Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Response to a Presbyterian Ministers Presentation on the Subject of Soli Deo Gloria.

The following is a response to some Calvinist statements made in a presentation on the subject of Soli Deo Gloria.

Soli Deo Gloria, "To God Alone Be Glory" from the "Reformation Solas" Conference.

Presbyterian Minister (PM) - 10:43 Quotes from Romans 9, for who resists his will?

Answer - PM thinks Romans 9 concludes to God acting and man having no free will. Yet Romans 9 focusses on God predestining, and never denies free will. Yet the Calvinist does deny free will in contradiction to Romans 9 and many other places in scripture where free human choice is inferred.

PM – Is it unjust for God to judge mankind for being sinful when men could not be otherwise? No. Freedom to do otherwise is not necessary in order from someone to be accountable for something. The only thing needed from God to hold them accountable is the authority to do it.

Answer – This is only the Calvinist position then men have sin natures and are not free due to the effects of original sin. Many deny the Calvinist position, such as the Armenians, and the Catholics, who hold that men have free will. The Calvinist position makes God into a monster who created mankind just, then mankind became depraved and always sins without free will. The Calvinist God then judges men based upon sin caused as through men being compelled to sin from a depraved nature. Then again, if men are compelled to act without free will, then such acts are not sins. For sin and the accompanied imputation of guilt implies a just imputation of guilt to the man who freely acted against the law. For the Calvinist to hold that men are guilty of sin, and are also not free to act, then men are mere animals without rationality. The animal does not have free will, but only ever acts in accord with instinct. The Calvinist gospel, god and nature of man are all false.

PM - Some object and say, if God has decreed everything that happens how can he judge men that he has decreed men would do and they could not possibly have done otherwise? God has determined ahead of time (predestined) the final destiny of all men.

Predestine means to predetermine, or decide beforehand the eternal destinies of all men.

Answer – PM assumes predestination excludes free will, and yet PM has not proven men do not have free will. Further, PM has not accounted for the scriptural data that affirms free will, nor has PM accounted for diverse understandings of predestination. For predestination may be understood as God ordering all human acts as free will acts in union with grace to the end preordained by God to either glory or damnation. Free will is not excluded in Romans 9, but assumed wherever there is a reference to any human, moral action. Any text that discusses the divine election and does so that appears to indicate divine action without free will is only to focus on the divine act itself, without denial of free will. PM is wrong to assert predestination unto glory in Rom 8 infers no free will in man.

PM – Sin entered into creation, not by divine force, but by Adams desire to disobey God. God decreed Adams sin would happen. Was Adam forced to sin against his will? No. Did Adam want to do what was right in his heart? No. Sin was decreed by God but did not come into creation by the hand of God.  The secondary cause, Adam was the one who brought sin into creation.

God was not the active agent with evil desires. Adam was. Adam sinned because Adam wanted to do so. But why would God decree that that would happen? God purposed it to His own glory. God was not involved in Adams sinful desires.

Answer – If God was not involved in Adams sinful desires, then Adam acted apart from God’s decree. For Gods decree is always active in accord with the Calvinist understanding of Romans 9. So God decreed that Adam would sin, which infers God was involved in Adams sinful desires, in contradiction to PM’s assertion that God was not involved with Adam’s sin.

Also, if Adam sinned after being made righteous by God in the initial creation event, then the original sin and the effects of original sin are from Adam acting as a free agent. Therefore, Adam’s sin and the associated guilt of man’s sin natures results from a free act of Adam. For the Calvinist, sin is caused in Adam by a free act. But then Calvinists claim mankind is always bound by a sinful nature as from Adam, whilst men do not have free will. For the Calvinist, sin is caused by both free will and not by free will.

Alternatively, if Adam was created without free will, then Adam could not have sinned, or God is responsible for sin and the effects of sin. God then acts for His own glory, which includes causing men to sin and then be damned. The alternatives for the Calvinist end in a contradiction or a false god of causing sin, whilst remaining all holy.

PM – will those who are happily content in their life of sin dare to say against the holy God for the things they freely and knowingly do against Him . . .

Answer – The PM has just contradicted himself by asserting men have free will to sin. For above the PM denied men have free will, where he said “freedom to do otherwise is not necessary” when discussing God's decree against men. Calvinism is a bundle of contradictions, just like all false versions of Christianity, or for that matter any false religion.

PM – Here we have the end of the argument. The potter has a right to make one for honour and one for dishonour.

Answer – God as the potter and man as the clay is only a metaphor highlighting God power over man to form man as God wishes. If men do not have free will as the Calvinists say, then it is God who is acting to form both the elect and the damned for glory and damnation without the free consent of men. Therefore, it is God who is actively causing virtue and grace within the elect and actively causing sin within men for damnation. For men do not have free will in the Calvinist system. All of God’s acts occur without men having free will, whilst God who is all holy, then causes men to sin. The Calvinist system is convoluted and contradictory because the Calvinists misunderstand St Paul and fail to make distinctions where required.

PM – God tolerates those vessels of destruction in order to make known the riches of his grace on the vessels of mercy.

Answer – The PM assumes the vessels of destruction and vessels of mercy are diverse groups of men. But PM fails to account that the two groups may in fact be the same group stated in two diverse manners. God tolerates the vessels of destruction so that those vessels would become the vessels of mercy is another possible outcome not considered by the PM. Rom 9:24-25 indicates the two groups are the same where Jews and gentiles are both chosen as “my people”.

PM – God chose Jacob and not Esau. God chose to give mercy to some and justice to the rest.

Answer – The Jacob and Esau example does not conclude to the Calvinist position of election to glory for some and damnation to everyone else by God’s election alone without free will. The Jacob and Esau example only discusses covenant election, or God acting through the human channel which God chose to bless the nations. In fact, Esau had the blessing of the firstborn and then freely gave it away to Jacob. The Esau and Jacob example assumes free will is involved in changing God’s channel of election from Esau to Jacob.

PM - Our salvation does not depend upon us in any way, because our salvation has its sole purpose in the glory of God.

Answer - The above statement is a non sequitur. Our salvation does not depend upon us only if a man does not have free will. And yet PM admits above that man both does and does not have free will. The glory of God is obtained if men are responsible for their own salvation by using their free will to say yes to God acting in union with God's grace. The glory of God does not require that men do not have free will. 

Furthermore, acts of free will do not conclude to boasting associated with merit. For merit is inferred wherever a free act is done, even when done with the grace of God.

PM assumes far too much in his statments as true, which in fact are not true.

PM - all works are excluded.

Answer - works are included in several passages in the NT, such as Eph 2, and James 2. Works are only excluded when discussing God's work of grace in man without reference to man's free will, but assuming man's free will. Merit does not take away from God's glory, but assumes God's glory, for man that act freely imitate God who is free, to then become like God in heaven as free agents. Calvinism has many confusions and many wooden readings of passages in St Paul's letters.

Calvinists quite frequently miss the mystery and paradox involved in the biblical texts and claim their own reading of the text includes the full import of the text, when in fact the full import is often missed. For example, Eph 2 teaches God raised up men for good works, and thereby imply good works are involved in man's salvation. Yet the Calvinist reads the text as though good works automatically implies boasting which St Paul excludes. Contrarily, Eph 2 and other passages include works as acts of men done freely, whilst also being caused by God's grace acting within men. The action of divine grace that causes human action is then the reason why men cannot boast, rather than the Calvinist reading of Eph 2, that implies men cannot boast because works are excluded following upon man not having free will to do any meritorious acts.

The Calvinist reading of St Paul's letters is only one reading that contains contradictions, sophistry and errors. There is nothing compelling about Calvinism that requires any Christian to become a Calvinist.

PM - Unconditional election . . .

Answer - PM assumes unconditional election as from the premise of no free will in man and God predestining all things for his own glory. As men do have free will, the Calvinist version of unconditional election is false.

PM - It ruins the show to trust in your own works.

Answer - The Calvinists teach justification by faith alone. Yet faith is a work men do, and therefore the Calvinist gospel of justification by faith alone is in contradiction to the Calvinist gospel of all things are for the Glory of God alone.

The Calvinist show is a bundle of contradictions, where -

1) God is all holy and yet an unholy liar in the great exchange.

2) God is all good, and yet creates men for damnation which is a very great evil.

3) Men are created in the image of God, yet men are all depraved and more resemble the devil than God.

4) Works are understood as any human act, which do not justify. Yet faith is a human act that does justify.

5) All righteous works are as filthy rags. Yet God causes men to become new creations and even then, the divine work of the new creation is not good enough. For all man's works, even when regenerated and justified are as filthy rags. The Calvinist god of power is not powerful enough to make man's works good enough even when God makes men into a new creation.

6) All righteous works are as filthy rags. Faith is a righteous work. Therefore men are justified by filthy rags. But fithly rags is a metaphor for sin. Thereore men are both condemned and justified by different sins.

7) Calvinists claim to only follow God's word in the scriptures, and yet sola scriptora, and all of the other solas are not in the scriptures, but are rather only human traditions.

8) Calvinists have a version of Christianity that did not exist prior to John Calvin's inventions. Yet Calvinism claims to be the authentic Christianity, which all Christians in history either believed or are bound to believe. The Calvinist claim is incredulous.

9) Not all Calvinists follow all of John Calvin's theology. So not all Calvinists find Calvin compelling. Some Calvinists believe in human free will, whilst others do not.

10) Calvinists claim their version of Christianity is from God as the true gospel, and yet the church fathers and the early church were not Calvinist, but Catholic.

11) If all human acts are as filthy rags as Calvinism teaches, then all human institutions are sinful and worthy of destruction. Calvinism promotes the so called true gospel as a resolution to the human problem of sin, but Calvinism is inherently inhuman. For Calvinism concludes all that is human is depraved, and consequently should be opposed, excpet for the one thing called faith. Calvinism is both human and inhuman.

12) John Calvin is thought to be a reformer along with Martin Luther and yet the two men disagreed on many points of theology. The Calvinists must then defined the Reformation in accord with Calvinism but then claim Luther was a reformer, whilst ignoring Luther's doctrines which differed from Calvin. Calvin was a Reformer, and Luther a Reformer, but not so much a Reformer.

13) God is love, and yet His love of mankind is seemingly subordinated to His acts to always glorify himself through the vessels of wrath and mercy. Apparently, those in hell and heaven are there because God loves Himself enough to damn some, and glorify some others. The Calvinist god of love is one strange lover that seeks patiently to damn, when He could easily act to save, but also seeks to save when He could easily act to damn, all for the sake of His glory. 

God is love, but hates some and has mercy on others, when in fact there is no real motive other than some mysterious decree from God to act for some and not for some others. The Calvinist God smells of a crazy fictional human invention, similar to the wrathful pagan Greek and Roman gods. God hates some because of His glory and also loves others because of His glory. Glory is then a motive for God to love and hate men.

There are so many contradictions within Calvinism and Lutheranism, it is difficult to take Reformation theology seriously.

PM - I m not co-operating with anything . . .

Answer - then you have no assurance of your salvation, for your faith is as through grace acting within you to cause you to believe. Yet you claim you do not co-operate with anything. Your claim is only another one of many contradictions within Calvinism. Also, the very prayer in which you stated you did not co-operate with anything is, in fact, a grace given to you from God to pray. Hence prayer is also a co-operation of men acting with grace.

Calvinism claims the gospel is all for the glory of God, and yet the Calvinist gospel reduces God down to a manipulator of the show without any free human agency. The Calvinist gospel is like the puppeteer who moves all of the unfree puppets, and some end up in hell and other in heaven. The real gospel, however, includes the truth of human free will and human co-operation in the divine plan of salvation. The real gospel is the Catholic gospel.

Other Problems -

1) PM presents Romans 9 as the text used to conclude for the only reasons God acts to elect and damn, is based on God's glory. Yet there are other texts that imply men are elect and damned, based upon their own decisions. For freedom is clearly taught in many passages in the OT (Gen 2:16-17, Josh 24:15, Prov 16:9, Isa 55:6-7, etc) and the NT (Rom 6:23, 8:2, 1 Cor 7:21-22, 1 Cor 9:1, 1 Tim 3:3, Philemon 1:14).

2) The god of Calvinism imputes sin to Christ's account even though Christ did not sin, and imputes Christ's righteousness to the sinner's account, even though the sinner is unrighteous. The divine lies involved in the great exchange reduce God's holiness to an anthropomorphic scam, whereby God becomes the sinner to redeem sinful men. 

If we apply the lies involved in the Calvinist gospel, God must then have predestined His own lies to redeem men and thereby gain glory from himself. God then gains glory through God sinning to save the elect. It would have been more God glorifying to never have sent His Son, so God would never have lied and all men would justly be sent to hell. Apparently, God's sin to save some and thereby glorify Himself whilst acting against His own nature as all Holy. Calvinism is simply not even remotely believable.

3) The Calvinist god lies in the great exchange to save the elect. The Calvinist god is, therefore, a false god, who sins, just as men sin. By the Calvinist worshipping the false Calvinist god, the Calvinist commits the sin of idolatry every Sunday. The false god of Calvinism leads Calvinists to hell through sins of idolatry committed every Sunday, whilst the Calvinists think they are the elect of God.

4) The Calvinist goes the to the bible to discover the gospel and yet the gospel is conveyed to mankind as from the church and oral tradition which existed prior to the written text. The Calvinist should be more consistent with history and go to the church of history first to discover the gospel and then within the context of church doctrine, seek to penetrate the meaning of the biblical text in accord with church teaching. By the Calvinist approaching the text first, without reference to church teaching, the Calvinist is open to receiving both truth and his own errors whilst remaining unaware of the errors. Such is the problem with sola scriptora which is unhistorical, and thereby also unbiblical. For the bible always has a historical context written for a historical faithful who already knew of the laws and sacraments as from God before the text was written.

The Calvinist approach to the biblical text is backwards.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Response to a Presbyterian Ministers Presentation on the Doctrine of Christ Alone.

The following is a response to a Presbyterian minister's presentation on the Doctrine of Christ Alone.

Presbyterian Minister (PM) – Reads out the standard Martin Luther story of a man with a scrupulous conscience who could not find peace with God, even though he spent hours in confession every day as a monk. Luther then reads and studies the scriptures and discovers the gospel and finds peace with God.

The Martin Luther story is simply not believable –

1) The troubled monk suffered from the defect of scrupulosity. Such a defect was an occasion for Luther to invent his own version of Lutheranism, with its many contradictions. It was in fact scrupulosity that caused Martin Luther to invent a false gospel.

2) Luther’s reading of the bible is only his private account of his understanding of the text. There is no mandate, nor principle within the text that promotes the notion of private interpretation of the text as the basis for understanding the gospel, nor for binding any believer to Luther’s version of the gospel. Luther’s adventure with the text is only his own human invention.

3) Luther changed his mind several times throughout his career, indicating there was no divine origin to his Lutheranism. Luther was just an ordinary man who made ordinary mistakes like everyone else.

4) Luther could not have been a reformer. A reform of the church does not occur through the scrupulosity that caused the man to universally deny many all of the central doctrines of historical Christianity. True reform comes from within the church that is consistent with what has always been believed.

5) Luther added the word alone to the bible in several places and attempted to remove several books of the new testament. Evidently Luther’s scrupulosity did not affect him when he decided to add and remove from God’s word.

6) Luther had no authority to invent his own version of the gospel, and no authority to oppose the Roman Catholic Church, which did have authority to teach the one true gospel.

7) Luther’s understanding of faith as an instrument is only his own invention made outside of the text. There is no reason to believe Luther’s version of what faith is and does.

8) The penal substitution theory is only a theory which has many unresolved problems. One problem is the lies involved by the deity who is involved in the so called great exchange.

9) Luther was defeated in debate by John Eck at the Leipzig debate in 1519. The debate demonstrated Luther did not have command of the scriptures and could not defend his novel Lutheran gospel. The Lutheran gospel is only the machinations of a confused mind and an incompetent theologian.

10) Lutherans after Luther do not believe the same content of the Gospel taught by Martin Luther. So even Lutherans find at least some of Luther’s version of the gospel as not compelling. It seems that most of Christendom does not find Luther’s gospel compelling. It’s as though Luther really had no authority at all.

11) Luther had no objective and authoritative way to establish the canon of scripture. Therefore, Luther’s appeal to scripture is only an appeal to Roman Catholic tradition. Luther is then being inconsistent with his opposition to Catholic authority which he both accepts and rejects.

12) Luther had no proof for faith alone theology, but only appealed to several of St Pauls passages to establish his theology. An appeal to a text does not establish a doctrine when 1) the text does not say faith alone, and 2) the text was never understood prior to Luther as meaning faith alone, 3) the text is understood only by Luther and Lutherans as meaning faith alone, when the grammar of the text(s) does not mean faith alone, 4) There are other texts that either explicitly (Jam 2:24) or implicitly (1 Cor 13, Heb 1:11, etc) deny faith alone theology.

13) Luther’s imputation of the righteousness of Christ, whilst the man remains a sinner is a legal fiction unworthy of an all-holy God. Lutheranism both promotes and denies God’s holiness.

14) Lutheran theology is really only a mixture of Roman Catholic truth and human traditions invented by Martin Luther. Luther held to his version of sola scriptora, but ironically also held to many of his own self invented, human traditions.

15) The Lutheran gospel does not attain to peace with God, for the Lutheran gospel is only the invention of a man, Martin Luther, who had no authority to invent his own gospel.

16) The Lutheran gospel is based upon a false understanding of works of the law, faith and grace. Luther assumed one meaning of works, could not properly define faith and grace and then made his argument for faith alone theology. The entire Lutheran edifice is based upon shoddy scholarship concerning the meaning of several words in several passages of the Pauline corpus.

17) One story of a troubled monk is not a universal experience of believers. Many believers do not have the troubles Martin Luther had and many do not find the Martin Luther version of the gospel compelling. The man broke his vows as a monk, then invented his own gospel, with his own invented authority, without reference to historical Christianity. Many do not buy into Luther’s resolution to his own problem, which probably stemmed from his overly strict childhood.

18) Luther was only a man and as such, Lutheranism is a closet humanist based belief system, which is dependent upon the beliefs of only one man and his tenuous, incoherent claims.

19) A Christian can believe in the one true faith without any reference to the Reformation whatsoever. The Reformation occurred at a particular time and place and many Christians prior to and after the Reformation continued to believe what has always been believed by Christians without reference to anything Martin Luther or John Calvin said. For many Christians, the Reformation never happened, and is entirely irrelevant to their faith and relationship to God, and their final salvation. Reformation theology is only subjectively compelling to those who buy into the system with its unproven assumptions and tolerate the many associated problems such as lack of authority, inherent instability within Protestantism and denominationalism.

20) To be a Presbyterian is to buy into the Martin Luther story only in part, without actually following Martin Luther’s theology. The Presbyterians who claim Martin Luther was a Reformer are themselves unconvinced of Martin Luther’s version of the gospel and are therefore not confessional Lutherans. The inherent weaknesses of the Reformation become obvious when Protestants only selectively quote from Luther, whilst also denying, or ignoring much of what Luther taught in other areas of faith and morals. Luther is called a reformer, but almost every
Protestant denomination in practice thinks Luther was also wrong on many points.

21) Even if Roman Catholicism is in error, there is no guarantee that either Martin Luther or John Calvin, or any of the Reformers were right, or partially right, and were in fact almost always wrong. Protestantism bears out the logic of the denial of the authority of the Catholic church to guard the deposit of faith. Once denied, the unresolvable problem of authority to bind and loose within Protestantism provides an occasion for real doubt in the veracity of the truth claims of the Reformers and all subsequent denominational teaching.

PM quotes from Romans 1:16-17 to promote Luthers gospel.

Answer - Citing passages in Romans to establish Luther’s gospel does not in fact establish anything. For Luther’s gospel was not heard of prior to Luther inventing his gospel. The scriptures cannot be used to establish the inventions of one man, or of a group of men, apart from Christian tradition. Quoting Rom 1:16-17 does not mean Luther understood what St Paul was really arguing for. Quoting from Romans only assumes Luther’s novel faith alone gospel is contained in Romans, when in fact Romans was written by St Paul to a Roman Catholic faith community in Rome. Those who initially received the letter were Roman Catholics and not Lutherans. So, Paul wrote about the Roman Catholic gospel to be received by Roman Catholics and to be understood in the Roman Catholic sense in accord with Roman Catholic doctrine and practice. Lutheranism is an artificial construct of Martin Luther, forced upon some passages in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians.

PM – Christ is our only redeemer.

Answer – Christ is the only God man who redeemed men through the cross. But Christ’s sufferings are participated in by Christians, making Christians other redeemers by participation (2 Cor 1:6, Col 2:24) as an imitation of Christ (Gal 2:19-20). Sola Christus is an implicit denial of the redemptive role of suffering and merit of Christians.

Question – If one assumes the reformation never happened, where does a Christian find the gospel of justification by faith alone in church history, or at church council?

PM – Christ alone is all we have.

Answer – False. We have the Father, the Holy Spirit, the church, the sacraments, and the saints with us in our journey. Sola Christus is an implicit denial of all of these other helps given to us by God. To deny the power of God affected through the church is to deny Christ is the Messiah. For the Messiah came to restore Israel as the kingdom of priests through the new Exodus. Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heave was a new Exodus, which caused the birth of the new kingdom of priests. The church is the historical institution which can trace its origin back to Christ and the apostles and which has the function of priest to offer sacrifice to God for sins. The doctrine of Christ alone is only another Lutheran invention that promotes a false understanding of what Christ did, what faith is and what salvation is.

PM – The Roman Catholic church has no saving power in it.

Answer – The history of the Roman Catholic faith demonstrates many sinners have been converted into great saints. For example, saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Ambrose, Albert the Great and many others. Luther’s claims are only his claims based upon his own physiological complex derived from his strict childhood.

PM – the gospel is the power of God.

Answer – one of the ironies of the Lutheran gospel is the power of God does not affect righteousness, but only a legal fiction. The Lutheran Christ is an ineffective god who only acts to impute righteousness, without causing righteousness. The Lutheran gospel sadly lacks the power of God.

Question – if the Roman Catholic church does not have the power of God to cause righteousness and justification, why then believe in the Lutheran gospel that expressly teaches men are sinners imputed with righteousness? After all such an imputation is an admission of the lack of the power of God, is it not?

Question – faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone, scripture alone are all mutually exclusive phrases. Why believe in a series of mutually exclusive statements, when none of those phrases are in the scriptures and each phrase excludes the others?

Question – If Presbyterianism is the true faith, then all other Christian believers are in fact, unbelievers. What then happens to all other Christians who do not believe the Presbyterian version of the gospel?

Question – If Presbyterianism is the true faith, then there is statistically only one chance in about 30,000 that a Christian actually believes what God has revealed. All other Protestants are in error on at least one point of doctrine and practice, making all other Protestants believing and acting contrary to the divine will. According to the logic contained within Presbyterianism, Protestantism is a large failure. Why then believe in a system whereby nearly everyone in the system fails to believe and act in accord with God's will?

A Response to a Presbyterian Presentation of the Reformed Doctrine of Sola Scriptora.

The following response was posted on youtube to the presentation on the theme of Sola Scriptora.

Sola Scriptura "Scripture Alone" from the Conference on the Reformation "Solas"

You quote from Matt 15:1-9 and say this is what happens when we do not follow sola scriptora. Yet sola scriptora does not follow if men follow traditions of men. For men may follow human traditions even if sola scriptora is false, for divine revelation may well be in both oral and written form, and both forms are binding.

Quoting from the church fathers to provide evidence for sola scriptora is a fallacy. For the church fathers are not an authority from within the scriptures. So even if the church fathers taught sola scriptora, that teaching begs the question concerning sola scriptora existing within the scriptures. The external witness of the fathers may provide some witness for the doctrine of sola scriptora, but if sola scriptora does not exist in the scriptora then sola scriptora is only a human invention. As sola scriptora is not in the scriptures, then sola scriptora is only a human tradition which is not binding on the believer.

The church fathers also held Apostolic tradition and the binding authority of the church as authorities from God that bind the believer. Why then quote from the church fathers when the church fathers did not hold to sola scriptora?

You say, sola scriptora is not a denial of the authority of the church to teach in Gods name. The authority of the church is subordinate to the scriptures, but it is not an infallible authority and not a God breathed authority on par with scripture.

PM - sola scriptora require a scripture. The NT was not written at the time of Christ and the apostles. sola scriptora refers to the normative time after scripture had been given.

PM - We deny essential truths that were only preached and not written down.

Answer - Some truths presumed by Presbyterianism that were not written down.

1)      The canon of scripture was not written down.

2)      The truth that any text at all was ever written by God was not written down.

3)      The presumption that oral tradition is not binding, or ceased when the scripture was given was not written down.

4)      The authority of men to preach who do not have apostolic succession through sacramental ordination was not written down.

5)      Christ’s intention that the scriptures are understood in accord with sola scriptora after the scriptures are given was not written down.

6)      A clear definition of sola scriptora, which must be derived from the sacred text by believers in sola scriptora.

7)      The four or five solas were never written down, but must be derived from the sacred text using reason by believers. There is no scriptural text that says faith alone, scripture alone, grace alone, or Christ alone.

8)      The principle of private interpretation was not written down.

9)      Denominationalism was not written down.

10)   The Presbyterian understanding of the church was not written down.

11)   The Westminster confession of faith was not written down.

12)   Divorce and remarriage was not written down.

13)   Contraception was not written down.

14)   Faith as an instrument of justification was not written down.

15)   The church (Calvinist version) as the invisible community of the elect was not written down.

16)   The full meaning of every ambiguous scriptural text was not written down.

17)   The cessation of the binding authority of apostolic oral tradition was not written down.

18)   The defectability of the church to teach the true gospel was not written down.

19)   The infallibility of the scriptures was not written down.

20)   The authority of the Reformers was not written down.

21)  The self-authentification of the scriptures was not written down.

22) The denial of extreme unction as a sacrament as taught in James 5.

23) The words spoken that accompany the ordination to the ministry.

24) Presbyterian Canon law that is required to govern the Church.

25) The extent and binding nature of Church councils.

26) The relationship of the scriptures to the Presbyterian liturgy.

27) The affirmation of only two sacraments.

28) The affirmation of the Presbyterian understanding of the Eucharist as only a commemoration meal, without being a sacrifice to the Father.

29) The affirmation of the Presbyterian understanding of baptism those who receive the sacrament are, as not undoubtedly regenerated.

30) The theology of iconoclasm that denies the correct use of icons and statues in Christian worship.

Truths Denied or Ignored by Presbyterianism that were not written down –

1)      The technical theological details of the nature of the Eucharist as transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, or impanation.

2)      The legal details of marriage regarding the circumstances required for a valid marriage, and a valid separation.

3)      The technical theological details of all of the sacraments.

4)      The full details of Christian worship as contained within the liturgy.

5)      The rite of exorcism.

6)      The legal means to perform penance for sin.

7)      The technical theological details of indulgences.

8)      The technical theological details of Mary’s Immaculate conception. For example, the early church that Mary was the second Eve.

9)      The development of doctrine as understood within church history.

10)   The binding nature of apostolic tradition.

11)   The authority of successors from Peter and the other apostles.

12)   The authority of the church of Rome as demonstrated by the consensus and use of such authority to resolve doctrinal issues within church history.

13)   The technical theological details of Mary’s bodily Assumption.

14)   The technical theological details of Mary’s intercessory power.

15)   The technical theological details of the saints intercessory power.

16)   The technical theological meaning of grace.

17)   The existence of Limbo of the infants not baptised.

18)   Explicit teaching on the baptism of infants.

19)   The legal limits of authority within the church.

20)   The binding nature of Church councils over the faithful.

21)   The application and use of Icons and statues.

22)   The union of the scriptures as inspired text with the Christian Eucharistic liturgy.

23)   Explicit teaching on the wounds of original sin.

24)   All of the consequences of sin.

25)   The technical details of the relationships of all of the natural and supernatural virtues. For example the relationships between faith, hope and love, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.

26)   What constitutes a sin in different ages when the circumstances change. For example, men can now have IVF babies, and use diverse forms of contraception which were not discussed within the sacred text. Diverse forms of economic systems and political systems are also now used that are not discussed within the text and do relate to the Christian believer in the modern age.

27) The words spoken that accompany the anointing in James 5 to obtain the forgiveness of sin.

28) The words spoken that accompany the ordination to the priesthood.

PM - Sola scripture means the scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the infallible rule of faith.

Scripture alone is God breathed. To deny Sola scripture means there is something else that is God breathed.

Problems with this version of Sola scripture –

1)      God breathed is undefined, so nobody knows what an inspired text is when it is said to be God breathed as a metaphor.

2)      As God breathed is unknown, then nobody knows if there is no other authority or any other source that is or is not God breathed. The unknown meaning of God breathed infers other sources are also unknown.

3)      If the believer cannot locate another God breathed authority other than the scriptures, it does not follow that that other authority does not exist.

4)      Even if there are no other sources that are God breathed, sola scriptora does not follow. For God may have given other sources of revelation and authority for the believer which have another charism, of say infallibility, or of indefectibility, without that source having been God breathed. Or alternatively, there may be other sources that are God breathed, whereby God breathed is analogous to the God breathed inspiration of the scriptures.

5)      The scriptures witness to the binding nature of tradition (1 Peter 1:25) and the church (Acts 15), so scripture is a strong witness against the scriptures as being the sufficient rule of faith for the believer.

Adherents of sola scriptora must define what God breathed means and show how God breathed is exclusive of any other infallible authority for the believer. And even of God breathed is defined, there is no sola in the scriptural text anway. Quoting from 2 Tim 3:15-16 does not establish the sola of the God breathed text as the sufficient and infallible authoriy for the believer.

Another problem - a sufficient authority of scripture as derived from 2 Tim 3:15-16 is not the same as the only authority. Nor is the union of God breathed with infallible authority establish the scriptures are the only infallible authority.

Another problem -Sola scriptora is poorly defined in this presentation because the doctrine is an error and cannot be properly defined from the text, for from reason.


Another thought further to my prior post above - The minister assumes there must be an early church written witness to a doctrine for that doctrine to be considered as divine revelation, or as an authority over the believer. Yet there is no guarantee that everything believed as from Christ and the apostles was at any time written down. Even the church fathers did not write about every aspect of the faith, so we would expect some, or perhaps much that was only known through oral conversations by the church fathers. The burden of proof is upon those who hold that only that which is written after Christ in the church fathers is the fulness of the content of the faith. If there is no proof then the claim of the exclusive source of he fathers written word is only an empty claim that is not binding on the faithful.

In fact the claim of the minister has no proof, for the fathers did not claim to only believe and be bound from what was only ever written by the fathers. The fathers are in fact a witness to both written and oral traditions which are manifested in church history as known explicitly by church councils. For example, the doctrines of justification and the Eucharist as enunciated by the Council of Trent which ar denied by the Presbyterian minister would be at least in part located in oral tradition of the early and later church.


Presbyterian Minister (PM) - Scripture is self-authenticating. The bible is the standard. Scripture is the standard by which all other measures are judged.

Answer - Scripture is self-authenticating is only a self-serving statement made to prop up the apriori commitment to sola scriptora. There is no evidence that scripture is self-authenticating from the text, nor from reason. A text may be true in all parts and even record miracles, and yet it is a non sequitur that the text was authored by God. This simple truth is enough to undermine the ministers claims.

The bible is the standard - is also another statement without any evidence within the text, or outside the text. The claim that only scripture is God breathed and therefore only scripture is infallible is a non sequitur. For the scriptures bear witness to other authorities other than scripture such as tradition and the church.

PM – The scriptures tell us how to worship God.

Answer – there is only scant directives on how to worship God in the NT. Much of the detail of worship is found in tradition and the binding decrees of the historical church.

PM – There is no doctrine necessary to get into heaven that is not found in the scriptures.

Answer – 1. Sola scriptora, 2. sola fide, 3. sola Christus, 4. sola gratia, 5. the immaculate conception and 6. Mary’s bodily assumption are not explicitly in scripture, but are required to be believed for salvation. 1 to 4 are human traditions the Presbyterians believe are in scripture but are not. 5 and 6 the Presbyterians don’t believe, but are required for salvation. The minister, nor the Presbyterians have no authority to decide what is and is not to be believed for salvation.

PM – sola scriptora means that which is not found in scripture is not binding on the Christian conscience.

Answer – the canon of scripture is not in scripture, so the canon of scripture is not binding on the Christian conscience. See also the prior 20 points in the post below assumed by Presbyterians to be contained within the scriptures, but which are not.

PM – All traditions are subject to the higher authority of scripture.

Answer - the canon of scripture is not in scripture and therefore the canon of scripture is not subject to the authority of scripture.

PM – A tradition other than the scripture makes the bible irrelevant.

Answer – this is a false claim of those who hold to sola scriptora. Matthew 23:1-3 teaches an oral tradition and a binding authority of Moses chair in the OT which was functional at the time of Christ. There were binding oral traditions and authorities other than scripture in the OT, and likewise the same principle applies to the NT church. Tradition and the church are additional beneficial authorities to scripture.

Also, the canon of scripture is a tradition other than the scripture, which according to the Presbyterian minister, makes the scripture irrelevant. That’s one absurd outcome of sola scriptora.

PM – Bowing down to a cross is bowing in front of a graven image.

Answer – the OT principle of idolatry carries forth into the NT. But the image of God is known in Christ and Christians may then make images of Christ to assist worship which are not graven images.

PM – the reason for so many Protestant denominations is not practicing sola scriptora.

Answer – If Protestant denominations do not practice sola scriptora, then who does in fact practice sola scriptora? Do the Baptists practice sola scriptora? What about the Jehovahs Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventists? Who knows who practices sola scriptora when scripture does not tell us who is practicing sola scriptora?

PM – if everyone practiced sola scriptora, everyone would be a Presbyterian.

Answer – The above statement begs the question concerning the truth of Presbyterianism in relation to the content of scripture. Anyone can claim they have the truth in accord with sola scriptora, and that’s why sola scriptora is unworkable and therefore false.

PM – are there any sayings of Jesus in tradition that are not in scripture.

Answer – the canon of scripture as known by Jesus is binding, and is a tradition not in scripture.

Also, Jesus said He would send the Spirit who would lead Christians into all truth. Therefore, through the action of the Holy Spirit, all the truths stated by Christ are known as recorded in tradition and the statements of the church councils. For when the spirit acts, the spirit acts in accord with what Jesus said and did.

Question – If the scriptures are sufficient for the man of God, are the scriptures always formally sufficient, or always materially sufficient, or a combination of formally and materially sufficient? How do you know?

Question – if the canon of scripture is not in scripture, how then was the canon determined?

Question - If there is no authority greater than scripture and the content of scripture is determined by an authority other than scripture (such as the church at council), how can the scriptures have supreme authority when the content is only defined by another authority apart from scripture?

Question – if the content of scripture is determined by the church at council, was that authority infallible or fallible? Please explain.

Question – if the content of scripture is determined by the church at council and the church’s decision is fallible, then don’t believers only have a fallible collection of texts they believe were written by God, when in fact there is no infallible certitude the texts were in fact written by God? Please explain.

Question – if the content of the canon of scripture is not determined by the church at council, who had the authority to determine the canon?

Question – if the content of the canon of scripture is not in scripture, how is the canon of scripture not a tradition of man condemned by the bible itself?

Question – if inspiration is the cause of scripture being the highest authority, was the decision to form the canon inspired, and if so doesn't that mean the scriptures are the canon, plus the decision made to form the canon? Please explain.

Question – if inspiration is the cause of scripture being the highest authority, was the decision to form the canon not inspired, and if so doesn't that mean the scriptures are formed by an authority that is not based upon inspiration? Please explain.

Question – if the canon is formed, based upon a decision and a tradition that was not inspired, then there is an authority(s) for the believer that is not inspired. Therefore how does the believer know of the limits of authority are only determined from what is inspired, as you claim with the inspired text of scripture, when the content of the scriptures are dependent upon uninspired sources?