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Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism Print E-mail
By Francis J. Beckwith   
Friday, 28 October 2011

October 31 is only three days away. For Protestants, it is Reformation Day, the date in 1517 on which Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to that famous door in Wittenberg, Germany. Since I returned to the Catholic Church in April 2007, each year the commemoration has become a time of reflection about my own journey and the puzzles that led me back to the Church of my youth.

One of those puzzles was the relationship between the Church, Tradition, and the canon of Scripture. As a Protestant, I claimed to reject the normative role that Tradition plays in the development of Christian doctrine. But at times I seemed to rely on it. For example, on the content of the biblical canon – whether the Old Testament includes the deuterocanonical books (or “Apocrypha”), as the Catholic Church holds and Protestantism rejects. I would appeal to the exclusion of these books as canonical by the Jewish Council of Jamnia (A.D. 90-100) as well as doubts about those books raised by St. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate, and a few other Church Fathers.

My reasoning, however, was extra-biblical. For it appealed to an authoritative leadership that has the power to recognize and certify books as canonical that were subsequently recognized as such by certain Fathers embedded in a tradition that, as a Protestant, I thought more authoritative than the tradition that certified what has come to be known as the Catholic canon. This latter tradition, rejected by Protestants, includes St. Augustine as well as the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393), the Third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), the Fourth Council of Carthage (A.D. 419), and the Council of Florence (A.D. 1441).

But if, according to my Protestant self, a Jewish council and a few Church Fathers are the grounds on which I am justified in saying what is the proper scope of the Old Testament canon, then what of New Testament canonicity? So, ironically, given my Protestant understanding of ecclesiology, the sort of authority and tradition that apparently provided me warrant to exclude the deuterocanonical books from Scripture – binding magisterial authority with historical continuity – is missing from the Church during the development of New Testament canonicity.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, maintains that this magisterial authority was in fact present in the early Church and thus gave its leadership the power to recognize and fix the New Testament canon. So, ironically, the Protestant case for a deuterocanonical-absent Old Testament canon depends on Catholic intuitions about a tradition of magisterial authority.


         Belief that the Bible consists only of sixty-six books is not a claim of Scripture

This led to two other tensions. First, in defense of the Protestant Old Testament canon, I argued, as noted above, that although some of the Church’s leading theologians and several regional councils accepted what is known today as the Catholic canon, others disagreed and embraced what is known today as the Protestant canon. It soon became clear to me that this did not help my case, since by employing this argumentative strategy, I conceded the central point of Catholicism: the Church is logically prior to the Scriptures. That is, if the Church, until the Council of Florence’s ecumenical declaration in 1441, can live with a certain degree of ambiguity about the content of the Old Testament canon, that means that sola scriptura was never a fundamental principle of authentic Christianity.

After all, if Scripture alone applies to the Bible as a whole, then we cannot know to which particular collection of books this principle applies until the Bible’s content is settled. Thus, to concede an officially unsettled canon for Christianity’s first fifteen centuries seems to make the Catholic argument that sola scriptura was a sixteenth-century invention and, therefore, not an essential Christian doctrine.

Second, because the list of canonical books is itself not found in Scripture – as one can find the Ten Commandments or the names of Christ’s apostles – any such list, whether Protestant or Catholic, would be an item of extra-biblical theological knowledge. Take, for example, a portion of the revised and expanded Evangelical Theological Society statement of faith suggested (and eventually rejected by the membership) by two ETS members following my return to the Catholic Church. It states that, “this written word of God consists of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments and is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behavior.”

But the belief that the Bible consists only of sixty-six books is not a claim of Scripture, since one cannot find the list in it, but a claim about Scripture as a whole. That is, the whole has a property – i.e., “consisting of sixty-six books,” – that is not found in any of the parts. In other words, if the sixty-six books are the supreme authority on matters of belief, and the number of books is a belief, and one cannot find that belief in any of the books, then the belief that Scripture consists of sixty-six particular books is an extra-biblical belief, an item of theological knowledge that is prima facie non-biblical.

For the Catholic, this is not a problem, since the Bible is the book of the Church, and thus there is an organic unity between the fixing of the canon and the development of doctrine and Christian practice.

Although I am forever indebted to my Evangelical brethren for instilling and nurturing in me a deep love of Scripture, it was that love that eventually led me to the Church that had the authority to distinguish Scripture from other things.


Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He was the fifty-eighth President of the Evangelical Theological Society and is the author of Return to Rome: Confessions of An Evangelical Catholic (Brazos Press, 2009) and one of the four primary contributors to the forthcoming Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Anglicanism (Zondervan, 2012).

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Comments (48)Add Comment
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., October 28, 2011
Thank you, Dr, Beckwith, for adding to the arsenal of plain facts that we have to defend the Faith. Perhaps I'm but a simpleton, but I have allways aksed my dear Protestant Brethren just how they could trust in a set of documents the canonicity of which was basd on the very authority that they denoounced. At the risk of the being ecumenicially incorrect, we must aks such questions. Also we must ask people to expalin how, since the Dogma of the Tinity is not explicilty pronounced in Scripture, can we hold it as essntial to Christisn belief. May In speak seriouolsy? Two generations ago this discussion would not have been necessary. Forget public office! Let's get the Church to tell every one what the Church teaches in a binding way. Christ hear us! Christ graciously hear us!
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written by J Ginn, October 28, 2011
Thanks for laying that out so clearly. Maybe someone will listen. I know I can explain in conversation the illogic of the protestant position even more succintly, and still get blank stares and no response. Maybe your scholarly article will have more success.
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written by John Shelton, October 28, 2011
Dr. Beckwith, Why did you choose the Catholic Church over Eastern Orthodox? You state your choice of the Catholic faith as if it was the only option, or as if you'd never considered the Eastern Christians. If you had come to the same convictions in Greece, would you have been more likely to have chosen Orthodoxy? Similarly, I could make an argument against the Catholic Church concerning doctrine's which appear to contradict the Church Fathers a la Abelard's "Sic et Non". Or I could point out the banning of Pelagianism at the council of Carthage, the banning of Semi-Pelagianism at the Council of Orange, and finally the Banning of Augustinianism at the Council of Trent. Your Church has banned all three options and has perhaps adopted some form of semi-Pelagianism (called semi-Augustinianism instead), which adopts essentially the teachings of John Cassian (semi-Pelagian, which was condemned at Orange).

But surely the Church did not err in identifying the Canon.

But your Protestant friends seem to do quite well with the 66 books. We have Jesus attesting all of the Old Testament as it was later recognized by the Jewish council you have mentioned, while our Lord does not designate the apocrypha (which was circulated and could have been just as easily admitted by Jesus). Rather He mentions the Law of Moses (Torah) and Prophets (Nevi'im) and even the Songs (Ketuv'im).

To quote Roger Nicole, "The use of the terms “law” (John 10:34; 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21), or “prophets” (Matthew 13:35), where reference is made to passages belonging, strictly speaking, to other parts of the Hebrew Canon, indicates that the New Testament writers viewed the whole Old Testament Scripture as having legal authority and prophetic character.

He also writes "It is to be noted that the whole New Testament contains not even one explicit citation of any of the Old Testament Apocrypha which are considered as canonical by the Roman Catholic Church. This omission can scarcely be viewed as accidental."

Please check out his entire article on the New Testament use of the Old at http://www.bible-researcher.com/nicole.html

I think you Catholics have a problem in that you advance the canonicity of the Apocrypha, to whom our Lord Jesus never appealed to as authoritative (nor the Apostles, and there disciples who wrote the New Testament).

This argument that the Bible needs a divine table of contents in order for us to see it as normative is a fallacy. The authority of the Apostles stands upon the canonicity of the New Testament. Furthermore, I don't think it gives clarity or power to the Catholic position when you write "I conceded the central point of Catholicism: the Church is logically prior to the Scriptures." Why? Because God utilized His Apostles (who were of the Church, were not the Church)to give the Scriptures to the Church. Just because the Church is the instrument which receives and recognizes them in history does not make them the arbiter or guarantee of their authority.

One last point. Protestant's have largely said that they stand upon Scripture alone, but historic Protestantism does not entirely divorce itself from history and tradition (nor can it). There is no need to throw away the testimony of the saints who came before us in order to adopt Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide.

I understand my contribution may not sway any minds, I simply offer it as an apologetic so that any Catholics or questioning Protestants which read this will know that there is a defensible position on the Protestant side.

Blessings in Christ,
John Shelton

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written by Crowhill, October 28, 2011
It's disappointing to see the same tired old arguments trotted out again and again, even though (if you studied this stuff in any detail) you would have to know better that to make these baldly partisan and misleading statements.
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written by Manfred, October 28, 2011
A very scholarly approach, Prof. Beckwith. Here is another, more simple approach. The 95 theses were published 494 years ago or 25,688 weeks ago. There are over 30,000 "Christian" sects. That means that more than one sect is "created" every week. As they differ in teachings, they can't all be true. St. Anselm said it best: "Fides Quaerens Intellectum" Faith Seeking Understanding. The Faith must precede all else. It can't be discovered or bought. It is a gift from God. That is why so many "Catholics" falter-they lose the Faith. They are among the first three groups in the Parable of the Sower. They may know from front to back the teachings of Catholicism. They no longer believe it. We either grow in true Catholic spirituality (prayer and penance) or we lose it.
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written by Peter Sean Bradley, October 28, 2011
The idea that the Catholic Church was able to live with a certain amount of ambiguity about the canon of scripture is interesting. For example, when I read St. Augustine, I see him citing Wisdom as he cites any other scriptural text, yet we know that at the time of the Reformation, Cajetan didn't think that Wisdom and the other deuterocanonical texts were scriptural. Didn't he read Augustine? What did he make of Augustine's use of Wisdom?

I suspect that having tradition as the normative way of understanding the faith - filling in blank, smoothing out rough spots - permitted theologicans to throw a broad blanket over all scriptural texts such that they could recognize some texts as in some ways more authoritative than others. Without tradition telling us how much weight should be given to which parts of which text, the approach to scripture had to be simplified to a binary, "it is authoritative or it is not authoritative" rule.

That raises the issue for me, when did a literal inerrancy become normative for Christianity? Again, reading Book 12 of St. Augustine's On the Trinity, I can see Augustine doing all kinds of things that would cause us to call foul on the interpretation of the texts, going so far as to deny the literal meaning of the text in favor of a symbolic meaning.
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written by Dave, October 28, 2011
Not only that, which is more likely to be the true number of books in the Bible....66 or 73?

Mostly kidding, but not completely.

Great article, Francis!
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., October 28, 2011
Dear Corwhill, Would be so kind as to cite an example of at least one "misleading statement" made by Dr. Beckwith? And no one needs to throw out any of these cogent argements; they fairly gallop on their own!
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written by Regina Weiner, October 28, 2011
My logic as a college student was somewhat more to the point. After listening to some fellow students do a Bible study, I asked with equal sincerity: You say we should believe this because it is in the Bible. Why should we believe the Bible? The students were unable to give a cogent reason, because using the Bible to prove the Bible inerrant is a bit like a siding salesman saying "Trust me." when you ask for references.
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., October 28, 2011
Deat boaz, what we call the New Testament could not, even reckoned on purely human terms, be taken as any kind of unified testatment at all. On purely human grounds it is so shot full of inconsistencies that no one relying on human reason could imagine it as anything more than a colection of hopelessly conflicting accounts hihlgy improbable events. The authority of the Chruch, on the other hand, was well establihsed before the canon of the NT was declarred. Therefore the Church cannot be based on Scripture. The existence of the chruch preceeds the very existence of a New Testament. The four Gospels themselves were wrtiien after Chistianity had been preached thoughout the Roman Empire. I'm sure that you know that the first written document of the NT is St. Pual's letter to the Thessalonians. By waht authority did 4th Century Christinas collect the writings of Paul and Peter and the evanagleists and decide to put them together in one literary entitiy to accompany the OT? It was none other than the authoirity of the Church, of course. And where did Luther, Calvin, Zwingli et alii get the NT's which they claimed that the Catholic Church was absuing or lying about? How can anyone deny that the NT was kept alive by the thousands of Catghlic monks who made copies of all of the Scriptures. So, not only was the authority of the Church founded by Our Savior on the Rock of Peter necessary for the compilation of the NT, it was also the tireless efforts of the Catholic Church that kept the NT in existence. Are we to imagine that up until the time of Luther the Catholic and Orthodox Churces were under the control of Satan except in the matter of keeping alive the NT until the Prophet Martin could be born to correct the lies that the Whore of Babylon had been telling for centuries about the very books that the wench in question gave birth to?
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written by Crowhill, October 28, 2011
>Dear Corwhill, Would be so kind as to cite an example of at
>least one "misleading statement" made by Dr. Beckwith?

I will give you two.

First, he starts off with his personal journey / views of the canon as a Protestant. Fine. His personal experience was whatever it was. Who can argue with that?

But then he transitions to speaking of "the" Protestant position on the canon as if his personal experience was an example of "the" Protestant position. Which it clearly was not.

Second, many of the things he says about "the" Protestant argument re: the canon don't apply to Lutherans -- who are a pretty important part of "Protestants." Just to name a few things, Lutherans do not have an official canon of Scripture, do not necessarily reject the deuterocanonical books, and affirm that church is prior to Scripture.

In short, the article glosses over important distinctions and is misleading. Anyone who has studied the issue of the canon in any depth would know these things.
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written by michaeladdison, October 28, 2011
@boaz: It couldn't be said any better.
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written by DJReidy, October 28, 2011
With all due respect, Protestants do not face the fact that the canon of Sacred Scripture contradicts their doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The question that an honest person must answer is this: How did God reveal to us the canon of Sacred Scripture?

If a person cannot answer by saying, "through Scripture," then he has no basis to believe in a 66 book Bible other than through a manmade oral tradition, which directly contradicts the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, if a person does answer by saying that God revealed the canon "through Scripture," he has the burden of demonstrating that fact by citing Scripture.

The Protestant responders to this article seem incapable of seeing the fallacy of their argumentation. For instance, one person stated above, "I think you Catholics have a problem in that you advance the canonicity of the Apocrypha, to whom our Lord Jesus never appealed to as authoritative nor the Apostles, and there (sic) disciples who wrote the New Testament)."

How in the world does that person know that Our Lord never appealed to the Deuterocanonical books as authoritative? Not everything said by Christ has been recorded. That's number one.

Number two, in order to make judgments as to what Our Lord did say, a person first has to assume that what he is reading is actually Scripture. But since he has to first determine the canon of Sacred Scripture to find that out, he has to know what the canon is. And how can the person know that?

The same person quoted above, also made the following statement: "To quote Roger Nicole, 'The use of the terms 'law' (John 10:34; 15:25; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21), or 'prophets' (Matthew 13:35), where reference is made to passages belonging, strictly speaking, to other parts of the Hebrew Canon, indicates that the New Testament writers viewed the whole Old Testament Scripture as having legal authority and prophetic character."

The person who wrote that is apparently incapable of seeing how ludicrous and illogical his method is. He cites the New Testament as if it were an unquestionable fact without even realizing that the contents of the New Testament, along with the contents of the Old, are the very thing in contention.

Where does the Protestant get the idea that, for instance, the Letter to Philemon is inspired? Or the Book of Esther?

If he gets that idea outside the Bible, then Sola Scriptura is false, because belief in Sola Scriptura requires a person to reject manmade oral traditions, and the Protestant idea of a 66 book Bible is a manmade oral tradition. It is found nowhere in the Bible.

And, yes, belief in a 66 book Bible DOES require an inspired table of contents if Sola Scriptura is true. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura requires every belief to be tested by Scripture alone. That would include the belief that the Bible is comprised of 66 books.

So, the challenge for the Protestant is: Show us where the Bible teaches that it is comprised of 66 books, BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT, you must first prove that what you are quoting from is inspired. And how would you do that?
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written by leo weishaar, October 28, 2011
I have chosen just one point for discussion. there are various points made by the contributors to this discussion on which i could comment. I choose the one propsed by Mr. Shelton.
Regarding Mr. Shelton's comment concerning our Lord and His never having appealed to the Apocrypha as authoritative.
we remember that whenever our Lord quoted from the Christian Old Testament He did so from the Greek version and not the Hebrew version. The Apocrypha was part of the Greek version.






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written by Anil Wang, October 28, 2011
John Shelton, I can provide a simple argument. John Henry Newman came up with this as well.

Compare the Oriental Orthodox (and Donatist and Novatianist) schism with the Eastern Orthodox schism 500 years later. Imagine you're a Christian trying to decide who is right in both cases. In both cases, the two Orthodoxies claim that the rest of the Church fell into heresy and they were keeping the true faith. The other side makes exactly the same claim. The issues involved are highly technical and beyond the reach of most lay people and even most priests. So who do you side with and why?

The Church Fathers gave a simple solution, side with the Church in communion with the Pope whenever there is a schism. So when the Oriental Orthodox, Donatists and Novatianists broke off, you'd side with the Catholic/Orthodox Church and when the Catholic and Orthodox Churches broke communion, you'd side with the Catholic Church.

I've yet to come up with a single and consistent objective criteria that would cause me to side with the Eastern Orthodox but not the Oriental Orthodox. If I side with the Eastern Orthodox, I have to ultimately side with the Oriental Orthodox. You might say that "keeping with tradition" is the criteria but that doesn't work since both sides made that claim, and besides, the Oriental Orthodox affirm the Second Council of Ephesus as being Ecumenical while the Eastern Orthodox changed their mind on it. Catholics at least have an escape hatch, namely it was never approved by the Pope.
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written by John Bugay, October 29, 2011
Dr. Beckwith, I wish to agree with the commenter John Shelton here. Errors abound in your presentation.

The “council of Jamnia” was not when the Old Testament canon was fixed. Jamnia was not even a council. It was a group of Rabbinical scholars.

Jesus recognized “a deuterocanonical-absent Old Testament canon”. The Canon of the Old Testament was widely known and attested in the first century. Jesus in Luke 24:44 named “the law, the prophets and the writings”. This was Jesus citing a fixed canon of the Old Testament. These were precisely the 39 books of the Old Testament that we have today. And Josephus wrote in Contra Apionem of a fixed canon in his own day, which was not disputed. What you have here is a Canon of the Old Testament that was recognized in precisely the same way that Protestants say the New Testament was recognized.

“The Church” was not “logically prior to the Scriptures.” The Old Testament Scriptures were already widely attested.

Nor is that the case with the New Testament. The “church” “leadership” in the early centuries held in their hands a body of writings that came from the Apostles, and the only thing they could do was to recognize them as “authoritative”. Any questions about documents had more to do with “whether the Apostles wrote or authorized this or that document” rather than anything to do with saying “this is a fixed canon”. There is very good evidence that Paul’s letters were collected and distributed during his own lifetime. Peter recognized the collected letters of Paul as “Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:14-16).

The Jews recognized a prophet – or not – and the New Testament Christians, beginning with Jesus (Luke 24:44) recognized the Old Testament, and Peter (2 Peter 3:14-16) knew of “all of [Paul’s] letters” and recognized them as Scriptures. Nobody sat down and said, “we recognize a canon of 39 books”. They had writings that were recognized as authoritative from a prophet (OT) and Apostles (NT), and when they added them all up, they came up with the numbers 39 and 27. It was the same thing with the New Testament. So “66-ness” is not a “property” of the Scriptures, it is an artifact.
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., October 29, 2011
Well, my day is nearly ruined. Once again I was typing so fast that what I intended to play on words that I hoped we could all enjoy. To the argument that Dr. B. had "trotted out arguments..." I intneded to reply that there was no need to trot them out since "they failry gallop on their own." Alas instead of "trot" I typed someeting else, thereby nullifying what I thought was a clever resposte. How can I ever recover. Now, let me so respond to the objection that there is no single Luterhan intgerpretatio of many of doctrines. Well, istn' that precisely the point. He cahnged beleiving in transubstantion to not believeing in ti. He wrote that a man could commit adultery with the family maid. He was one of the most viciously anti-Semitic figures in the history of Western Civilization. At one time he wanted to exlcude the Epistle of St. James. Talk about flexability! Is it any wonder that most Protestatn denomination have branches that hold that belief in the Virgin Birth or Trinity are optional and pruodly proclalim thier embrace of behaviore condemned by both the OT and NT. Do I exaggerate? Well, just how far is it from "Every man his own priest" to "every man his own God"? Let me let you all ina a little secret: this rehabilitation of the legacy of Luther is not being advacned by those who believe in any of Luther's changing understanding of Christianity. No, it being caried out by people who play a rather school boyish prank here: Only one Gospel, that of St. John, mentions anything about Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary; the other three clearly and unambguously state that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross--not Jesus. Sometimes when I point this out to a Protestant I am told that Our Saviour fell under the weight of the cross and then needed help, so Simon coming in from teh fields was impressed into service. Scripture, of course, says nothing of the kind. Now when I point out this glaring contradcition to my Proestatns freids that this is the tradtional (but not doctrinal) teaching of the Catholic Chruch and I thnak themfor ratifying Catholic tradition.
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written by Morgan, October 29, 2011
boaz wrote:

"The church did not set the canon. That is, the canon does not depend on the recognition giv"

Then who or what did? And by what authority?



"The accuracy of the canon in stating Christ's teachings, attested throughout history, is what makes it authoritative."

Who judges whether or not the canon is accurate? And by what authority?


"But the Catholic church turns it on its head: the canon is authoritative because the CHURCH made it authoritative. According to Rome, the evidence is irrelevant; what matters is that the church made the decision."

No, what matters is that the Church has the Christ-given authority to make that kind of decision.




"You simply can't place the church ahead of Scripture."

Of course you can. Indeed, you must.




" It's because of Scripture's reliability that the church recognizes it, not because of authority."

Again, who judges the reliability. And by what authority?


Don't you see. This whole question revolves around authority. Christ did not say, "Thou are Luther and on this rock I will build my church." He gave that authority to Peter and his successors, that is, to what soon thereafter came to be known as the Catholic Church.

Without the judgment of the Church that the Bible is the word of God, we are left (as Protestants are) with nothing more than opinions about what belongs in the canon and what does not.

Dominus vobiscum.

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written by Manfred, October 29, 2011
Could the Church exist without Scripture? Of course. Christ never wrote anything. What the Church has that Protestantism does not have is Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium, the guarantee that Christ would never abandon His Bride. I tell my Protestant friends when they are foolish enough to introduce the subject of "religion", circle the date 1517. Your "ecclesial community" (see Dominus Jesus) did not exist before that point. And all the Reform sects began after that. Does it really make any sense that Christ died in 30 A.D. and "Christianity" did not begin until 1517? There are now 30,000 of these MAN-MADE sects today.
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written by Woody, October 29, 2011
Thank you, Dr. Beckworth, for this great discussion. I find the comments very enlightening. Keep going, gentlemen.
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written by Taylor Hughes, October 29, 2011
Actually, a "Protestant", historically, is one who protests the Mass. Around the year 1529, in the heat of Luther's emotional ranting, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V issued an edict for the German nobility and clergymen to gather at the Diet in Speyer. He wanted to get them to respond to Luther and his interactions with Rome and for them to stop making religious changes in the various regions of Germany (which was happening now as a result of Luther's rebellion). What was happening now since the Diet of Worms in 1521 is that many princes were leaving the Church and embracing Lutheranism. When they did that, they would then outlaw the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass within their home regions. The Church was under persecution in various parts of Northern Germany now. Charles V specifically passed an edict that the Mass should be allowed to be celebrated throughout Germany – that no one can ban this in any of the regions of Germany at the time.

Several representatives (14 nobility reps of 14 cities)who had left the Church were upset by Charles V’s decree that the Holy Mass could not be banned and they issued a written FORMAL PROTEST of his decree. THIS IS WHERE THE NAME PROTESTANT COMES FROM. So the name Protestant is set for those noblemen who protest Charles V’s edict to allow the Holy Mass throughout Germany. In essence, one who is a Protestant is one who protests the celebration of the Mass.

[per lecture of Professor Steve Weidenkopf, Graduate School of Christendom College, referencing Warren Carroll's "The Cleaving of Christendom" (Front Royal, Virginia: Christendom Press, 2000) pages 96-97]
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written by Liam Murphy, October 29, 2011
Subscribe.
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written by Travis, October 29, 2011
In reply to dj

If a person cannot answer by saying, "through Scripture," then he has no basis to believe in a 66 book Bible other than through a man made oral tradition, which directly contradicts the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, if a person does answer by saying that God revealed the canon "through Scripture," he has the burden of demonstrating that fact by citing Scripture.
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First The thing is, The apostles just did not speak about Jesus, they written of Him.

In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter establishes the letters of Paul as graphē, “Scripture.” This confirms that Paul’s epistles (most of them) were circulating (probably as a set) before the death of Peter around A.D. 64-66. In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul establishes the book of Luke (10:7) also as graphē, “Scripture.” Note that here both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7 are preceded by the phrase, legei gar hē graphē, “For Scripture says.” Further, in reference to the Apostle Peter, Jude remembers what “was spoken beforehand by the apostles” (v. 17). Then, in verse 18, Jude quotes from Peter (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3). The contextual correspondence between 2 Peter 2:1ff. and Jude 6ff. unquestionably substantiates that either Jude quoted from Peter or the converse showing that these books were also circulated, collected, and read by Christians in the first century.

As the NT record shows, immediately after the NT letters were written, they were collected (cf. Rev. 1:11), circulated (cf. Col. 4:16;[2] 2 Pet. 3:15-16), and read (cf. 1 Thess. 5:27; Rev. 1:3) in the original churches. Hence, the first century church enjoyed and recognized the apostolic teachings contained in the letters of the original apostles. They indeed had a functioning canon that was sufficient for the proclamation of truth.

If one really believe in the bible, then they will have to accept that The first century Christians had a working Cannon and had already reconcile what is scripture before The 3-4 forth century.

How in the world does that person know that Our Lord never appealed to the Deuterocanonical books as authoritative? Not everything said by Christ has been recorded. That's number one.
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This is john 21:25 and is referring to miracles and jesus or the apostles have no problem, repeating quoting The Hebrew cannon, if he wanted us to think anything else should be consider scripture, He would of quoting from it and because Jesus would have started like this, It is written or it his been said, The hebrew cannon quotes book of Enoch but it no where quoting in some Authority as Jesus spoke of the Hebrew cannon.
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Number two, in order to make judgments as to what Our Lord did say, a person first has to assume that what he is reading is actually Scripture. But since he has to first determine the canon of Sacred Scripture to find that out, he has to know what the canon is. And how can the person know that?
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How can we know? Well The new testament of what is to be consider scripture in the new testament was already establish in The life times of the apostles, The original christians that know paul peter etc... had there letters and were reading and coping them, The fact that we have people quoting scripture from 70ad and up, the teaching of the 12 is dated 50-90 ad, The apostles fathers second half the first century through mid second and more.

here does the Protestant get the idea that, for instance, the Letter to Philemon is inspired? Or the Book of Esther?

If he gets that idea outside the Bible, then Sola Scriptura is false, because belief in Sola Scriptura requires a person to reject manmade oral traditions, and the Protestant idea of a 66 book Bible is a manmade oral tradition. It is found nowhere in the Bible.

And, yes, belief in a 66 book Bible DOES require an inspired table of contents if Sola Scriptura is true. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura requires every belief to be tested by Scripture alone. That would include the belief that the Bible is comprised of 66 books.

So, the challenge for the Protestant is: Show us where the Bible teaches that it is comprised of 66 books, BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT, you must first prove that what you are quoting from is inspired. And how would you do that?
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solo scripture is not only scripture and no tradition it means that everything that is to subjected to scripture, and if it can be support either by concept or is listed in the scripture in plain site, then it is ok.

how we know The new testament is inspire? again we have people quoting scripture and the same people who live and knew The apostles, The fact that we have outside sources quoting The scriptures from the second half of the century- mid second etc... we can trace back The new testament people reading is not only hearing back to the time of the apostles, there are about 20-30 thousand manuscripts of the NT, with 5286 in greek and there are about 400,000 different rendering it in the scripts that is about 1 % are minor spelling errors but still do not change the meaning of the text, like for an example I heard from a New testament textual scholar, one will read For God so love The world, a other God so love the world etc...

Knowing christians been quoting and already consider what is scrpture, during the life time of the apostles and knowing The amazing fact about 20-30 thousand ancient scripts and no other ancient have anywhere much support like the NT and they do not go against each other, in changing The very meanings of our bible today is amazing and only can be done by God.

I think The challenge has been answer very much.

God bless

This is why we have
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written by Travis, October 29, 2011
Also, The 30,000 sects is really a dead horse, Most do not disagree On The essentials but things that do not rely on a person salvation, like The rapture is it real or etc... or understanding the end times.
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written by Jim Thunder, October 30, 2011
I would like to know: (1) the degree to which the 30,000 Christian denominations (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic) agree or disagree on the composition of Scripture, (2) whether or not "early Christian writings" such as the letters of Ignatius of Antioch and the "gnostic Gospels" like that of Thomas, are included by Christian denominations or not, and why, (3) whether their determinations have been debated, including in the past generation; (4) why the writings of such people as Wesley or Calvin or Luther or Moody or Ignatius of Loygola should be included or not.
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written by DJReidy, October 30, 2011
Travis, you didn't answer the question. How did God reveal the canon to us? Did He do this through Scripture?

It is ludicrous to quote from the New Testament to try to prove which books belong in the Old when one is not able to demonstrate how one knows what the New Testament is comprised of. By what authority do you state that the New Testament contains 27 books? And what part of the Bible teaches such a thing?

The question is not whether the apostles had a canon; the question is: Where did their canon come from? The Bible?

You state that solo (sic) scriptura is not scripture alone.

Really? Now you're getting into an even more difficult dilemma for yourself, as a person in search of the truth is not interested in your private interpretation of what sola scriptura entails; he is interested only in God's opinion of what sola scriptura is. And where are we going to find God's opinion of sola scriptura and what it entails?

Is infant baptism consistent with sola scriptura? Millions of Protestants say yes; millions of other Protestants say no. So, that tells us that millions of people who say they believe in sola scriptura don't share the same definition of that doctrine with millions of others.

Please answer the question: How did God reveal to us the canon of Sacred Scripture? And what source do we look to, to test that canon?
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written by Francis J. Beckwith, October 30, 2011
It is always an honor to have one’s work be the focus so much diverse and interesting opinions.

But given the nature of the topic, there is a tendency in all of us to perhaps not read as carefully as we should. Thus, for example, when I say the Church is logically prior to the Scriptures, some commentators did not seem to take notice that I did not say “chronologically prior.” The reason for this is, of course, intentional: I do not believe, and no one who thinks seriously on this matter really believes, that you had a whole Bible or no Bible (66 or 73) chronologically prior to the Church’s existence. After all, Christ himself quoted from the OT. So, when I say “logically prior” I mean that the Church’s existence is a logically necessary (and chronologically simultaneous) condition for the fixing of the entirety of the biblical canon. It consummation occurred at the end of an historical process that was organic and not mechanistic.

[Continue reading at my blog here: http://www.patheos.com/communi...continued/ ]
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written by Travis, October 30, 2011
It is ludicrous to quote from the New Testament to try to prove which books belong in the Old when one is not able to demonstrate how one knows what the New Testament is comprised of. By what authority do you state that the New Testament contains 27 books? And what part of the Bible teaches such a thing?

-------------------

Did you read?

In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter establishes the letters of Paul as graphē, “Scripture.” This confirms that Paul’s epistles (most of them) were circulating (probably as a set) before the death of Peter around A.D. 64-66. In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul establishes the book of Luke (10:7) also as graphē, “Scripture.” Note that here both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7 are preceded by the phrase, legei gar hē graphē, “For Scripture says.” Further, in reference to the Apostle Peter, Jude remembers what “was spoken beforehand by the apostles” (v. 17). Then, in verse 18, Jude quotes from Peter (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3). The contextual correspondence between 2 Peter 2:1ff. and Jude 6ff. unquestionably substantiates that either Jude quoted from Peter or the converse showing that these books were also circulated, collected, and read by Christians in the first century.



As the NT record shows, immediately after the NT letters were written, they were collected (cf. Rev. 1:11), circulated (cf. Col. 4:16;[2] 2 Pet. 3:15-16), and read (cf. 1 Thess. 5:27; Rev. 1:3) in the original churches. Hence, the first century church enjoyed and recognized the apostolic teachings contained in the letters of the original apostles. They indeed had a functioning canon that was sufficient for the proclamation of truth.

You want evidence for every book that the first century view as scripture God breath?

Why would people accept some writings of the apostles and not All? it should not take a quote from quote from every Book, this is more like begging The Question and out side sources only support the 27 books also understand the bible was written from over 40 different authors and from a period of 1600 years and from different parts of the world and not one author in the OT knowing each other and yet all there writings only support each other, if that not God breath then what is?


The question is not whether the apostles had a canon; the question is: Where did their canon come from? The Bible?
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Again They Had The very letters of the apostles to read and to learn from and defend from 70ad and up, Unless you want to deny the original documents were not there in that time line and the very same verses we read today been quoting all The way back to the first century.

The reason we have The Nt today and because of the very careful time line of coping, making the NT available fro all time and the amazing accury from the 20,000-30,000 manuscripts that do not change any meanings of the bible at all but little spelling differences.


Really? Now you're getting into an even more difficult dilemma for yourself, as a person in search of the truth is not interested in your private interpretation of what sola scriptura entails; he is interested only in God's opinion of what sola scriptura is. And where are we going to find God's opinion of sola scriptura and what it entails?

my view of solo scripture is not Private in any way

from wiki

Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture. However, sola scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today (see Five solas).
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Is infant baptism consistent with sola scriptura? Millions of Protestants say yes; millions of other Protestants say no. So, that tells us that millions of people who say they believe in sola scriptura don't share the same definition of that doctrine with millions of others.
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from a site

The Protestant view differs from the Catholic view. To most Protestants, infant baptism is not seen as a matter of salvation. Generally, Protestants believe in salvation by faith only and would not accept baptism as necessary for salvation. Yet many of them will baptize their babies. Instead of baptizing the baby for the remission of sins, as the Catholics do, Protestant's baptize babies as a promise that the parents will raise the child in a godly home and bring the child to church services. Infant baptism is viewed as a sign or a pledge made by the parents to the child.

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Please answer the question: How did God reveal to us the canon of Sacred Scripture? And what source do we look to, to test that canon?
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continue
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written by Travis, October 30, 2011

This is from a site, which I do not if i could put on, terms of usage seems to not cover that but.....

Canon Criteria



Since the NT church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20) the chief test or norm of canonicity was “apostolicity.” That is, each book of the NT has either apostolic authorship or apostolic teaching. Canonization starts with the identification of what was theopneustos, “God breathed out” (2 Tim. 3:16).



First, there were several reasons as to why the early church progressively collected and codified (i.e., canonized) the NT books: 1) Books were prophetic, 2) Demands of the early church: Because they contained the words and actions of Jesus Christ and the apostolic teachings, these books provided theological and ethical instructions, edification, and encouragement for the church “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). Thus, it was necessary to have a full collection of the NT books that could provide the authoritative norm for faith and practice, 3) Heretical challenges: When heresies began to surface, the church quickly and sharply refuted them by way of ecclesiastical (i.e., church) councils and definitive creeds. When the writings of apostles were purposely misrepresented and/or forged (e.g., the Gospel of Thomas, Judas, etc.), the church found it necessary to establish what belonged in the canon, 4) Missionary purposes: Because of the rapid spread of Christianity throughout other countries, there was a need to translate the Bible into other languages, and 5) Persecution: In times of persecution, it was important for church officials to preserve authoritative (canonical) books which might be handed over to the police and be destroyed.



Determining Canon Criteria



It is incorrect to assert that the church created the canon, for the church did not create the canon, but rather she discovered what was already recognized. As seen, immediately after NT books were written, they were collected, circulated, quoted, and read in the original churches. It was this process of canonization that shaped the post-apostolic church’s idea of canonization. The basis of canonicity, then, was inspiration: “God breathed out.” The NT authors wrote as God the Holy Spirit moved them. Hence, the instrument of canonicity in which God employed was the apostles—or those with apostolic authority: The absolute canonical test, then, was apostolicity. The central principles utilized by the church to determine canonicity were as follows:



1. APOSTOLICITY: Since the NT church was (aorist participle). “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20), the indispensable test for NT canonicity was apostolicity. Thus, every NT book was written by a “foundational” apostle (or one with apostolic authority). Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (c. A.D. 107) says: “I do not give you orders like Peter and Paul. They were apostles: I am [not]” (Rom. 4:3).

2. ANTIQUITY: Simply, if a writing was the work of an apostle (or an authoritative associate), it had to belong to the apostolic age. Writings after this could not be apostolic, and hence canonical. For example, even though the highly regarded Shepherd of Hermas (c. A.D. 120) was found in the Muratorian Fragment and some early codices, its late date of composition, precluded it from canonical status. Furthermore, most of the pseudepigrapha (i.e., “false writings”) were rejected for that reason.

3. ORTHODOXY: Genuine apostolic writings would be doctrinally consistent (i.e., orthodox) with the apostolic faith (regula fidei). For example, the so-called Gospel of Peter and Thomas are filled with silly stories and Gnostic teachings, which the apostles (and the early church) sharply refuted (e.g., Col., and 1 and 2 John were written specifically against the Gnostic heresy).

4. CATHOLICITY: The universal church collectively recognized genuine apostolic writings. If a book had only local recognition, it was not likely to be accepted as canonical. Naturally, the NT books that were first collected, circulated, quoted, and read by the original churches became universally recognized.

5. TRADITIONAL USE: Similar to the principle of Catholicity, books that were collected, circulated, quoted, and read by the original churches were, of course, well known among the churches. This criterion examines the church’s habitual (i.e., traditional) use of writings. It inquires as to what NT books were accepted as apostolic. For example, prior to Nicea (A.D. 325), the NT quotations from early church Fathers were so abundant that almost the entire NT could be restructured, based on these writings. The books of the NT were traditionally treated as Scripture. If a church leader in the third or fourth century submitted a book claiming its apostolicity and it was previously unknown, he would have great difficulty in gaining acceptance for it.

6. INSPIRATION: The church believed that only books that were theopneustos, “God breathed out,” were canonical. Thus, inspiration was the means by which the revelation of God was brought to the written record. The vocabulary belonged to the NT authors, but the message was God’s. “Paul wrote,” says Clement of Rome (c. A.D. 90), “with true inspiration” (Corinthians, 47.3). Inspiration, therefore, was a criterion of verification as to what books were apostolic and hence, canonical.
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written by Travis, October 30, 2011
Please answer the question: How did God reveal to us the canon of Sacred Scripture? And what source do we look to, to test that canon?

not sure my other post will be posted, do not know if the moderate will want to read all what I said about the coming of Nt cannon but a very short one is.

The apostles view each others writings as scripture and people were already collecting the letters in the lifetime of the apostles and reading from them and giving defense to there faith etc.. and paul giving praise to the bereans for study there letters and comparing them to the OT and seeing what they say is true and how The early church tested the NT, by the OT.

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written by David Barrow, October 31, 2011
The first question each of us individually must ask ourselves is, "Is the Bible alone sufficient or insufficient to make us wise for salvation?"
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written by Jennifer Olson, October 31, 2011
One thing I have not seen here discussed is the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself never wrote down anything or simply compiled a book for us to follow. Instead He taught through oral Tradition. I find this significant. Now I know some will say it was due to the illiteracy of the people at the time. And that may be a coincidental reason. But I don't believe it is the primary reason. I believe our Lord loved us so much and thus desired for our sake that we Love Him in return and be in relationship with Him that He refused to leave us with just a book of laws and nice platitudes to follow. It seems what He desired was an intimate relationship with us and through us. Christ was the Word of God made incarnate so as to become one with us, and He wished for that Word to be written on our hearts. He desired to make us a living tabernacle, which is why the Church could not come from the bible. The Bible had to come from the Church. And the Apostles, as ministers of the Word, passed on Christ to us through not only the Gospel, but through their very selves by bearing all things as Christ did, teaching us to do the same. God is a communion of persons, thus Christ can only truly be understood through our communion with Him and each other. He cannot be known through a book alone (sola scriptura) but only through a visible Church. This requires that He be intimately one with His Church. And since there is only one Christ, there can only be one Church. The same Church as the visible body of Christ that has been bringing and being Christ to the world ever since. And only She has been given the authority to speak for Christ, like a wife for her husband, to determine what is canon and what is not.
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written by Paul Owen, October 31, 2011
Thanks Frank, for this timely reminder that the Church precedes the Bible, and the Bible is authoritative precisely as the written record of the Church's witness to God's revelatory grace. While (being Anglican) I do not accept the authority of Trent as an ecumenical council, and hence view the precise contents of the canon as still an open question within Catholic Christendom, I think that the general trend of your thinking is on the mark. Evangelicals simply do not tend to factor in the role of the Church sufficiently in their consideration of the nature, role and properties of Scripture.
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written by Travis, October 31, 2011
Jannifier Jesus used The Old testament as his main authority, I suggest you to read Jesus words, it is written or it has been said etc... it all refers back to the OT.

The thing is the RCC did not give us the bible, history disprove that very well, The NT was already recognized as God breath from the fact as other apostles quoting each other in there letters, The fact that the The early first century church, from the very lifetime of the apostles been quoting scripture before any group knowed us the RCC.

For someone to come 300 years later and make The claim we made your bible, when the bible been quoting and refer to for defense from the very first century and up, is not right.

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written by Vincentius, October 31, 2011
"I think you Catholics have a problem in that you advance the canonicity of the Apocrypha, to whom our Lord Jesus never appealed to as authoritative (nor the Apostles, and there (sic) disciples who wrote the New Testament)."

This is an ipse dixit of John Shelton who provides no citations except to simply dismiss the whole concept of the Apocrypha, as non-canonical.

He's probably never heard of the Council of Jamnia (a Jewish Council, not a Christian Council), which promoted the Jewish Canon, and thus he should read up on it and be better acquainted with the facts of what this Council was about and for what reason it was convened, so that then he will know why the Septuagint has been rejected by the heretics (and Protestants).

In the same logic that gives "credence" to the Protestant rejection of the Seven Books, we know that Luther wanted to remove the Epistle of James, Esther, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation. Calvin and Zwingli also both had problems with the Book of Revelation, the former calling it "unintelligible" and forbidding the pastors in Geneva to interpret it, the latter calling it "unbiblical". The Syrian (Nestorian) Church has only 22 books in the New Testament while the Ethiopian Church has 8 "extra." The first edition of the King James Version of the Bible included the "Apocryphal" (ie, Deuterocanonical) Books.

So then we have it that the Books are removed for convenience in that they contradict the Protestant confession of faith, which it "alone" (Luther's addition) is sufficient for salvation.
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written by Lisa T, November 01, 2011
Tonight on EWTN's THE JOURNEY HOME (see on youtube.com) there will be a former Episcopalian who found His truth in Catholicism. Many various backgrounds all saw His truth in the Church He established 2,000 years ago. ALL other churches were founded by a man. There are 26,000 Protestant denominations. The message: find a new church when you don't agree with something.

How sad that for 1500+ years ALL Christians believed that The Eucharist is truly Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Within 60 years of the Reformation, a book was published with 200 possibilities of John 6. Satan sure is happy with his deception in keeping many Christians away of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
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written by Lisa T, November 01, 2011
How sad that for 1500+ years ALL Christians believe that The Eucharist was truly Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Within 60 years of the Reformation, a book was published with 200 possibilities of John 6. satan sure is happy with his deception in keeping many Christians away of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

Tonight on EWTN's THE JOURNEY HOME (see on YouTube) there will be a former Episcopalian who found His truth in Catholicism. Many various backgrounds all saw His truth in the Church He established 2,000 years ago. ALL other churches were founded by a man. There are 26,000 Protestant denominations. The message: find a new church when you don't agree with something.
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written by Travis, November 01, 2011
Lisa

Jesus never taught to that bread and wine literal turn into his flesh and blood No, The bible says other wise.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63

*

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (v47).
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“He who eats this bread will live forever” (v58).

“He who believes” in Christ is equivalent to “he who eats this bread” because the result is the same, eternal life. The parallel is even more striking between verses 40 and 54:

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“Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (v40).
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“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (v54).

Seeing and believing in Christ is equivalent to eating and drinking His flesh and blood, for the result is the same: possession of eternal life and resurrection at the last day. We would not be mistaken if we follow Jesus' own explanation of what it means to eat and drink - Jesus teaches us to believe in Him, the Messiah, the Son of God sent from heaven by the Father for our salvation.

even a church father that the RCC uses for some defenses say

2.

The following quotations prove that Augustine taught that the Jews did not understand correctly:

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The Jews, therefore, strove among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" They strove, and that among themselves, since they understood not… (Augustine, Tractate 26).
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Therefore ‘it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing,’ as they understood the flesh, but not so do I give my flesh to be eaten (Augustine, Tractate 27).
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For they supposed that He was going to deal out His body to them; but He said that He was to ascend into heaven, of course, whole: "when ye shall see the Son of man ascending where He was before;" certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting (Augustine, Tractate 27).
*

They understood not who believed not…they were offended through their understanding spiritual things in a carnal sense (Augustine, Tractate 27).
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It seemed unto them hard that He said, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you:’ they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, ‘This is a hard saying.’ It was they who were hard, not the saying… (Augustine, Psalm 99).



as for The Apocrypha, it was not written by any prophets even heb 1:1 makes it clear That How God works, through Prophets through his Spirit, The Apocrypha has not support for this.
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written by Francis Beckwith, November 01, 2011
Travis:

Read my previous column on the Eucharist here:
http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2011/transubstantiation-from-stumbling-block-to-cornerstone.html
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written by Travis, November 01, 2011
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.

The problem with the Gnostics concerned the person of Christ and not the nature of the Eucharist. The heretics did not participate in the Eucharist because they did not believe in what the Eucharist represents, namely the true, physical flesh of Jesus, who actually and really suffered on the cross, and who was really resurrected from the dead.

We do not need to take The bread and wine is literal blood and flesh, look at Tertullian letter....

then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, "This is my body," that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body (Against Marcion, Bk 4).

as for Justin.....

If you read his letter close, He

believed in the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, he also believed that the elements remained bread and wine given in remembrance of Christ.

Augustine

*

The Lord did not hesitate to say: “This is My Body”, when He wanted to give a sign of His body” (Augustine, Against Adimant).
*

He [Christ] committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His Body and Blood” (Augustine, on Psalm 3).
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[The sacraments] bear the names of the realities which they resemble. As, therefore, in a certain manner the sacrament of Christ's body is Christ's body, and the sacrament of Christ's blood is Christ's blood” (Augustine, Letter 98, From Augustine to Boniface).

The Eucharist is the figure of the body and blood of Jesus. Since the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, it is acceptable to call them His body and His blood. The bread resembles the body; therefore it is called the body even though it is not the reality it represents. That is perfectly normal in figurative language.

Augustine believed that the bread and cup were signs, which he defines in this manner: “a sign is a thing which, over and above the impression it makes on the senses, causes something else to come into the mind as a consequence of itself” (On Christian Doctrine, 2, 1). Therefore, when we see the bread, something else comes to mind, namely, the body of Christ. The mistake of the modern Catholic Church is to confuse the sign with the reality it represents.

Augustine rightly warns that "to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage" (On Christian Doctrine 3,9). Augustine is here referring to the sacrament of baptism and the celebration of the body and blood of the Lord. Thus, to confuse the bread (the sign) for the body of Christ (the signified) is, according to Augustine a mark of weakness and bondage.

This is what I have saved to my PC on The early church fathers and the Eucharist.
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written by Travis, November 02, 2011
If anyone wants to reply, or add anything in disagreement or agreement, then email me at travis_mccabe@hotmail.com.

It seems Now this page is going 2 different ways The Cannon of the Nt and Communion, emailing me will make it more easy to answer any questions or objections.

God Bless.
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written by Julie Sunflower, November 20, 2011
Read this book: Miracles in the Eucharist by Bob and Penny Lord.
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written by Peter Cornstalk, November 20, 2011
Makes no difference, just look at the evil that surrounds the catholic church and has done so for centuries and it is clear it is not Christ's church.

What is the pope's cross that he bears? Whether to have steak or lobster for dinner? What is his proof of authority? The Apostles and early disciples could perform miracles to prove they spoke on behalf of God. What is the pope's miracle? An expensive rob and mcdonald's fry hat?

The cathoic church has no authority to change doctrine and they have no proof of authority.
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written by Caleb, November 20, 2011
Can we please stop talking about the Council of Jamina? It didn't happen. It is a myth.
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written by Wesley Mcgranor, December 08, 2011
The Recovering Catholic is a never ending process. Not because of grace--but because of its mark. That tinged soul wears the seat of Satan's glory.
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written by Dan, December 20, 2011
I confess I really, really want to become a Catholic - but the only thing that is keeping away right now is the various dogmas on Mary (immaculate conception, perpetual virginity, and assumption).

Particularly problematic is the "Perpetual virginity"
I'm not in the "Sola Scriptura" camp -- however, it seems to me the church authority has not only gone beyond Scripture in this regard, but even seems to go against a very plan reading, and as well as understanding of Jewish culture in regard to marriage and consummation.

At most, I believe in the "Limited Perpetual Virginity" (if there can be such a thing!): Virgin before, during, and maybe a few months after Jesus was born.

Scripture reference:
Matthew 1:18 "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit."

Clearly implies they "came together" at some future point, and is certainly consistent with the whole idea of marriage itself. God does NOT command Joseph to remain celebate.

Secondly:

Matthew 13:55-57
"Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him."

I'm not persuaded by attempts to stretch the meaning of "brothers" (or "sisters") to imply a distant relationship (like cousins, etc.).

Someone please help me out!
Is it at all possible to be a committed Catholic without accepting these three dogmas?

I can only imagine the droves of Christians who would readily embrace Catholicism if it weren't for these sticky points.
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written by Christopher Lake, October 30, 2012
Dan,

I'm sorry that it has taken so long for someone to respond you, brother. As a "fallen-away Catholic" and a committed Protestant, I had serious objections to *many* Catholic doctrines and practices. The Marian teachings were definitely among them.

I don't think that Scriptural proof-texting in a comment box is the best way for me to help you on this subject. Proof-texting can easily lead to *Scripture-slinging*, back and forth, with little being accomplished other hardening of each other's positions. The Marian doctrines are actually part of *Christology*. The Church's thinking about, and understanding of, Christ had to grow and mature. It didn't arrive fully formed in the first or even second century. There were battles in the Church over defining Trinitarianism as orthodox doctrine into the fourth century. Of course, it *is* orthodox doctrine, but it took time for the Church to grow into a carefully articulated understanding of both Christology and Trinitarianism. I'm going somewhere here-- not just rambling! :-)

The Catholic teachings about Mary (her perpetual virginity, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption) are based on what the Church believes about *Christ*. This is explicitly affirmed in the Catechism. The Marian doctrines do not detract from Christ and His work on the Cross at all. Rather, they *exist*, and are rightly understood, *in* that context.

The Christological basis of Marian teaching is very difficult for Protestant Christians to understand, because (in my experience, as a former Protestant), they have not been taught much about Mary, beyond the assertion that she is simply the woman whom God happened to "use" to bring Jesus into the world-- and many Protestant leaders teach that God could just as easily have *used* any other woman.

Therefore, given that Mary has passed from this life, and, according to *Protestant interpretations* of the Bible, Scripture doesn't have much to say about her, most Protestants believe that Mary should have no real role in the doctrinal beliefs and devotional lives of Christians. Also, as you mentioned, certain verses *appear* to even contradict the Catholic Marian teachings. Isn't it obvious, then, that they should be rejected? Well, no-- not if one studies Catholic Biblical exegesis on Mary and the Christological basis of Marian teaching in the Church. Again, one will not find much teaching on either in Protestantism.

One has to seriously delve into and study Catholic teaching on Mary, in order to understand it, if one is coming from a Protestant background-- either that, or simply choose to trust the Church on Mary and "grow into" that understanding of her. As a "reverted" Catholic, having returned to the Church in 2010, after many years as a Protestant, I have come to see that either approach can be a valid way of coming to understand the Marian teachings. My own approach involved some of both (at different points, respectively)-- study *and* trust.

Through study of the Bible and the early Church Fathers, I had come to see that the Church was right on almost everything else, so, to some extent, I chose to "trust" the Church on Mary. However, I did have to do some study of Marian doctrines to even get to *that* point.

One book that was helpful for me, in that regard, was "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic," by David Currie, a former Protestant seminarian. A website that was also helpful was "Called to Communion," which exists for the purposes of dialogue and reconciliation between Catholics and Reformed Protestants. I recommend that you go to that website, click on the "Index" link, and read their numerous articles on Mary. Finally, the book, "Daughter Zion: Meditations on the Church's Marian Belief," by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the current Pope) is a bit harder to read than the aforementioned sources, but it is also helpful.

I will be praying for your journey, brother. God bless you!

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