a person that is close to the Apostles, and if the book was written in the first century, then this book is divinely inspired? You are going to have to get specific and spell this out for me- after all this is supposed to be the solution of how we know whether any given text is divinely inspired.

Best,
Mark

Mark said...

I can explain the fallible person, infallible magisterium picture a bit more, so that you can understand. BUT, i think we should postpone this for at least just a little bit. Here's why:

1) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists doesn't is a separate question from whether an infallible magisterium would (in principle) solve the problem that I am raising.

2) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists is separate from the question of whether we could or do have epistemic access to such an entity.

3) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists does not tell us whether your picture solves the problem.

So, in a sense, I am putting you on the defense. But I think in our situation, it's best if we focus on each picture one at a time.


Best,
Mark

Mark said...

I can explain the fallible person, infallible magisterium picture a bit more, so that you can understand. BUT, i think we should postpone this for at least just a little bit. Here's why:

1) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists doesn't is a separate question from whether an infallible magisterium would (in principle) solve the problem that I am raising.

2) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists is separate from the question of whether we could or do have epistemic access to such an entity.

3) whether or not an infallible magisterium actually exists does not tell us whether your picture solves the problem.

So, in a sense, I am putting you on the defense. But I think in our situation, it's best if we focus on each picture one at a time.


Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark, my responses are below.

Mark: It wasn't supposed to. It was a response to your claim that we all (myself included) somehow 'know' which books are inspired. However, I my exmaple was (I think) slightly different from your original one, because I am making sure to include 'knowing that a book is not inspired' under 'knowing that a book is inspired'. If some principle like the one you suggested is really what's doing the work, helping us decide which books are inspired- then it will have to include this second 'capability', because that's the situation we are in- discriminating between competing claims of collections of divinely inspired texts. So, the part which it's not the case that I know the same thing as you (because I don't even believe it) is when it involves knowing which books are NOT divinely inspired- that if we each looked at all the books, I would 'know' that the books in the Protestant Canons are the inspired ones, and that I would 'know' that the ones that arent' in the Protestant canon are not inspired. BUT, I can't know that the books that aren't in the protestant Canon are not inspired, because I don't even believe it.

Nathanael: The way we would discriminate between inspired texts and non-inspired texts would be that if one were to read an inspired text they would have a basic belief that is inspired. But if such a person were to lack that basic belief then of course they would have no reason for thinking it to be inspired since they lack such a basic belief. So I am not sure what you are getting at here. I am really not clear what you are saying here. But as far as I can see I do not really see a defeater for the view that I am trying to propose. Are you giving a defeater? If so what might this defeater be? If you are willing to concede this point then that would then demonstrate that we do not need a infallible church be an epistemological problem solver for canonical problems.

Mark: As for the verse that includes 'know', I won't pretend that I fully understand that passage. But, I don't think that it on the face makes your version of knowing (where the person can know and not believe) the right one, or that it amounts to a claim that knowledge doesn't include beleif. If you disagree, then you will have to let me know, because then we are using radically different concepts of knowledge,and it would be good to know that before we continue discussion.

Nathanael: The word knowledge in the Greek at this time always included belief. If you look at the context where the Greek word ginosko is used in the New Testament you will find that the context all implicitly warrants the inclusion of belief. On a more philosophical level if the Bible really meant knowledge did not involve belief as a necessary condition then we could know everything (because our beliefs would not constrain what we do and do not know) which is a rather absurd view to impose on the biblical text when there is no linguistic and historical evidence for such a view. Do you have any evidence that the Bible means to not include knowledge from belief?

Mark: I am trying to understand your explanation of what sort of closeness an author has to have to the apostles in order for his writing to be considered divinely inspired.

So, is your claim that, if a book is written by a person that is close to the Apostles, and if the book was written in the first century, then this book is divinely inspired? You are going to have to get specific and spell this out for me- after all this is supposed to be the solution of how we know whether any given text is divinely inspired.

Nathanael: What I mean by the term "Apostolic circle" would be someone to whom we would have reason for thinking that they were Apostles or someone of whom we would have a reason for thinking that they were in the first century church that had a relationship/connection with an Apostle.


God Bless,

Nate

Mark said...

Ignore the three things part lol, I was going to structure my response differently but changed my mind. I forgot to go back and edit that out.

Best,
Mark

Mark said...

And that last comment makes no sense, because the comment before it didn't go through. That's frustrating lol.

Anyway, what I basically said was this.

You say that P.
P implies Q.
Q is false.
Therefore, not P.

P- any honest functioning Christian will know whether a book is divinely inspired by reading it. And this is true of every Christian, and for every divinely inspired book. So, if the all these Christians evaluated the same set of books, they would all choose the same books as divinely inspired- because this process if supposed to work for all people.
Q- we would all agree that a certain set of books is divinely inspired. And the process would not, in any particular instance, lead some of us to believe that books s is inspired and others to believe that book s is not inspired.

You're response was something like- all persons would know that book T is not inspired, where book T is a book not in the protestant canon. Then I brought up the case of myself, and asked: how can I know that book T is not inspired, if I don't even believe that book T is not inspired (I think it is inspired).

Also, I was not suggesting that the Bible uses 'know' in a way that excludes belief. That's what I thought you were doing. Was I mistaken?

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark, My responses are below:

Mark: You're response was something like- all persons would know that book T is not inspired, where book T is a book not in the protestant canon. Then I brought up the case of myself, and asked: how can I know that book T is not inspired, if I don't even believe that book T is not inspired (I think it is inspired).

Nathanael: Yes, then I brought up the fact that your professed belief would be like the professed belief of the external world skeptic who says he does not believe that there is no basic belief for the existence of the external world, but who actually has a basic belief in the external world. Also like the atheist who says that he believes that there is no God but yet actually has a belief in God as Romans 1 clearly demonstrates. So just because you have a belief, again does not constitute a defeater against my view. So I do not really see this as a defeater.

Also, I was not suggesting that the Bible uses 'know' in a way that excludes belief. That's what I thought you were doing. Was I mistaken?

Yes, it would seem so.

God Bless,

Nate

Michael said...

The Danger of Privately Interpreting Scripture

Acts 8:30-35 - 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

31 He replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.

32 This was the scripture passage he was reading: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

33 In (his) humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth."

34 Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, "I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?"

35 Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.

2 Peter 1:20 - Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,

2 Peter 3:16 - Speaking of these things 12 as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

Anonymous said...

No Error

No error is to be admitted in the Bible, not even concerning things of but little importance. . . . If any statements should seem contrary to truth, we must not accuse the Author of the Book of falsehood: we should rather conclude, either that (a) the text is defective*; or (b) that the interpreter has mistaken the meaning; or (c) that we have misunderstood.

*St Augustine is here referring to the possibility of a copyist's error or the corruption (by dampness or insects) of the parchment upon which the Scripture has been penned.

ST. AUGUSTINE (ca. 400)

Mark said...

"So just because you have a belief, again does not constitute a defeater against my view. So I do not really see this as a defeater."

I tried to show why the example I brought up is a problem for your view. I provided a reductio argument.

Can you please object to that form of the argument, rather than just letting me know that my case happens to not function as an objection.

And I don't know why my instance is analogous to the external world denier. But,even if it is, it doesn't show that it is wrong.

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark,

Of course I can object to that form of argumentation if you would like:

You say that P.
P implies Q.
Q is false.
Therefore, not P.

Your justification that Q was false was this:

You're response was something like- all persons would know that book T is not inspired, where book T is a book not in the protestant canon. Then I brought up the case of myself, and asked: how can I know that book T is not inspired, if I don't even believe that book T is not inspired (I think it is inspired).

and I responsed like so to show that your justification of q being false was faulty when I said: Yes, then I brought up the fact that your professed belief would be like the professed belief of the external world skeptic who says he does not believe that there is no basic belief for the existence of the external world, but who actually has a basic belief in the external world. Also like the atheist who says that he believes that there is no God but yet actually has a belief in God as Romans 1 clearly demonstrates. So just because you have a belief, again does not constitute a defeater against my view. So I do not really see this as a defeater.

In other words I am saying here what is true of the skeptic and the atheist is true of a Roman Catholic, namely, their professed belief is not there actual belief. So that is how the analogy is functioning.

So because your justification of P from my epistemological perspective is insufficient then it does not function as a defeater to my view of basicality and the warranting of the Protestant canon.

God Bless,

Nate

Mark Morales said...

In other words I am saying here what is true of the skeptic and the atheist is true of a Roman Catholic, namely, their professed belief is not there actual belief. So that is how the analogy is functioning.

Well, I don't know how to respond to this, except to reply that I am being serious when I say that I believe certain books to be divinely inspired which are not contained in the protestant canon. But, you must admit, there is something strange about your position in a really bad way. If you argued to the conclusion that nobody believes that hair falls off if you sing lullabies, and then I brought you a person who in fact believed 'hair falls off if you sing lullabies', and then you replied that that was not their actual belief- I would think that you are just making obviously false assertions. It's just not clear to me why it's not obviously false of you to say that a person believes something when they say they do not, or vice versa. Do you see the problem with this? I mean try pulling this in a philosophy class (I study philosophy, and can imagine how this might go), and you will almost certainly be taken as not understanding what belief is.

So because your justification of P from my epistemological perspective is insufficient then it does not function as a defeater to my view of basicality and the warranting of the Protestant canon.

I wasn't justifying P.

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...

Greetings Mark, my response it below:

Mark: Well, I don't know how to respond to this, except to reply that I am being serious when I say that I believe certain books to be divinely inspired which are not contained in the protestant canon. But, you must admit, there is something strange about your position in a really bad way. If you argued to the conclusion that nobody believes that hair falls off if you sing lullabies, and then I brought you a person who in fact believed 'hair falls off if you sing lullabies', and then you replied that that was not their actual belief- I would think that you are just making obviously false assertions. It's just not clear to me why it's not obviously false of you to say that a person believes something when they say they do not, or vice versa. Do you see the problem with this? I mean try pulling this in a philosophy class (I study philosophy, and can imagine how this might go), and you will almost certainly be taken as not understanding what belief is.

Nathanael: I do not see any problem with this at all because if I did I would have problems with Skeptics that say they do not believe in basic beliefs, but they do in fact have such basic beliefs. If this were a problem then it would be a problem for the Bible because according to Romans 1 all men know God which would mean that there are no actual atheists rather there are only people who say they do not believe in God. So this is not a problem saying it with respect to the two things I just mentioned so it should also not be a problem with respect to others areas as well. A belief is a cognitive disposition towards a proposition so someone can have such a disposition and not be honest about it, so I really do not see how this has to do with me understanding what a belief is. But this argument is not really designed to persuade Roman Catholics, it is just a defensive move to show that someone can still be rational and a Protestant when presented with the classic Canon argument against Protestantism. So because the canon argument you have presented has been not effective because it just produces a stand off between us then other issues have to be considered in the debate between Protestants and Catholics, this is where the defeaters to catholicism I mentioned come in handy.

Mark: I wasn't justifying P.

Nathanael: It was a typo, I meant q.

God Bless,

Nate

Mark said...

So, do you think that when any Christian disagrees with you about whether any given book is divinely inspired, when they tell you that they disagree, they are lying? I'll admit that even if this were true, it wouldn't prove my point. But this is really an odd consequence.

The only positive proof for your picture is one that depends on empirical claims. These empirical claims, I'm showing, are false.

The only way of finding out (for us) whether or not the empirical claim is true is to go out and look in the world. And if someone does that with your claim- they go out into the world and look to see if it's true, they will see that it's not false.

The only type of evidence that could ever disprove this empirical claim is exactly the type of evidence I have given you. How else could you find out whether your claim is true (the one about all people who disagree actually being people who are not admitting their true beliefs) except by this way. How else do you find out what people believe except by asking them?

I'm worried that we can't really discuss this much further if you are just going to ignore the facts that I am pointing out to you. Honestly dude, think about showing our discussion to some philosophy professor who you find trustworthy. I think he will point out the problem with what's going on here.

Hope this doesn't come off like an attack, it's not a personal attack on you. I just don't understand what's going on here.

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...
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Michael said...

Your Personal Opinion May Have No Bearing Whatsoever On Doctrinal Truth...

Let us first look at some basic definitions using the Greek roots of words from which they came.
1. Philosophy: 'Philo' from the Greek root, 'Philos' means "the love of". 'Sophy' from the Greek means 'wisdom'.

So philosophy simply means the love of wisdom.

2. Orthodoxy: 'Ortho' from the Greek 'orthos' means straight, or correct. 'Doxa' means 'opinion'. So orthodoxy means a 'straight opinion', or in a simpler analogy, the truth.

3. Now if we combine the word 'philo' with the Greek root word 'doxa' we get the word 'philodoxy'.
So as the great Greek philosopher Plato, proclaimed, the word 'philodoxy' was the opposite or antonym of the word philosophy.

4. To add to what we have learned from this simple lesson is that a philosopher is a lover of wisdom, whereas a philodoxer is a lover of opinion.

"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth."
Mark 12:14 (NAB)

They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status." Matthew 22:16

They posed this question to him, "Teacher, we know that what you say and teach is correct, and you show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth." Luke 20:21

Jesus did not accept the opinions of men, as shown in Matthew 16:13-17:

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father."

See? His disciples mostly expressed personal opinions, which meant little to Jesus. The one exception was Simon Peter, the only one who answered with doctrinal truth.

Anonymous said...

Tell The Truth Or Suffer The Consequences!

Holy Scripture is very clear that each one of us is obligated to search for the truth and to abide by it. I am appalled at the number of people who completely ignore these dire warnings from the Bible, or are ignorant of the fact that they are there.

Many non-Catholics repeat outright lies about the Catholic Church and take what they have heard or have been taught as truth, without bothering to find out if these things are true or not.

When they do this, not only are they calumnizing the Catholic Church, but they are calumnizing its founder, Jesus Christ Himself. After reading this file, not one person can ever again plead innocence of what Scripture has to say about spreading the truth, and about not spreading malicious lies.

Anyone who professes to follow Holy Scripture to the letter, must follow ALL of what it says. They cannot keep the parts they like and reject what they do not like. Here are some verses which obligate each and every one of us to search for the truth...

"This is good and agreeable in the sight of GOD our Savior, who wishes ALL MEN TO BE SAVED AND TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH." 1Timothy 2:4

"Sanctify them in the truth. Thy Word is truth."
John 17:17

"FOR THE WRATH OF GOD IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN AGAINST ALL UNGODLINESS AND WICKEDNESS OF THOSE MEN WHO IN WICKEDNESS HOLD BACK THE TRUTH OF GOD."
ROMANS 1:18

Mark said...

Nate,

You're claiming that I do not really believe that these certain books in the Catholic canon (which are not in the protestant Canon)are divinely inspired.

Now, I would like to see a step-by-step argument proving this.

Best,
Mark

Michael said...
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Michael said...
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Michael said...
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Mark said...

Nate, did you see my last post?

Can you give me a proof/argument?

Best,
Mark

Nathanael Taylor said...
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Mark said...

I understand you are busy. I too am graduating, undergraduate at UCLA. I study philosophy.

However, let me just point out that you seem to have commitments to doctrines that aren't clearly stated in Scripture, though I understand that it's your belief that Scripture implies them. And this is the belief which you are in the process of trying to provide an argument for.

It seems to me that one should not commit oneself to defending doctrines which one claims can be established by argument, or attacking certain others on the same basis, when one is not (for whatever reason) capable of rationally explaining and justifying one's position by providing the relevant argument. Even if you still think I'm wrong, be true to your conscience brother.

Best,
Mark

Michael said...
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David N. said...

Michael,

Please stop posting spam. If you are not going to interact directly with the post that you are commenting on, or any of the previous comments, then please stop wasting our time.

No one on this blog holds to a "fundamentalist" view of Sola Scriptura. We would agree with you that many evangelicals have an essentially docetist view of Scripture. None of that is under dispute here, so your comments are unnecessary and distracting.

Anonymous said...

Is the scripture that is written, without a verses to say Sola Scriptura is sufficient, enough to provide salvation? Absolutely.

In Matthew 28 Christ said all authority is given to me. If Christ is the authority then that which he taught his Apostles to spread throughout the nations would have his authority backing their teachings. Hence Acts 2 has the ability to begin the process. The following teachings throughout the Bible would be sufficient also because they would have the authority of Christ.

In closing I will say that the Bible in a couple of Books teach Sola Scriptura. Timothy is one that comes to mind. It is straight forward without any other way to interpret it.