Discussion of Catholic TRADITION

The block quotes are my comments, then Constantine’s response and my response to his comments. All from the comments section of Was St. Augustine a Heretic?

BFHU: Jesus, interestingly, NEVER, told His disciples to write anything down.

C: … since Christ Jesus is coextensive with the Holy Spirit, it is a logical necessity that Jesus did, in fact, cause His disciples to write everything down.

BFHU: I did not state that Jesus/God did not INSPIRE the disciples to write. I said Jesus NEVER SAID, “Write my teachings down.” To believe that God caused the disciples to write might be veering into heresy because God does nothing against our free will.

We uphold the written Tradition which is Scripture.

C: No, you really don’t. God the Father declared the superiority of written Scripture

BFHU: Where is this declaration?????

C. Additionally, Roman Catholic scholars have shown how Rome systematically withholds the majority of Scripture from the Mass, which shows that you don’t uphold the Scripture.

BFHU: Someone has been lying to you. In three years of Sunday mass attendance we hear nearly every thing in the scripture. Protestants do not hear nearly as much Scripture as Catholics at their masses. If one attends daily mass they hear nearly the whole Bible in only two years.

BFHU: Oral Tradition absolutely WAS the ORIGINAL DEPOSIT OF FAITH. Adam and Eve and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc. = All Oral Tradition. And this Oral Tradition was passed down for several thousand years before Moses wrote these stories down.

C. Oh, really? What oral tradition do we have from Adam and Eve? What oral tradition is still extant from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? There is no extant oral tradition from any of these and all you know about them came from the written Scriptures. It is just so obvious.

NONE, of the stories about about Adam, Eve, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph etc. Were written down UNTIL Moses wrote them down, as far as we know. All these stories were passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. We believe that God was able to preserve these in TRUTH for thousands of intervening years, b/c we accept the OT as inerrant.

So, even Protestants believe that God is able to preserve TRUTH using oral Tradition, (Tradition only means “what is passed down.”) when it comes to the OT stories that covered 1000′s of years. But, for some reason they REJECT that God was able to preserve the TRUTH of Jesus’ teaching through oral Tradition for the first 400 years of Christianity.

Why is that?

Catholics believe that God can do all things. I know Protestants would agree but on what grounds do you KNOW God was unable to preserve the teachings of Jesus ORALLY for a mere 400 years?


BFHU: The New Testament writings were separated by less than 100 years from the events they portray. Never-the-less for decades the Christian Oral Tradition inflamed the ancient world with Christian Faith and produced countless martyrs.

C: So what did Jesus mean when He accused the Pharisees of not knowing the Scriptures? (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24). Did He hold them accountable to Scriptures that had not been written yet? No!

BFHU: I agree.

C: And as I have written here, before, the Apostles were under direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that their oral proclamation was different that anything that came after.

BFHU: Jesus taught them and they taught others what Jesus had taught them. Do you think those taught by the apostles were unable to teach what they had been taught?

C: The only objective, reliable way you now have to know what you know is the written Scripture.

Scripture is precious but it cannot be interpreted in a vacuum. The teaching Church produced the NT Scripture. That same teaching Church has passed the original understanding of these scriptures down to us through the writings of the Fathers. These, in themselves are not inerrant or scripture but they show us how the earliest Christians understood many passages of Scripture. You are free to trust your own interpretation but I find what was believed and taught in the first four centuries to be closer to the TRUTH than my own .

11 Responses

  1. “original understanding of these scriptures down to us through the writings of the Fathers.”

    so are the early fathers infalible?

    • No. But we have the infallible scriptures and the writings of the Fathers give us a window on how these scriptures were interpreted during the times when some of these men had been taught by the apostles themselves. At any rate the interpretation and understanding of the Christian Faith at the dawn of Christianity is much more reliable than me or you.

  2. A Catholics view: The Scriptures are fallible by the Fathers; The Fathers are now Deity; like Mary proven by fallible Scripture.
    But Scriptures are just some old pieces of paper, unimportant. Is that why the Roman Catholic Church kept them under lock key for 1000 years. They weren’t teaching Scripture to masses in Luther’s day and for a along time before.
    The only Way to make the Office of Papas infallible (Proven by fallible Scripture) was to make sure that the Catholic Church had full control of Scripture.
    Very confusing, fallible Scripture proves that the Church and Office of Papas are infallible.

    How can something fallible prove that something else is infallible?

    The Catholic Church is not the State (Praise God!) any more even though they act like they are. And still bully the peasants around.

    And if the Scriptures are fallible then I can say this because I’m fallible.
    “Heaven and earth will fade away, Even the Church, All doctrines, Even the written word itself will fade away, for the Instruction of God will be written on your hearts. And all that will be is God Himself and we will be with Him in Him.”

    • Catholics do NOT view the Scriptures as fallible.
      The Fathers are NOT Deity
      Mary Is NOT deity.
      Scriptures are a precious treasure.

      They were never kept under lock and key to prevent people access. Before the invention of the printing press, when one Bible was Chained to the pulpit to prevent it from being stolen b/c it was worth a small fortune. Did you know University books were also chained in the library to prevent them from being stolen? Students had to go and read them. This was not to keep the scriptures away from people but just the opposite–to make sure a church kept a Bible to read each day at mass to the people. This a very good example of a fact being misinterpreted outside of the culture in which it happened. Everyone kept precious, expensive books locked down to prevent theft. Which makes much more sense than to “keep them away from people.”

      You have been lied to.

      It is similar to the half truth about bishops who had illigitimate chidlren. St. Augustine had a child out of wedlock BEFORE he became a Christian. Nevertheless, it is true that a Catholic Bishop and others, no doubt, had children. But only half the truth is told in order to bash Catholicism.
      I do not mean to say that every accusation of this sort is a half truth used to slander, priests and bishops certainly sin.

      We do not prove that the pope in infallible by using the scriptures alone. We try to show Protestants as much scripture as possible to indicate that our beliefs are to be found in scripture. Sometimes more explicitly than others.

      When has the Catholic Church last bullied anyone? Do we still have peasants?

      • Evangelicals arrive at this illogical conclusion of the Bible to be a “fallible collection of infallible books” because of the obstinate refusal to recognize an external authority. It’s like someone sitting up in a tree sawing off the very tree branch he is sitting on. It’ is Protestantism being taken to its “logical” conclusion (pun intended).

        • Oh, the Protestants believe its a fallible collection? Wow! I don’t think I ever heard that as a Protestant. If the canon is fallible then how do they know the books are infallible? But i am sure it is a Protestant apologetic view in order to reject the fact that the Catholic Church infallibly canonized the Bible. Ahhhh….yes….that makes sense.

          • The charge is being led by R.C. Sproul and camp.

            • We have had personal dealings with him as Protestants. We did not believe in Eternal Security and R.C literally took my husband by the neck and growled that he was wrong.

              • AKA SURKIKO—Thankfully, I believe there’s the “other camp” of Evangelicals which is more orthodox and shares more in common of faith and moral beliefs (like your husband?) with Catholics than with their “own” peer Protestant brethren. Hopefully, a day will come when Christ’s Church will be united again in “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” so we can witness the gospel more effectiveness. The mass Anglican converts this Easter will hopefully be a beginning of this trend.

  3. in·fal·li·ble –adjective
    1. absolutely trustworthy or sure: an infallible rule.
    2. unfailing in effectiveness or operation; certain: an infallible remedy.
    3. not fallible; exempt from liability to error, as persons, their judgment, or pronouncements: an infallible principle.
    1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin infallibilis. JM Latin English Dictionary
    infallible| not liable to err or lead into error

    1, 2. See reliable.

  4. Thank you Robert for the definition. Of course the Catholic Church affirms the above definition except the pope alone or the pope in union with the bishops are absoloutely trustworthy or sure and reliable ONLY when they teach on
    1) FAITH and MORALS

    This does not apply to lone bishops or a few bishops here and there. It can only be relied upon when they are all together in union WITH THE POPE. Only the pope is infallible by himself, and then it is still only when teaching on faith and morals.

    No Pope or bishop can be considered infallible when balancing their checkbook ( not about Faith or morals) or talking theology with someone while walking down the halls at the Vatican (not taught to the whole church).

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