Even St. Paul’s books were disputed by at least two major early figures, or at least not introduced as “Scripture” per se. For example, we have no positive evidence that St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165) regarded Philippians, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, or 1, 2, and 3 John. as biblical books. That’s eleven out of 27 books. The same is true of 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, with regard to St. Polycarp (c. 69 – c. 155). St. Irenaeus,… Read more

A false assumption is often made by anti-Catholics and other critics of the Catholic Church, that when Catholics discuss how something has “always been believed,” that they are not also often referring to adherence to implicit or kernel-forms or the “acorns” or “seeds” of development of doctrine (i.e., they are referring to the essence of the doctrine, which was received from the apostles and never changes). This misunderstanding is based not only on ignorance of development of doctrine per se, but on gross neglect of the… Read more

***** This is an abridged version of my portions of a lengthy dialogue (in two parts), originally with anti-Catholic apologist Jason Engwer. *** Can Protestant apologists make an argument that the concept of biblical books is biblical? Yes, they can. But can they make a rational biblical argument for numbering the New Testament books at twenty-seven? No, they can’t. The essence of the biblical books is that they are all inspired. But determining exactly which and how many books possess… Read more

VicQRuiz is a friendly “agnostic/deist.” He was interested in making some comments on my 2001 exchange: The “Problem of Good”: Great Dialogue With an Atheist. I consider that old exchange the best dialogue I have ever been engaged in, out of what must be 900-1000 of ’em by now. His words (complete) will be in blue. ***** Hi Dave, thought I would drop in here with the comments I promised a couple of weeks ago. As I have already mentioned, I consider… Read more

Material sufficiency can be proven from Scripture, but Scripture Alone as a principle was not formally sufficient to prevent the Arian crisis from occurring. In other words, the decisive factor in these controversies was the appeal to apostolic succession and apostolic tradition, which showed that the Church had always been trinitarian. The Arians could not appeal to any such tradition because their Christology was a heretical innovation of the 4th century. The Arians [who made Christ a mere creature] thus… Read more

Why establish an office (Peter, in effect, was made the prime minister of the Church by Jesus, as the exegesis of the “keys of the kingdom” establishes, with much Protestant exegetical support), only to have it cease with the death of Peter? That makes no sense. The very nature of an office is to be carried on; to have a succession. One doesn’t start a business, e.g., with a president, and then after the first president dies, the office ceases… Read more

Did St. Athanasius (c. 296-373) believe in sola Scriptura? Hardly. Let us look at some of his statements: ***** But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached and the Fathers kept. (To Serapion 1:28) But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and… Read more

I wrote this on the Coming Home Network boards [where I moderated from 2007-2010] in response to someone saying that no one could comment on the reputed apparitions at Medjugorje unless they had been there themselves. * * * * * First of all, it’s wrong to say that no one can comment on a thing without firsthand experience. That’s like the pro-aborts saying that men can’t talk about abortion because they are not women. It’s a fallacy. I agree… Read more

The Catholic position on the perspicuity (clearness or clarity) of Scripture, briefly stated, is the following: 1) Scripture, is, by and large, clear, in its treatment of theological doctrines. The truth can be obtained by proper study. I’ve done this myself, many times, in Scripture study on various topics, and my experience has always been the same, for thirty years now. 2) Scripture is materially sufficient: it contains all Christian doctrines, either explicitly, implicitly, or by direct deduction from doctrines… Read more

I. Tradition: Catholic Commentary Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J. Tradition first means all of divine revelation, from the dawn of human history to the end of the apostolic age, as passed on from one generation of believers to the next, and as preserved under divine guidance by the Church established by Christ. Sacred Tradition more technically also means, within this transmitted revelation, that part of God’s revealed word which is not contained in Sacred Scripture. (Pocket Catholic Dictionary, New… Read more

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