Scripture and Tradition | Catholic Answers
Criteria for Demonstrating the Relationship with God . and from the Church's Tradition On account of their divine inspiration, the biblical books. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together . under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory. In the Second Vatican Council's document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum ( Latin: Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and Newman explained it in an essay entitled "Inspiration in its Relation to.
Laird Harris believed that there is room for differing principles for determining the same canon: This is a useful distinction that few would seem to question. Compare White, Scripture Alone, ch. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible.
Zondervan Publishing,Preface. Dogmatic statements on the process should be suspect without adequate proof. Arguments for the shape of the canon have been built upon unexamined theological assumptions and historical inaccuracies.
Crossway Books, ]approximately four out of its fifteen chapters argue for the reliability of the New Testament, yet only three pages — are devoted to the canon question one of which is a chart. Harvest House, which has four pages on biblical inspiration and less than one on the canon- much of which is simply historical description. Lest the reader misunderstand the implication - this much space is unusually large for popular apologetics books.
Many do not discuss or argue the issue at all. What the canon is does not necessarily tell us how to identify it. No material definition of the canon can do justice to explaining and defending its formal development. At best the criterion ends up arguing in a circle. Nicole says it well: Warfield and his fellow Princetonians, Charles and A. Hodge, over a century ago. These criteria focused exclusively upon the question of apostolicity.
For multiple examples of this sort of usage see Allert, High View of Scripture? It was they whom Jesus promised: This is easily countered, first because they may not be lost at all,55 and second because apostolicity may only be a necessary but not sufficient condition for canonicity.
Second, and more importantly, a strict reading of the verses cited by Geisler and Nix cannot account for several New Testament books such as Mark, Luke, James, Jude, and possibly Hebrews, for none of these books were written by those to whom Jesus made these promises.
Early apologists specifically referenced miracles even revivificationsas evidence of apostolicity, Polycarp was said to have been miraculously unharmed by fire, and Papias related a story of revivification as well e. On the other hand, Nicole defines this criterion in precisely these terms: Corinthians and Colossians in Norman L. The practical effect of this subtle distinction is to allow for the inclusion of books such as Mark, Luke, James, Jude and Hebrews which were not actually penned by the apostles, but were, according to tradition, written under apostolic sanction.
Now it is a plain matter of record that this authenticity has been challenged and rejected by many Biblical critics. Hence, we cannot use apostolicity as the means by which we are ultimately assured of the shape of the canon. This criterion will be considered next. It is also the risen Christ who causes His church to accept the canon and to recognize it by means of the witness of the Holy Spirit.
This testimony brought the individual to esteem the Scriptures highly.
Next, when he turned to the pages of Scripture itself, they exerted an influence upon his soul. Finally, the divine testimony convinced him of the extent of the truth of God, at which point he shared in the consensus of the church.
However, there is one crucial difference. For Geisler and Nix the question is strictly historical, how did the ancient church reach its conclusions? One issue raised here concerns the fact that while individuals might receive this inner witness, no such thing is promised in Scripture itself.
But reliance on Church authority for the canon is the very thing the Protestant wishes to avoid. For the evangelical Protestant neither of these alternatives is ultimately satisfying.
One objector to this idea proposes the following test: In the early centuries of Christian history, the many faithful Christians in close communion with the Holy Spirit, and who did not yet have a determined canon for their Bible, did not conclude that the Protestant book canon is correct. Nicole summarizes the issue nicely when he says that the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the individual Christian, is not in fact the way in which the canon was formed.
As individuals we do not receive a large bag of separate Bible passages out of which we should draw, as one draws a lottery number, in order to see which ones are confirmed by the Holy Spirit.
The Westminster Confession of Faith is misinterpreted if it is construed to assert that the canon is the result of an individual perception since in the second paragraph of the same first chapter a list of the canonical books is presented as binding on all believers. In the way in which our Lord and the apostles referred to the OT it is clear that the appeal was to an accredited collection of books, not to individual passages privately perceived as divinely inspired.
Fortunately the Lutheran Church has not followed suit. A final problem is that this criterion seems to be a case of circular reasoning. If the canon was determined by its orthodoxy, this had to result from its agreement with either itself i.
If the former as Geisler and Nix suggest80then the question simply gets pushed back another step—for it requires an already- established canon in order to know which other books form the rule against which orthodoxy can 75 See Christopher A. Appeal to the Old Testament brings up several issues: How was this canon determined?
How are Jewish theologians to be answered who claim that the New Testament does indeed conflict with the Old Testament? Further, this forms a negative test at best that would not prove useful in many cases. If, on the other hand, the rule of faith is found outside the Bible then tradition, once again, must be invoked. As their artificiality indicates, these arguments are a posteriori in character. To hold that the church was led to accept these writings by such criteria, in fact speak here of a criteria canonicitais is to go too far.
It is rather clear that we have to do with more or less successful attempts to cover with arguments what had already been fixed for a long time and for the fixation of which, such reasoning or such criteria had never been employed. One of them involved theological appreciation of the content of a given book, while the other two were based on historical considerations bearing on its authorship and general acceptance among the churches.
If, on the other hand, one views the canon in the sense of a completed list to which nothing can be added, he would tend to see the canon as an authoritative collection.
However, I believe that at this point, to be consistent, one would have to admit that the authority of the collection is imposed by ecclesiastical authority. However, in so doing they tend to overlook the fact that other authority did in fact exist in the ancient church, particularly the authority of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
So for any in the Church to ignore the formative years of the Christian faith is to step into perilous waters. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance Oxford: Clarendon, Ridderbos notes the distinction when he writes, Within the history of Protestant dogma as well, certain utterances have been made that appear to imply ecclesiastical infallibility with respect to the acceptance of the canon.
It has been argued. That consensus of the church, or rather that absolute authority acquired by the writings of the New Testament everywhere and without dispute, is then thought to guarantee the canonicity of these [New Testament] writings. Certainly if the Church can be trusted for determining orthodoxy and heresy in the first five centuries it can be trusted with the Bible itself.
If this were true, we should all be Roman Catholics today! If the Church was not infallibly preserved from error in its early teachings on ecclesiology, iconography, justification, etc. To maintain otherwise would be a textbook case of special pleading. Sola Scriptura Issue 4however, is a serious problem for Roman Catholic claims. That is, before 70 C.
Divine Inspiration of Sacred Scripture
One might, for example, agree to infallibility or supervening providence to the Ecumenical Church of the first thousand years without having to affirm either to any of its direct historical branches of the last thousand years.
This approach provides a ready answer to the question of the canon: Nicole notes several positive features of this view: This approach provides us with a relatively simple answer as to whether the canon remains open or is closed. The likelihood of an almost unanimous acceptance of additional books is indeed minimal. The strength of this criterion increases as years pass by. This criterion accommodates many of the factors that are good in the criteria previously discussed: The Church of Rome appears here not as our authority for the canon but as one of the churches whose position reflects the influence of the Holy Spirit.
He is the authority, not the Church.THEOLOGY 101 -- Divine Inspiration
Following the type of reasoning of the objector, one would have to say that our view of the canon of the OT puts us under the authority of the synagogue. This is manifestly absurd. And we receive equally as canonical Scriptures of the NT all the books that, under the guidance of the same Providence, have been transmitted to us as such by the universal consent of the churches of the Christian world.
Naturally, this means that the contents of the Bible itself must be certain. Often the question of the canon is not even raised, and therefore once it is, the Roman answer can accrue an existential power that is difficult to resist.
These must, of course, include certitude as to the canon issue. Sungenis, Not By Scripture Alone: Our Journey to Catholicism San Fancisico: Ignatius, ; Norman L.
Geisler and Joshua M. Betancourt, Is Rome the True Church? Wheaton, Crossway,ch. Betancourt converted to Roman Catholicism just after the book went to print]. Desmond and Brian S. Rosner, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. A High View of Scripture? A Biblical Defense of Sola Scriptura. Are the New Testament Documents Reliable? The Canon of Scripture.
The Books and the Parchments. Biblical Interpretation and the Church: Text and Context Exeter: Edited by Thomas P. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. Which Books Belong in the Bible? The Westminster Press, Popular Survey of the New Testament.
Is Rome the True Church? A General Introduction to the Bible. Learning Theology with the Church Fathers. Hahn, Scott and Kimberly. Our Journey to Catholicism. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.
For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.
It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.
Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.
Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed.
In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.
It teaches only what has been handed on to it.