Material Sufficiency of Scripture & Anti-Catholic Sophistry

Material Sufficiency of Scripture & Anti-Catholic Sophistry May 23, 2022

[book and purchase information]

Pedro França Gaião is, from what I can make out, a former Catholic, and now a Protestant. He is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and currently lives in Sioux City, Iowa. I was drawn into a lively discussion about sacred tradition and the old debate about one or two sources. This occurred in a lengthy thread on the Facebook page of my Brazilian Catholic friend, Leandro Cerqueira. Pedro is one of those delightful anti-Catholic polemicists who condescendingly assumes that he understands Catholic doctrine better than (educated) Catholics do themselves.

He had been writing on this topic of Bible and tradition and material sufficiency of Scripture on his (public) Facebook page prior to the free-for-all discussion that I eventually entered into. I will make preliminary observations, post the Facebook discussion and debate that occurred (including many additional present replies, in brackets).

Pedro’s words will be in blue. He is, of course, most welcome — along with anyone else who is civil and not a troll — to offer further replies in the combox underneath this blog post.

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Pedro made the following absurd comment on his own Facebook page:

The rise of the defense of Material Sufficiency by the enemies of Sola Scriptura is oddly a victory for Sola Scriptura and a general failure for the religions that opposed it. (5-19-22)

That will be mercilessly disposed of below. He took a potshot at me, personally, regarding my views on material sufficiency and also on Augustine’s views of images:

There is also the possibility that he is dishonest or really stupid. In one of his texts he defends that Augustine was an iconodula [one who accepts religious images] and in the other he says that he was an aniconist [iconoclast, or opposer of images as idolatrous] but that the doctrine had developed. Logic, there is no such thing. (5-19-22)
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I have no idea where he is getting this from. He provides no link or even name of a writing where I supposedly stated such a ridiculous thing. St. Augustine does, however, change his mind at times, so there is some possibility that he did as regards images. But I could never say something as stupid and clueless as “the doctrine of images developed from it being idolatry to it’s being okay.” That completely perverts Newmanian development (the very thing that made me a Catholic), and so it’s utterly impossible that I ever argued in such a fashion since my conversion in 1990. Therefore, Pedro is distorting my words. In charity, I will assume it’s because he is incompetent in his research (at least where I am concerned) or ignorant, rather than deliberately lying.
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I think I may have found the passage in my writing that Pedro is talking about. The following is from my article, “Veneration of Images, Iconoclasm, & Idolatry (An Exposition)” [11-15-02]. The words in brown are from Anglican Nonjuror Bishops in 1722:
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To this we may add, that the Council of Constantinople held under Constantine Copronymus, against images, asserts that there was no prayer in the church service for consecrating images, a suggestion which the 2nd Council of Nicaea (i.e., the Seventh Ecumenical Council) does not deny. And St. Augustine, mentioning some superstitious Christians (for so he calls them), says he knew a great many who venerated images (August. De Moribus Eccl. Cath. cap. 34).

[Protestant patristics scholar Phillip] Schaff elaborates:

Even Augustine laments that among the rude Christian masses there are many image-worshippers, but counts such in the great number of those nominal Christians, to whom the essence of the Gospel is unknown. (History of the Christian Church, Vol. III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity, New York: Scribner’s, 5th edition, 1910, reprinted by Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1974, 573)

This hardly proves that the practice [of veneration of images] was not widespread; only that among the ignorant abuses of it occurred, which is no news, but a self-evident truth which holds in all times and places. Elsewhere St. Augustine writes:

A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers. But it is done in such a way that our altars are not set up to any one of the martyrs, – although in their memory, – but to God Himself, the God of those martyrs. (Against Faustus the Manichaean, c. 400,  20-21, from William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979, vol. 3, 59] )

I looked up the section brought up above, from On the Morals of the Catholic Church (chapter 34). Here is what St. Augustine wrote:

75. Do not summon against me professors of the Christian name, who neither know nor give evidence of the power of their profession. Do not hunt up the numbers of ignorant people, who even in the true religion are superstitious, or are so given up to evil passions as to forget what they have promised to God. I know that there are many worshippers of tombs and pictures. I know that there are many who drink to great excess over the dead, and who, in the feasts which they make for corpses, bury themselves over the buried, and give to their gluttony and drunkenness the name of religion. . . .

76. My advice to you now is this: that you should at least desist from slandering the Catholic Church, by declaiming against the conduct of men whom the Church herself condemns, seeking daily to correct them as wicked children.

St. Augustine is condemning, of course, those “ignorant” professed Christians who adore or worship images (and tombs!) with an idolatrous devotion that belongs to God alone: which the Church condemns. He is not against the proper veneration of images, as the citation from Against Faustus shows. Augustine also wrote elsewhere:

But in regard to pictures and statues, and other works of this kind, which are intended as representations of things, nobody makes a mistake, especially if they are executed by skilled artists, but every one, as soon as he sees the likenesses, recognizes the things they are likenesses of. (On Christian Doctrine, Book II,  ch. 25, sec. 39)

Typically of anti-Catholics, Pedro seems to be suffering from the self-delusion that material sufficiency of Scripture is somehow logically reduced to an adherence to sola Scriptura. It’s not at all. I had written just two articles on the topic (i.e., with “material sufficiency” in the title), but often mention material sufficiency in passing because of this canard from the anti-Catholics that it represents Catholics caving into a sola Scriptura mentality and departing from historic Catholicism. This is sheer nonsense. Here are those two efforts:

Mary’s Assumption vs. Material Sufficiency of Scripture? [4-22-07]

Material Sufficiency of Scripture is NOT Sola Scriptura [2009]

I made fun of this anti-Catholic foolishness of pretending that any Catholic who heavily cites the Bible must be a secret, subversive believer in sola Scriptura, in my partly tongue-in-cheek paper: Sola Scriptura: Church Fathers (?), & Myself (?), by Analogy [2-7-07]. See also the related: Biblical Argumentation: Same as Sola Scriptura? [10-7-03].

I do have, however, a section entitled, “Material and Formal Sufficiency of Scripture / Rule of Faith” on my Bible and Tradition web page. It lists 31 of my articles. Here are a few key portions of my 2009 paper above (itself largely drawn from books written in 2002 and 2003):

305. All who accept sola Scriptura believe in material sufficiency, but not vice versa. That’s the fallacy often present in these sorts of discussions.

307. Biblical statements about material sufficiency and inspiration of Scripture don’t prove either sola Scriptura or the formal sufficiency of Scripture.

308. If Catholics affirm the material sufficiency of Scripture, then it cannot be the case that “material sufficiency” is essentially a synonym for sola Scriptura.

311. All true Christian doctrines are either explicitly stated in the Bible, or able to be deduced from solid biblical evidences (i.e., I accept the material sufficiency of Scripture). In my opinion, sola Scriptura falls under neither category.

318. Materially sufficiency is the belief that all Christian doctrines can be found in Holy Scripture, either explicitly or implicitly, or deducible from the explicit testimony of Holy Scripture (Catholics fully agree with that). It does not mean that Scripture is the “only” source of doctrine (in a sense which excludes tradition and the Church). That is what formal sufficiency means.

319. I believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture myself, and this is an acceptable Catholic position. I deny that Scripture is formally sufficient as an authority over against apostolic succession, biblically consistent and biblically based Tradition, and the Church (however the latter is defined). I deny that Scripture itself teaches either formal sufficiency or sola Scriptura.

320. Material sufficiency of Scripture is the view that all Christian doctrines can be found in Scripture, explicitly or implicitly; fully developed or in kernel form. Catholics hold to this. Formal sufficiency of Scripture is the adoption of the principle of sola Scriptura as the Rule of Faith. Catholics deny that, and I say that the Fathers (being Catholics from an earlier, less theologically and ecclesiologically developed period) do as well.

321. Binding Church authority is a practical necessity, given the propensity of men to pervert the true apostolic Tradition as taught in Scripture, whether it is perspicuous or not. The fact remains that diverse interpretations arise, and a final authority outside of Scripture itself is needed in order to resolve those controversies. This does not imply in the least that Scripture itself (rightly understood) is not sufficient to overcome the errors. It is only formally insufficient by itself.

322. It is no novel thing for a Catholic (or someone who has a view similar to Catholics regarding the Rule of Faith) to compare Scripture with Scripture. I write entire books and dozens of papers where I consult Scripture Alone to make my arguments (precisely because I am arguing with Protestants and they don’t care what Catholic authorities state on a subject). It doesn’t follow that I have therefore adopted the Protestant Rule of Faith. This is extraordinarily weak argumentation (insofar as it can be called that at all).

323. I write entire books and huge papers citing nothing but Scripture. It doesn’t mean for a second that I don’t respect the binding authority of the Catholic Church or espouse sola Scriptura. St. Athanasius made some extensive biblical arguments. Great. Making such arguments, doing exegesis, extolling the Bible, reading the Bible, discussing it, praising it, etc., etc., etc., are all well and good (and Catholics agree wholeheartedly); none of these things, however, reduce to or logically necessitate adoption of sola Scriptura as a formal principle, hard as that is for some people to grasp.

325. Being “scriptural” and being in accordance with sola Scriptura are not one and the same. This is a clever sleight of hand often employed by Protestant apologists (akin to the fish not knowing that it is in water: to the Protestant, sola Scriptura is the water he lives in or the air he breathes; thus taken absolutely for granted), but it is a basic fallacy, according to Protestants’ own given definition of sola Scriptura, which is, broadly speaking, as follows:

Sola Scripturathe belief that Scripture is the only final, infallible authority in matters of Christian doctrine.

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For something to be “scriptural” or “biblical” on the other hand, is to be in accord with the following qualifications:

“Biblical” / “scriptural”: supported by Scripture directly or implicitly or by deduction from explicit or implicit biblical teaching; secondarily: not contradicting biblical teaching.

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As we can see, the two things are quite different. This is how and why a Catholic can be entirely committed to explaining and defending Catholic doctrine from Holy Scripture (indeed, it is my apologetic specialty and the focus of most of my published books), while not adhering to sola Scriptura in the slightest. Protestants don’t have a monopoly on Scripture; nor is sola Scriptura necessary to thoroughly ground doctrines in Scripture. The Protestant merely assumes this (usually without argument) and goes on his merry way.

Pedro came onto my Facebook page, asking: “could you answer me a question on how Catholic Church view the issue of Material Sufficiency?” (5-21-22) I provided him with a link to my 2009 article (cited at length above) and also, Jimmy Akin’s excellent 2005 article, “The Complex Relationship between Scripture and Tradition.” I now cite highlights from the latter:

The relationship between Scripture and Tradition comes up regularly in contemporary Catholic apologetics. According to one Catholic view, Scripture and Tradition are two sources of revelation. Some divine truths are found in the Bible, while others are found in Tradition. This “two source” model has a long history, but it also has some difficulties. One is that there is considerable overlap between the two sources. . . .

Speaking of Scripture and Tradition as two sources could lead one to overlook this overlap, which is so considerable that some Catholics have pondered how much of the Protestant idea of sola scriptura a Catholic can agree with. Sola scriptura is understood in different ways among Protestants, but it is commonly taken to mean that the Bible contains all of the material needed to do theology. According to this theory, a theologian does not need to look to Tradition — or at least does not need to give Tradition an authoritative role.

This view is not acceptable to Catholics. As the Second Vatican Council stressed in its constitution Dei Verbum, “It is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws its certainty about everything that has been revealed. Therefore both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence” (DV 9).

One of the principal architects of Dei Verbum was the French theologian Yves Congar, who thought Catholics could acknowledge a substantial element of truth in sola scriptura.

He wrote that “we can admit sola scriptura in the sense of a material sufficiency of canonical Scripture. This means that Scripture contains, in one way or another, all truths necessary for salvation” (Tradition and Traditions, 410).

He encapsulated this idea with the slogan Totum in scriptura, totum in traditione (“All is in Scripture, all is in Tradition”), which he attributes to Cardinal Newman. According to this theory, Scripture and Tradition would not be two sources containing different material but two modes of transmitting the same deposit of faith. We might call it the “two modes” view as opposed to the “two source” view.

The decrees of Trent and Vatican II allow Catholics to hold the two-mode idea, but they do not require it. A Catholic is still free to hold the two-source view. . . .

One of the most accurate descriptions of the Catholic rule of faith and the view of the early Church that I’ve seen comes from Protestant historian Heiko Oberman:

As regards the pre-Augustinian Church, there is in our time a striking convergence of scholarly opinion that Scripture and Tradition are for the early Church in no sense mutually exclusive: kerygma, Scripture and Tradition coincide entirely. The Church preaches the kerygma which is to be found in toto in written form in the canonical books. 

The Tradition is not understood as an addition to the kerygma contained in Scripture but as the handing down of that same kerygma in living form: in other words everything is to be found in Scripture and at the same time everything is in the living Tradition. 

It is in the living, visible Body of Christ, inspired and vivified by the operation of the Holy Spirit, that Scripture and Tradition coinhere . . . Both Scripture and Tradition issue from the same source: the Word of God, Revelation . . . Only within the Church can this kerygma be handed down undefiled . . . (The Harvest of Medieval Theology, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, revised edition, 1967, 366-367)

Now — having done the preliminary work — onto the exchange with Pedro. I will offer some additional thoughts afterwards:

[A passage from my book, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura was cited in Portugese in a screenshot (so I couldn’t translate it)]

I know what Armstrong is doing here, you probably don’t.

Who cited me and what was the claim made about my position? What do you mean by “I know what Armstrong is doing here”? (“Eu sei oq o Armstrong está fazendo aqui, você provavelmente não”).

[he never answered]

You’re gonna force me to go talk to him [i.e., myself], and he probably won’t text me back. . . . I don’t think he will answer.

I answered him within three hours on my Facebook page (I had been watching TV the previous few hours), and came into the big Facebook discussion where I engaged him, after being tagged and notified by PM.

The article by Akin explains [this overall issue] fully and my article has further thoughts. But the quick answer is no: Scripture and tradition were both part of the apostolic deposit, but this is not opposed at all to material sufficiency of Scripture; only formal sufficiency (sola Scriptura). Vatican II also referred to Bible and Tradition as the “twin fonts of the same divine wellspring.” A perfect description . . .

In fact that’s not what I was arguing about. My point is that Material Sufficiency is not a Catholic Dogma, an official position or the only position regarding Scripture and Tradition.
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[correct; as Jimmy Akin noted]
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I was arguing that material sufficiency, or One Source Theory or Totum-totum is a position formulated by Geiselman in the 50’s as an opposition to the Two Sources Theory. Leandro is denying Geiselman’s point that Bellarmine, Eck and other Catholic apologists were opposed to material sufficiency (he says all Catholics believe in both of them) and that Catholics believe generally in a definition of Two Source Theory and material sufficiency that work together instead of opposing views like Thomism and Molinism. I noticed you support material sufficiency in your book, but Leandro is arguing you supported the Two Source Theory together with material sufficiency. I was arguing you simply defended a single theory and not both of them, as you didn’t mention both.
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Trent Horn in his book says those two theories are different, but many people in Brazil ignore that, since few people in Catholicism actually distinguish them, so they must either be complementary or [else] it’s generally [seen that] they were compatible.

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[replying to others, referencing me] He didn’t solve anything. They didn’t ask him what was discussed.

[Pedro came to my Facebook page, specifically asking me about material sufficiency, not all this other business about one or two sources of tradition, etc. I responded in kind, there and in this group discussion]

Catholics are free to believe either. You are correct about that. In fact, almost all Catholics today believe in the material sufficiency of Scripture. The partim-partim polemic is largely an irrelevancy from the 16th century. It’s not either/or. Tradition is included in the deposit. But only Scripture is inspired, of course.

But both the Two Source Theory and the One Source Theory (Material Sufficiency) are different Views on Tradition and Scripture, Right? My point here, the main one at least, is that they are different and not “one and the same” or “they can be believed at the same time”.
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[I didn’t directly answer because I felt that the linked Jimmy Akin article answered the question, but I do answer directly now: Yes. That said, I still think Pedro is confused about the relation of all these factors in the Catholic system, concerning Bible and tradition. I know that for sure because he made the erroneous statement on his own page: “The rise of the defense of Material Sufficiency by the enemies of Sola Scriptura is oddly a victory for Sola Scriptura. This alone proves that he is way over his head in discussing this issue]
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Your task is to get beyond all these side-trails and defend sola Scriptura from Holy Scripture. No Protestant has ever done it. I’ve written 3 1/2 books on the topic [one / two / three / four] and recently challenged five prominent Protestants on YouTube [one / two / three / four / five]. None were willing to even grapple with my arguments. But hey, maybe you’ll be the first, huh? The pioneer!
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That’s another subject, [and] we could debate about it, of course. But the current issue is: Two Source Theory is a position, and Material Sufficiency is another position, an opposite position. Do you agree with that?
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[present more direct answer: I agree that one- and two-source theories are competing theories (both allowed in Catholicism, with the former now the majority position), but I don’t think material sufficiency is somehow inexorably opposed to the necessary role of sacred tradition. It’s not at all]
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I gave my main reply in the form of two articles: mine and Jimmy Akin’s. In a constructive discussion, you actually deal with the other guy’s answer; you don’t keep asking the same question. But in the end it’s a non-issue. The Catholic rule of faith is Bible-Tradition-Church. It’s a fully biblical position, whereas sola Scriptura is extra-biblical and unbiblical. It’s a tradition of men.
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The real issue to discuss is whether tradition and Church can be infallible under certain conditions, or if only the Bible can ever be that. Catholics and Orthodox hold to the former; Protestants to the latter. But we can defend our view from Scripture and history; they cannot.
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I think Pedro knows this, which would explain why he refuses to defend what he must: only Scripture is the infallible authority for Christian doctrine. I don’t blame him. I sure wouldn’t want to defend a position that has nothing at all going for it in the Bible (or Church history). It’s an impossible task.
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When you can’t defend what you necessarily must for your system to exist in the first place, then you obfuscate and engage in obscurantism, to make an illusory appearance of strength where there is none. Every unscrupulous lawyer who has no case to make (no facts or evidence on his side) does this.
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Nothing personal; it’s just the self-defeating nature of Protestantism. Pedro might be the smartest man in the world, but as the old saying goes, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s [pig’s] ear.”
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The answer I expected is: Material Sufficiency is a position formulated to oppose the Two Source Theory and that both have different and opposite views on How Tradition and Scripture Works.
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[present answer. Yes, they are two different views on a very complex, multi-faceted, and nuanced matter. Because it’s so complicated, both are allowed by the Church, just as Thomist and Molinist interpretations of predestination are both allowed, since predestination is one of the most difficult topics in theology and philosophy. My point, that I kept making in the exchange, was that anti-Catholic apologists use this non-issue as a ploy or cynical “gotcha!” tactic to avoid talking about the real bottom-line issue between Catholics and Protestants: sola Scriptura vs. a “three-legged stool” rule of faith. ]
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I’m saying that because normal Catholics who read your book think you’re defending the Two Source Theory, while I noticed in that book you simply downplayed it while arguing for Material Sufficiency. Catholics in Brazil don’t care to teach those things because they “make weak faithful weaker”. I was inside this system. I know how it works. It’s a shame that you [wrote] all of this but couldn’t give direct answers that wouldn’t even be controversial to you as an apologist. It’s simply no monkey business, just helping Catholics to understand their doctrines correctly.
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[present answer: What would we do without your kind, benevolent, wise assistance, Pedro? How would we ever come to understand our own doctrine without a former Catholic Protestant — who detests it — helpfully explaining it to us? (note: heavy sarcasm) ]
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Once again: it’s a non-issue in the larger scheme of things. This is just a game that Protestant polemicists play, in order to avoid what they must do: defend sola Scriptura from Scripture. I’ve dealt with this for 27 years, starting with Bishop “Dr.” [???] James White: probably the leading Protestant debater of Catholics. You won’t come up with anything he hasn’t already dished out from the latrine, believe me. My answers are in the two articles I posted.
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I wasn’t engaged in a three-day discussion on sola Scriptura, but on the poor [job] of Catholic apologists to actually teach their concepts.. . . I’m not saying sola Scriptura shouldn’t be discussed at all, but that this three-day discussion must be [re]solved, and [that] many Catholics have a hard time admitting they are wrong on their own views of their own religion.
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[present answer: there is no “right or wrong” in the sense of what the Church requires concerning this matter, because both views are allowed. This is why it is an irrelevant issue (at least on the lay, popular level), and “beating a dead horse.” I simply noted that the majority view of both allowable positions is currently material sufficiency of Scripture and the one-source theory. I don’t think that came from the 1950s, as Pedro absurdly does. It’s in the Church fathers, arguably in Scripture itself, and was most notably refined and explained by St. John Henry Cardinal Newman in the 19th century]
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I’m not running away from anything. Leandro Cerqueira was a mediator in my debate on sola Scriptura against a Catholic [who did] poorly. And yes, if you are so demanding [regarding] that, I could do the same with you on the YouTube. I challenged Scott Hahn before; it’s no big deal really. But I have to settle some things . . . before eventually discussing our differences.
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[present answer. I do written debates — because I think they have far more substance and seriousness — , and am not on YouTube, as is fairly well-known, though lately I’ve been offering critiques of YouTube videos from Protestants. I’ve done more than 1000 debates of some sort over 25 years online, with almost every imaginable opposing position against Catholicism or Christianity in general. Nor have I been on many radio broadcasts or podcasts, though I have been interviewed on radio about 25 times since 1997. I’m not demanding anything. I simply said that your task is to prove sola Scriptura from the Bible.  In my 31 years as a Catholic apologist, I’ve never seen any Protestant do this. I would be absolutely delighted to see you try to do that. And I guarantee that I will be able to refute whatever you come up with. That’s how supremely confident I am on that issue. I’ve written more about it than any other topic.]
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I defend the “three-legged stool” rule of faith: Bible-Tradition-Church. This sufficiency stuff is just a side-trail to avoid defending sola Scriptura, which is why I have only two articles about it posted on my blog, out of more than 4,000 articles. You have one ultimate burden [as to Bible-Tradition issues] and one alone: defend sola Scriptura from Scripture. People ought to ignore you if you can’t do that and refuse to go on these wild goose chases with you. It simply strengthens your self-delusion if we do that.
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In any of those articles do you say both theories are opposite and different? That’s the issue here.
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[I haven’t written much at all about the one- or two-sources of tradition debate, for the very reasons I give here, so maybe not. But I have clarified in this present paper with additional answers that yes, they are two competing theories.]
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“Material sufficiency” of Scripture is such a non-entity in the daily life of a Catholic, that the term never appears in the Catechism, which is our sure norm of faith. You can try to look it up in the Portugese version. It’s certainly not there in English: at least not those words.
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I’m aware it doesn’t, such as [it doesn’t address] many other things. But if you are saying Catholicism has a position on what Tradition is, or the available positions, those should be made clear by anyone trying to attack Sola Scriptura. Most don’t already know sola Scriptura. If they don’t know what they are arguing, the debate level gets poor on the account of the Catholics.
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[our view on tradition is made clear in Dei Verbum from the Vatican II documents, and in the Catechism. If someone wants abundant popular-level apologetics treatments, they can consult my three books or very extensive collection of articles on my Bible and Tradition web page. The debate over that is utterly irrelevant when it comes to the issue of sola Scriptura. Both views of the source[s] of tradition in Catholicism hold to an infallible tradition and Church under certain conditions. Sola Scriptura denies that. That is the relevant, live debate: not this side-trail.]
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I agree that most Catholics and Protestants don’t understand the proper definition of sola Scriptura.
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It’s not much of use if a Catholic reads your book and doesn’t fully understand what you are arguing.
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[I’m known for being very clear in my explanations to the common man.]
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As I said, discussion is not on sola Scriptura here; we were trying to end a misconception and that’s the sole reason we agreed to show to Catholics what an apologist will say to them regarding both positions (or more than the two). No need to bait me into asola Scriptura argument, especially because the Brazilians are not going to pick up a fight against me again.
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[Challenging someone to exhibit the courage of their convictions is not“baiting.” It’s the thinking process for those who want to properly think through issues and examine both sides of debated matters, as opposed to being isolated in bubbles and echo chambers. I have no idea what is in the minds and hearts of Brazilian Catholics that you know. I suspect that you are exaggerating their fear of your intellectual prowess. But I am not the least bit scared of you: especially if we debate sola Scriptura. I have no idea who you are. But you seem to be a rather vocal and overconfident “big shot” among Brazilian Protestants (now living in good ol’ Protestant-dominated America).
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I’m here waiting to see if you are willing to do that debate, and few things would give me more pleasure (since Protestants are so ultra-reluctant to take up this challenge). I’ve debated many people (many times) far more knowledgeable and experienced than you think you are. But if we do this, you’ll have to try to demonstrate the actual nature and definition of sola Scriptura from Scripture alone. You won’t be allowed to go down rabbit trials and obfuscate and desperately try to change the subject. No one ever gets away with playing those games with me]
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I don’t know what the people here think in all particulars. It didn’t translate very well into English. I may [very well] disagree with some who believe I sided with them, in some specifics. I was asked to give my opinion as a professional apologist and I did. Jimmy Akin is one of the best Catholic apologists today. If you don’t accept his word for what our Church teaches, you won’t accept any Catholic’s, and will keep pretending that you know our doctrine better than we do ourselves. This is standard anti-Catholic Protestant polemicist method. It doesn’t fly.
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I mentioned “material sufficiency” exactly once in my book (I did a search last night). If I recall correctly, it wasn’t even one of the 100 arguments. But I may have forgotten. But I do mention it in several of my articles, such as where I prove that Church Father X did not believe in sola Scriptura. Here is a search result for “material sufficiency” in my writings. There are quite a few mentions, but I think most are just passing references.
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I read them in English. The problem is that I can actually understand what you were intending to say: you promoted Material Sufficiency and ignored Two Source Theory. But a common Catholic, who often have a bad basis on their own theology, will try to find the Second Theory in your book because they aren’t aware they are opposite. I mean, people here doesn’t even realized that when you dismissed the Two Source Theory as an outdated 16th century thing (Cathen would disagree badly), it’s because you don’t support Two Source Theory. That’s the point: have a clear position on the theories as opposed theories. If you don’t answer that, they will keep thinking they aren’t.
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The issue is that many people are thinking that you supported Two Source Theory while saying you support one source Theory. And without a clear admission on the contrary they will keep thinking you do that.
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[Once again, they oppose each other. DUH! And once again, it’s a rabbit trail and side issue, that anti-Catholics cynically utilize in order to avoid what the bottom-line issues are. The most fully developed Catholic views regarding tradition and revelation are found in Vatican II and popes after that, not in Trent.]
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How long do you think asola Scriptura discussion with Armstrong takes? 5 minutes?
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[Yeah, it would take that long if you got honest with yourself and admitted that the false tradition is never taught in Holy Scripture anywhere. Then you could concede and return to the Catholic faith. But if you want to pretend that it does appear in Scripture it could go on for a very long time, because I won’t run (like my Protestant opponents on this issue always have for 31 years now), unless it descends to merely personal insults, which I have no time for.]
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He did it [bring up sola Scriptura] precisely so he doesn’t have to disauthorize the people here who defend what he clearly doesn’t defend.
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[That’s a scurrilous lie. You can’t read my heart and know my motivations. I brought up sola Scriptura because I truly, sincerely believe that it’s the bottom-line issue to be discussed regarding authority (it’s not like that is a controversial position). And I think this “one vs. two” debate is a side-track and a way to avoid the difficulty of finding sola Scriptura anywhere in Holy Scripture. I can say this based on my long personal experience of having tried to debate the issue with Protestants for over 25 years and watching them always try to change the subject.]
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Nonsense. I clearly said in one of my last comments, that it may be that I don’t totally agree on some things with some of the people who feel they are on my side in this discussion. I didn’t come here just to agree with existing friends. I came to present what I believe to be the teaching of the Church. This is what Catholic apologists do. That’s what you specifically asked me. Now you say I didn’t answer. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, too. When one disagrees with an answer, just claim that the other never answered . . .
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[Pedro kept stating over and over that I didn’t answer his question specifically about whether the one-and two-source theory of tradition and revelation are “different” from each other. Of course they are different. What is this, kindergarten? I kept saying that I did answer by providing Jimmy Akin’s article, which presupposes throughout that the two theories are different and both fully allowed within Catholicism. He stated things like, “According to one [two-source] Catholic view, . . .”, “According to this theory, . . . We might call it the ‘two modes’ view as opposed to the ‘two source’ view.” He obviously is assuming they are different theories that compete with each other (two-source vs. two-mode). Therefore, I did answer his question by means of giving him Jimmy’s article, in agreement. But I also pretty much answered by saying at the time: “Catholics are free to believe either.”
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In any event, Catholics being allowed to disagree on the precise relationship of Scripture and tradition is not broadly different from Protestants disagreeing with each other on things like baptism, Church government, and the Eucharist. But it is different in that we allow difference mainly on the most complicated issues of theology, like this one and predestination,. whereas Protestant theology is relativistic and allows differences on very major issues like baptism  and the Eucharist. Remember, the early Lutherans and Calvinists both executed Anabaptists for believing in adult believer’s baptism. Luther’s successor Melanchthon advocated the death penalty for disbelief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, then later stopped believing in it, himself. Needless to say he wasn’t executed . . .
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There is no self-contradiction in our doing this. It’s simply an acknowledgment that complicated issues need not be defined; that allowable differences can exist and need not be acrimonious. We don’t form new denominations over such honest disagreements, as Protestants habitually do, because we believe there is one Church and ultimately one truth: not many hundreds of versions of each where ecclesiological chaos and doctrinal anarchy and relativism — with massive necessary contradictions and falsehood — rule the day.]
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Summary: Brazilian former Catholic and anti-Catholic Protestant Pedro França Gaião brought up the issue of material sufficiency of Scripture & theories on tradition.

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