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Why Catholics do not believe in Sola Scriptura

why

Why do Catholics believe that the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) is NOT the sole rule of faith?

Catholics accept the Bible as an authority in matters of faith because it is God’s inspired Word. However, we do not believe it to be the only rule of faith.

Did you know that Sola Scriptura was unheard of before the Reformation, which was in the 16th century? (Hundreds of years after Christ was crucified.) Sola Scriptura is not biblical, it is not historical, and it is not logical. The doctrine of Sola Scripture is not even found in Scripture. In fact, the Bible tells us that we need more than just the Bible alone, for it says that not everything Jesus said and did is recorded in Holy Scripture. (John 21:25) and that we must hold fast to oral tradition – the “preached” Word of God. (1 Cor 11:2; 1 Pet 1:25.)

The Bible tells us that Jesus left us a Church with divine authority to govern in His name. (Matthew 16:13-20, 18:18, Luke 10:16). Christ also promised that the Church would last until the end of time. (Matthew 16:18, 28:19-20, John14:16). The Bible also tells us that Sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside Sacred Scripture. (2 Thess 2:15, 3:6).

Jesus left us a Church 2000 years ago to teach, govern and sanctify in His name until the end of time. The Bible clearly tells us that it is the Church that is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15):

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”

Papal authority also has strong support in Scripture, and can be traced back historically. Peter was appointed the first Pope by Christ Himself – he was given the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” To no one else does Christ give this ruling power. The popes as Christ’s vicars are the visible heads of Christ’s Church while, of course, Christ is the invisible and supreme head.( On another note – for those who think Peter was not infallible, why do they accept his two letters (found in the Bible) as inspired, infallible?)

Leaving the Bible up for personal interpretation leads to thousands of different interpretations of Scripture. Think about the U.S. Constitution – – an authority (the Supreme Court) was established to guard, guarantee and officially interpret the Constitution. Without it there would be chaos and endless divisions as everyone would be acting as their own authority, interpreting it to fit their own agendas and lives. Remember, just because you can quote or make up your own interpretation of scripture, it doesn’t mean you are interpreting it correctly. Even the devil quoted scripture and used it to promote evil. Anyone today can take words from scripture and justify just about anything today to fit their own agendas or justify any behavior. Misinterpretation of Scripture can result in selective acceptance of the truths contained there. Without an authority (the Magisterium) to help us interpret scripture, scripture could be interpreted with having opposite meanings. God is a God of order, not disorder. Truth (God) does not contradict Himself.

Where did the Bible come from? It didn’t just fall out of the sky. And how do we know what books belong in the Bible?

It was the authority of the Catholic Church, in the fourth century, that determined which books were inspired and belonged in the Bible. Think about it. The Bible does not have an inspired table of contents. This list of inspired books is an essential religious truth not contained in the Bible. Therefore, at least one essential religious truth – the contents of the Bible – is found “outside” the Bible.

Jesus left us the Church, which came before the Bible. How did people learn about Jesus after he was crucified, but before the Bible was put together by Catholics in the fourth century? Oral tradition. We trust the Church, established by Jesus Christ, to tell us what books belong in the Bible, and assure us that everything in it is inspired.

Many people, including many Protestant pastors, have converted to Catholicism on the issue of authority. Today there is one Catholic Church, yet over 30,000 different Protestant denominations, which started breaking away from the church during the Reformation – hundreds of years after the Bible was compiled.

Among all the Christian churches, only the Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus. Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The Protestant churches were established during the Reformation, which began in 1517. Most of today’s Protestant churches are actually offshoots of the original Protestant offshoots, each with their own man made traditions and various interpretations of the Bible.

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history. Even the oldest government is new compared to the papacy, and the churches to which door-to-door missionaries belong are young compared to the Catholic Church. Many of these churches began as recently as the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. None of them can claim to be the Church Jesus established.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus creates and builds His Church (not “churches”) on Peter, the Rock. Even hell can’t stop the everlasting existence of His Church. “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus left us a Church, giving our first Pope, Saint Peter, the “keys to His kingdom” (keys are a symbol of authority) to be the leader of His Church. In the following verse 19, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom:

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.”

Despite humans messing things up at times, the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and will FOREVER be guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time, as quoted in scripture:

“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13

Jesus would not have left His church without an authority to guide us in Truth. The Catholic Church existed long before the Bible. The Bible is the product of the Catholic Church. Catholic popes and bishops decided what books belonged in the Bible in the 4th century. This is why Catholics do not believe that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for Christians (Sola Scriptura), but rather, as mentioned above, “the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth” as it says in I Timothy 3:15.

The deposit of faith given the Church by Jesus Christ includes both Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture. The Gospel is both God’s unwritten and written word, not, rather, simply the written word only. As Pope Benedict observed, “Ultimately, it is the living Tradition of the Church which makes us adequately understand sacred Scripture as the word of God” (Verbum Domini, 17-18).

To trust the Bible is to trust the authority of the Catholic Church.

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Morning Prayer

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In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

I wish to gain all the indulgences attached to the prayers I shall say and the good works I shall perform this day. Amen.

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Morning Prayer

Love

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

I wish to gain all the indulgences attached to the prayers I shall say and the good works I shall perform this day. Amen.

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Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

Liz

Dear Love Being Catholic Friends,

Thank you all for following this “Love Being Catholic” blog! Every few months I re-post the below message to introduce myself for anyone who is new to this blog, say hello, and thank you for joining “Love Being Catholic.”

My name is Liz and I am the admin for Love Being Catholic. I am passionate about my faith, and this page is my little way of spreading the joy and beauty of our Catholic faith. This page is dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, and I pray is under her guidance and protection.

I started my”Love Being Catholic” Facebook page five years ago and post on it every day, beginning with the Morning Offering prayer, and try to post on this blog once a week. This page is for Catholics, fallen away Catholics who might be interested in re-discovering their faith, or for anyone interested in learning more about what Catholics believe and why we believe it. This page was not set up to bash other religions or Protestant denominations, or to try to convert anyone to Catholicism. (That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.)My mission is to spread the truth, joy and beauty of our faith and hopefully clear up some misconceptions that we all have come across from time to time about our Catholic faith.

I wasn’t always this “into” my faith, but by the grace of God, while watching Saint John Paul II’s funeral several years ago, it struck me that I really did not know, understand, or appreciate my Catholic faith. I remember watching the funeral on TV, and thinking about how many people loved this pope, his holiness, and his love for Christ and our Blessed Mother. Saint John Paul II’s death actually started me on my journey back to re-discovering my faith. I realized at the time that I could not answer basic questions that my children asked me about what Catholics believed, and why we believed it. I went through the motions and considered myself Catholic, but really didn’t know or understand, let alone agree with many of the actual teachings of the Catholic Church.

I remember asking a woman, who is now a dear friend of mine, why she was converting to Catholicism. I saw the love and joy that she had for Christ and the Catholic Church, and I wanted that same joy. This same woman prior to becoming Catholic was a member of a mega church down the street where she was very active and led several Bible studies, and yet she converted to Catholicism. I was used to hearing stories of people who had left the Church, so it was refreshing to learn why someone would want to become Catholic.

I asked her why she was converting, and she told me that the Catholic Church contained the “fullness of truth.” I didn’t know what she meant by this “fullness of truth”, but these words stuck with me. She told me that the issue of authority and studying church history played a big part in her conversion. She started studying the early church fathers, and discovered what the church was like right after Jesus was crucified.(It was totally Catholic.) She recommended a book to me called “Four Witnesses” by Rod Bennett. I bought the book and loved it. I had never even thought about where the Bible came from, or what the early church was like. She also told me that the movie “The Passion of the Christ” had a profound impact on her conversion to the Catholic faith. (Be sure to watch this movie if you can – it’s very hard to watch, yet very moving!)

I started reading a lot of conversion stories and two books in particular that I really enjoyed were “Surprised by Truth” by Patrick Madrid, and “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott Hahn. These books contained stories of different people from other faiths and religions who converted to Catholicism, and why they converted. They all told their stories honestly, truthfully, and with charity, without bashing their previous religion or christian denomination. Another show I started watching was Marcus Grodi’s show on EWTN called “The Journey Home” which was a show on conversion stories, also done honestly and charitably. I started attending Bible studies, reading the Bible more, and attended talks by Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, Peter Kreeft, Allen Hunt, Patrick Madrid, and Matthew Kelly. I loved listening to others who were passionate about their Catholic faith, and hearing about why they loved being Catholic. I loved how so many people who converted to Catholicism used both faith and reason in their journeys. Each story I heard just logically made sense to me, as I searched for this “truth.”

Though I am a cradle Catholic, and have always attended Mass, I would often sit in the back and leave right after communion. I didn’t get it. I did not appreciate the beauty of the Mass, and definitely took it for granted. By the grace of God, my husband decided to convert and became a Catholic in 2007. I attended his RCIA classes with him to re-learn my faith, and loved every minute of it. His conversion to Catholicism actually helped to make me a better Catholic. My husband, a former Lutheran, is now very devoted to our Blessed Mother, and is the one who got us praying the rosary together every night. (Mary has a way of drawing her children back to the Catholic faith. Just a piece of advice -the rosary is a very powerful weapon!)

I attended a Catholic High School in Atlanta, and graduated from the University of Georgia. I currently work planning events for a private Catholic School. I have three children, ages 19, 16, and 12, ten brothers and sisters, tons of brother & sister-in-laws, a thousand or so nieces and nephews, and am blessed with the best parents and in-laws a girl could ask for. (Next weekend my whole family is getting together to celebrate my parents 60 year anniversary!) I am also an 18 year breast cancer survivor. (Yay!) I want to personally thank all of you for praying for my husband and my family this past spring when he was diagnosed with heart failure. It’s been a challenging year needless to say, but we remind each other daily that God is so good and He has a plan.

I am truly grateful to be given the gift of my Catholic faith, have a deep love for Christ and His Blessed Mother, and am so happy and humbled to be a member of His “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” – though I fail miserably all the time. (Thank goodness for God’s mercy!) I am still learning and re-discovering my faith, enjoy sharing it with others, and hope you enjoy it too.

That’s all – just wanted to say hello and thank you for following this blog!

And one more thing, if you couldn’t tell, I Love Being Catholic!

In Christ,

Liz