100 Biblical Arguments…

…Against Sola Scriptura. This little book–like it’s forthright title–comes right out and does what it says it will do. Well known internet apologist Dave Armstrong does what he does best–he gathers evidence, piles it up, explains it and then does it again with more evidence. His website is an amazing treasure trove representing hours–yea a lifetime of material gathered to defend Catholic doctrine.

Over the years Dave has gathered the evidence for Catholic teaching from just about every source imaginable. He’s debate endlessly with Protestants online and has the strength not only to understand the Catholic faith, but to understand the subtleties and arguments of his Protestant opponents.

This latest book is straight up. You know exactly what you’re getting: 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura. In Part One he takes us through the reasons for the binding authority of tradition as opposed to the Bible alone. So he outlines how the Bible itself relies on tradition–not just the written word, how Christ and the early church relied on tradition, and how the whole of the story of salvation relies on the spoken word, the prophetic word and the living “word of God” in the lives of faith. In Part Two Dave shows how the authority of the Church is binding–not just the written Scriptures. He piles up evidence from the Bible for the living authority of the church, apostolic succession, evidence for an infallible teaching authority in the church and he winds up with arguments against denominationalism and then counters the usual proof texts used by Protestants for sola Scriptura.

This book should be in the reference section of any serious Catholic apologist. It’s a handy tool to dismantle sola Scriptura from every possible different angle. This is the only debate I now engage in when challenged by Bible Christians. I don’t discuss why we light candles, or whether we pray to Mary or whether the Pope is the anti Christ. I go straight to the question of sola Scriptura. This doctrine is the foundation for all Protestantism, and it is doctrinally the weakest part of their belief system.

The fact of the matter is, as Dave Armstrong shows, sola Scriptura is a false doctrine. Considering that Protestants like to blame Catholics for following extra Biblical, man made, late invented doctrines–it is worth pointing out that nobody ever heard of sola Scriptura for the first 1500 years of Christendom. There is no Biblical support for it, and it was clearly invented by the Reformers as a sort of anti-Catholic authority system. Furthermore, Protestantism’s whole edifice is built on this extra Biblical, man made, late invented doctrine.

Dave’s book not only takes sola Scriptura to pieces, but does so with brisk, objective efficiency. He doesn’t sling mud, resort to ad hominem attacks, set up straw men or fall into any other common debater’s pits. He’s clear, straight talking and gets to the point.

You can check out Dave’s website here and purchase the book.

  • Joe

    i have yet to read a book by a Catholi chat would convince or get the attention of most Protestants on this subject, this one included. That is because in my mind what is need is NOT an argument that the Bible alone is not enough. What is need is revival pin the Church that witnesses tot he fact the Bible IS enough … when interpreted rightly and loved by The Church. Most Protestants will come around to admit they to honor their own traditions. But what they won’t admit is that any authority is more supreme than Scripture. And when I read Ratzinger and buyer they seem to agree. But too many apologists spend so much time *qualifying* Catholic belief in the Bible, they make its inspiration seem moot. I suppose there is always room for multiple perspectives. But I find the words of another erstwhile apologist, Greg Kreibel, very on target .
    * * * * *

    “What good is an infallible Bible without an infallible Church to interpret it?” I’ve heard that too many times to count.

    What good is an infallible Bible? That any Christian can seriously ask the question defies belief. We want to know what God is like. We want to know how he regards us, and what we have to do to please him, and here we have, not just a document, and not just a pretty good document, but the very words of God.

    What good is the Bible? That kind of language makes Protestants roll their eyes. (“Those Catholics really don’t get it, do they?”) Any serious Evangelical knows scores of people whose lives have been miraculously transformed by reading the Bible. Besides that, the Evangelical himself has personally experienced God speaking to him in the words of Scripture.

    When a Catholic utters the phrase, “What good is an infallible Bible” he has given up any claim to credibility with that Evangelical. It would be like asking a man who was just rescued from the desert, “What good is water without a crystal glass to drink it in?”

    Bad habit: Trying to magnify the Church and Catholic doctrine by disparaging the Bible.
    Remedy: Always speak of the Bible reverently. Read Psalms 19 and 119, and learn to regard the Bible the way King David did. Never even consider saying, “What good is the Bible . . . ?” You’d be better off to cut out your tongue and chop off your fingers.

    • Hapax Paradidomi

      What good is the Bible? That kind of language makes Protestants roll their eyes. (“Those Catholics really don’t get it, do they?”) Any serious Evangelical knows scores of people whose lives have been miraculously transformed by reading the Bible. Besides that, the Evangelical himself has personally experienced God speaking to him in the words of Scripture.
      ======

      This is simply blaming the catholic for the protestants failure to try and understand. It is their failure to try and understand the Catholic church in the first place that puts us here in this situation.

      We are supposed to be about the TRUTH. The truth is, words on a page, are of no use to us if we do not understand them.

      Paul makes this point in scripture 1 Corinthians 14:1-25. Especially in
      Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.

      I am not arguing that the bible cannot be understood, but it can be that it is not understood correctly. So the point that the catholic is making is the same that Paul is making. To indict the catholic is to indict Scripture on this point.

  • MikefromED

    “Most Protestants will come around to admit they to honour their own traditions. But what they won’t admit is that any authority is more supreme than Scripture.”

    Three responses:
    Firstly, the Bible has to be interpreted. The question is whether or not that interpretation can be done by an individual or needs to be done within the Church. (Anybody who says that the Bible does not need to be interpreted has to explain away the multitude of Protestant churches/sects each of which has its own interpretation.)
    Secondly, the phrase “any authority more supreme that Scripture” needs to be defined. The Catholic Church does not claim that its authority is above Scripture but that it interprets what Scripture means. Can a Protestant minister standing in the pulpit claim to have any authority to justify his/her interpretation of Scripture other than his/her own opinion?
    Thirdly, suppose that the Bible makes it quite clear that there is an authority (the Church) which has a divinely-given authority to interpret Scripture. A bible-believing Protestant would surely have to accept that.

  • matthias

    my journey into the Church was from Evangelical boyhood ( Churches of Christ) to early adulthhod in the Reformed and Baptist churches before finding the latin mass community here in Melbourne Australia and being instructed by the Rector of that Community. He made the point that the Bible is part of Scared traditon along with the Church Fathers and teachings of the Church. For a Catholic to disparage the Bible is as much a sin as to receive the Mass in a spirit of faslehood ,arrogance or sin.
    People have died and are dying for the right of the Bible to be read -Catholic ,protestant and orthodox . But in modern day protetsantism there is also occurring their own Traditoons which are put up alongside the Bible but which are really protestantized versions of what the Church teaches

  • veritas

    Joe,
    You gave a quote from Greg Kreibel, “What good is an infallible Bible without an infallible Church to interpret it?” then you spent the rest of your post complaining about half the quote “What good is an infallible Bible”?

    You got really upset at the apparent insult to Scripture. Yet this is NOT what the original quote said. It said: “What good is an infallible Bible without an infallible Church to interpret it?” In other words it in no way insulted Scripture but rather pointed out the reality that the Bible must have an interpreter. This doesn’t make the Bible one bit less infallible!

    The whole point about Protestantism is that it does NOT respect scripture as the infallible word of God at all. Rather, each Protestant denomination takes it upon itself to interpret Scripture to suit its own beliefs and lifestyle.

    The classic example of this is contraception. Until the 1930’s EVERY Protestant denomination considered contraception to be a sin. First the Church of England changed its view and decided that contraception was OK and now virtually every Protestant denomination consider contraception to be fine.

    How did all these Protestants decide for centuries that the infallible Bible condemned contraception yet in the last 70 years it now permits it?

    Martin Luther, John Calvin and even Huldreich Zwingli all considered Mary to be Ever Virgin. Yet now virtually every Protestant will try to show you from Scripture how Mary had other children and was not therefore Ever Virgin. Luther also believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. He stated that: “It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.”

    This is an incredible statement. I do not know any Protestant who would not react with horror at this statement and consider it to be one of the anti Biblical Roman doctrines. Yet this is what the founder of Protestantism believed! How is it then that his followers today, learning from the same Scriptures, totally reject this doctrine?

    Holy Scripture itself condemns those who twist Scripture to their own destruction. Holy Scripture itself says that prophecies of Scripture are NOT for private interpretation.

    If you are criticising some Catholics for not really respecting the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture then you are completely correct. Too many modern Catholics dismiss Scripture as man made fairy tales to only be believed if it suits our lifestyle. There needs to be far more respect among Catholics for the Holy Scriptures. But exactly the same complaint can be made about the majority of modern Protestants.

    The difference is that as Catholics we follow the guidance of the successors to the Apostles and the Successor to Peter, appointed by Our Blessed Lord to guide His Church into all truth. The Church will make sure we do not twist Scripture to our destruction and end up with 40,000 different versions of Christianity.

  • http://socrates58.blogspot.com/ Dave Armstrong

    If this is the same Joe who commented on another review of my book (he reasons similarly to the other one), it is futile for me to respond to all he says here, because he made it clear in the other thread that he had a personal axe to grind.

    Let me just make two observations: how curious that the bulk of Joe’s review is devoted to an undocumented quote from “Greg Kreibel” (it’s Greg Krehbiel: who is now an atheist, by the way, and was never too big on apologetics when he was a Catholic), rather than a quote from my book. As far as I know, I make no such statement in the book. Yet I (and “apologists” generally) am tarred with the same brush. The statement cited is not, however, untrue in and of itself. Protestants may interpret it wrongly, but that is because it is divorced from context. Protestants always tend to think Catholics are running down the Bible whenever we criticize sola Scriptura, because they are taught to think in illogical “either/or” terms, and because they equate sola Scriptura with love and reverence from the Bible (the two are not at all the same thing).

    The Bible uses similar language: “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?” (James 2:14). The point is that faith and works inevitably must be together. By Joe’s reasoning, by saying that faith is of no profit unless accompanied by works, is to run down faith. But of course, James is not doing that at all. He is simply saying that faith cannot be isolated. Likewise, we Catholic say that the Bible is not isolated. To say this is not to run it down at all, anymore than faith is run down in Scripture. The fault lies in the erroneous interpretation of the language and the idea.

    Along the same lines: “But what they won’t admit is that any authority is more supreme than Scripture. And when I read Ratzinger and buyer they seem to agree. ”

    Of course they agree, and so do I, because this is Catholic teaching. There is no teaching “more supreme than Scripture.” Catholics believe in a three-legged stool of authority: none higher than the other, but all working in tandem: Scripture-Church-Tradition.

  • http://socrates58.blogspot.com/ Dave Armstrong

    “love and reverence from the Bible”

    should be:

    “love and reverence FOR the Bible”

  • Joe

    Veritas,

    I essentially agree with you. My caveat is this: Protestants are wrong. Tragically wrong? Well, yes, insofar as any error is tragic. And the Reformation was caused by sin, at least in part. That said, I think (and I know this is a personal view) Gid is also using Protestantism in a way that proves that, while the Bible needs interpreting, Scripture has an inherent power that invincibly overcomes a lot of Protestant haze for the honest seeker. Thus, while Protestant modernists manage to dampen or contradict its teachings, mashy other Protestants are able to discover its essential Catholic core salvation message, even while for whatever mysterious reason God allows them to remain in error but other doctrines. It appears to me there is a radioactive core to Scripture and the Christian message that escapes confessional bounds, even Catholic/Protestant. So my point is simply we need to appreciate that as well as confirming all other Catholic truths. My bias/sensitivity no doubt reflects my Evangelical past. As I said, overall I think you are absolutely right.

  • http://recoveredcatholic.com Christina

    I really like what you said about reasoning with Bible Christians. As a new convert to the Church with a gaggle of horrified friends and family left behind in our old church, I have come to the same conclusion that the issue of sola scriptura is most central to the entire divide that is between us and our Protestant brethren. “Sola scriptura!” is considered the battle cry of the Reformation, after all. It only makes sense to start there.

  • Joe

    ““Sola scriptura!” is considered the battle cry of the Reformation, after all.”

    I’d say “The Just Shall LIve By Faith” is the battle cry. And since we essentially agree with them there, that is the more fruitful place to start. In my experience coming from a similar background.

  • http://quamangustaporta.blogspot.co.uk/ Malvenu

    As a former evangelical, having such a high regard for scripture meant that i was compelled to convert to the Catholic Church… once I was able to assess, with a degree of objectivity, how what the Catholic Church says about itself compared to what Scripture says. That is, once I was able to do so without the fog of Protestant misconceptions blinding me from what the Catholic Church actually says about itself and what the Bible actually says about what the Church is supposed to look like. Matthew 16: 17ff is surprisingly clear on this. Protestants object – they have to – coming up with all sorts of reasons to discount both literal and more in depth readings of the passage. The favourites seem to be that the rock Jesus refers to is not Peter but what Peter says and that the Church *was* built on Peter but it is either a spiritual institution or has evolved beyond the Catholic Church. Inside the Protestant-fog-bubble these arguments seem quite plausible, but with clarity even a straightforward, literal reading of the passage blows these out of the water. Jesus either speaks in parables, in which case his meaning is deliberately vague so that those who do not have ‘ears to hear’ may not understand or he is very much to the point, e.g. a few verses later in the same chapter He tells ‘the rock’ “Get behind me, Satan!” when Peter, misunderstanding Jesus’ mission contradicts him. An honest, straightforward reading of *this passage alone* (not to mention others in Isaiah and elsewhere that give it greater depth of meaning) is enough to show sola scriptura for what it is: heresy. It was for me, anyway, but that was having spent 10 years outside the evangelical church during which time the fog dispersed enough for me to read the Bible with some objectivity, independent of the influence of Protestant theology. Jesus said that a house divided upon itself cannot stand so a Protestant deciding for themselves that sola scriptura (the thing that underpins their beliefs, the faith, their entire worldview) is an unbiblical, reformers’ invention is like Jesus driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub!

  • http://www.crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com russ rentler, md

    As Father L. said, the concept of sola scriptura only exists because it gave the reformers permission to cast off the authority of the Church and falsely proclaim another authority. Before the reformation, there was sporadic heresy that popped up based on personal interpretation of Scripture but it never became the central reason and justification to abandon the Barque of Peter.(see the link on 5th century St Vincent) Sola Scriptura is basically “a hall pass” to go out and have a rebellion against the Church Jesus started.

    http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2011/06/st-vincent-of-lerins-5th-century-and.html

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