I don’t have much trouble signing most Evangelical doctrinal statements. Normally, the shorter they are, the better. That is what it means to be Evangelical (at least in the 20th-century understanding of the term). When they get too long, I start to smell a little bit of magisterial institutionalization creeping back into the church. However, every organization has the right to spell out their doctrinal requirements according to their purpose of existence. The Credo House doctrinal statement (to which all employees must adhere) is pretty short. It is definitely Protestant, but we have tried to keep it as broadly Evangelical as we could. I did not even put anything in it about Calvinism! Why? Because it is the purpose of this doctrinal statement to represent the mission of Credo House, not the particular beliefs of Michael Patton.

This week Together for the Gospel (T4G) is holding is annual conference with lots of great stuff and lots of great speakers. I wish I could have been there. Now, I must confess that I don’t really know much about T4G or its exact purpose, but the name seems to suggest that they are purposed to bring a general community back “together” to the centrality of the Gospel message. Who could argue with that? The speakers they have placed on their list this year include C. J. Mahaney, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and Matt Chandler. When you have the likes of Carl Trueman relegated to doing a breakout session, then your list of main speakers must be out of this world! The list is definitely Reformed, so I don’t think T4G is trying to be too broad. Again, this is okay, depending on your purpose.

Many bloggers have been giving updates on the conference and I appreciate it. However, when I looked at Justin Taylor’s blog today, I found myself a bit confused. He posted a link to T4G’s doctrinal statement. I did not get past the first line before I realized that I could not sign it. I am not too particular on many things and I can manipulate some wording so that I am comfortable signing some things. I just don’t ask too many questions. However, the first line in this statement, if I am understanding it correctly, is a disqualifier for me. In fact, I am a bit confused that those who signed it could do so in good conscience as Evangelicals.

Here are the signers:

Here is the doctrinal statement in the form of affirmation and denials.

So, with what in the statement did I disagree, since I agreed with most of it? There are a few things here and there which give me some problems, but I don’t care to discuss those right now. The primary thing that I want to talk about is the first line in the first affirmation:

“We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.”

I am not sure if you caught it, but it is something very important. I disagree that the Bible is the “sole authority for the Church.” No, I am not denying sola Scriptura. I believe very deeply in the authority of the Scripture. In fact, I think it is a key issue in Christianity. However, sola Scriptura does not and has never meant that the Scripture is the “sole” authority for the church. Sola Scriptura means that the Scripture is the final and only infallible authority for the individual and the church in matters of faith and practice. But it is not the only authority. There are many other authorities. Protestant Christians believe that tradition, reason, and (many times) experience are lesser authorities to which individual Christians must submit. Are they fallible authorities? Yes, but they are authorities nonetheless.

Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, spoke of three of these while defending himself at Worms in his great “Here I Stand” speech:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture.”

Notice that Scripture and reason (“or by evident reason”) are authorities in his life. As well, though he understands that traditions (“popes and councils”) have “contradicted themselves,” he does still respect these as authorities (as evidence from the word “alone” after “pope and councils”). From statements such as these we construct what we call “Luther’s Trilateral.” Luther believed in three sources of authority for the church: Scripture, reason, and tradition. Of these, the Scripture is the final and only infallible source. We often express it in this way: the Scripture is the norma normans sed non normata (“norm that norms which is not normed”). Another way to put it is that the Scripture is the source that judges all other sources and is not judged by them.

John Wesley, the great Arminian evangelist, held to four sources, often called the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral.” Like Luther, he believed that the Bible is the final and only infallible source, but he also believed in the authority of reason and tradition. To these he added one more: experience. I am not sure Luther would have necessarily disagreed with this, but my point is not to enter into that debate. My point is to show that the phrase “the sole authority for the Church is the Bible” is not within the best traditions of Reformed Protestantism. In fact, it would be more associated with the “radical reformation” which has been, for the most part, repudiated by traditional Protestants for, among other things, their outright rejection of tradition as an authority.

Think of it another way: Without tradition being an authority we would not even have the Scriptures themselves, as it is only through tradition that we know what Scripture is actually Scripture. The Scriptures have no place where there is an inspired list telling us which books belong in the Scripture (we call this the “canon” of Scripture). It is through the traditions of the church that we know which books are the final authority. Therefore, tradition must be an authority to some degree.

Now, much of Fundamentalism has been known to mistakenly define sola Scriptura in a way that appears as if Scripture is the sole authority.  I get that. Have you ever heard someone say “If it ain’t in the Bible, then I don’t believe it”? But this is not Evangelical. Even R.C. Sproul says the belief that the Scripture is the “sole authority” is not sola Scriptura, but nuda Scriptura (nothing but the Scripture). (See this work for a good history of sola Scriptura.) In fact, this is one of the main distinctions between the Puritans and the Anglicans. The Puritans were more inclined to believe that Scripture was the only authority for the Church. The Anglicans were not. This is where I really appreciate the historic Anglican church. I think they were on the right side of the debate here. (See this work for a more definitive distinction between Puritans and  Anglicans on this issue.)

If you are still not convinced, think of all the places where the Scriptures themselves speak of other authorities for the Christian. Parents are in authority over their children (Eph. 6:1). Husbands are in authority over their wives (Eph. 5:22). People are to submit to the authority of the government, since there is “no authority which is not from God” (Rom. 13:1). And the Scripture even talks about the church (elders) being in authority over its members: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls” (Heb. 13:17). If elders/pastors were not an authority in the church, how could we ever hope to practice church discipline? Of course all of these other authorities (parents, husbands, government, elders) are fallible, as are reason and experience. But this does not mean that they are irrelevant. One does not have to be infallible to be in authority.

It is for this reason that I don’t think I could sign the T4G doctrinal statement. Of course, these are all smart chaps (much more so than me!) and must know this. Therefore, I think I may be misunderstanding what they mean when they say, “We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible.” I just wish it was worded differently. But, as it stands, I could not sign the T4G doctrinal statement in good conscience.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    119 replies to "A Disagreement I Think I Have with Together For the Gospel"

    • Craig Bennett

      Wow..big statement. 🙂 I wouldn’t sign it either. But then again I have deep reservations about the TG4 and the restless reformed movement…Btw..kudus for not making the Credo House statement of faith a Calvinistic statement…

    • John

      Personally I find it wryly ironic that a group dedicated to only being about gathering around the Gospel would include in their DS a statement on complementarianism. (mea culpa: I am complementarian) How is that the Gospel? Why is it important enough to put in the DS of the organization?

    • C Michael Patton

      John, I am with you there too. Interesting. That is why I am not sure I quite understand their purpose.

    • Leslie


      Thanks for bringing up this important issue. I usually think of the Wesleyan quadrilateral as a good basis for thinking through these kinds of things, but I also assume the Holy Spirit is present in all decision-making.

      It seems to me that by making the Bible the “sole” authority, the writers and drafters of this document run the risk of replacing belief in an active, trinitarian God with belief in the Bible.

      Thanks for taking a stand here.

    • David McKay

      The bit that gets me scratching my head is where some of these geezers who band together won’t share the Lord’s Supper together [but i think that’s The Gospel Coalition, not this group].
      I’m with John Piper on that one.

    • David Onder

      In the vast majority of examples you provided, I would still say the Bible is the authority. For example, parents may be an authority for children, and as you stated, are fallible ones at that. When they are fallible, maybe it is because they are not adhering to the Bible as the authority in their lives (or maybe don’t understand it enough to adhere to it). So I can see almost all authority leading back to the Bible (being the final authority seems to me to mean that it is the only necessary authority).

      The one wrinkle you mentioned, is tradition. Since we would not have the Bible without tradition, maybe that is a lesser authority in some way.

      Interesting thoughts. I will have to ponder this more in the coming days.


    • Kim

      I wonder if it was brought to their attention, whoever ‘they’ are meaning the drafters and approvers of the statement, if they would modify how it is written? I think it is a mistake in wording. Only the ‘living under a rock’ class of Fundamentalist when pushed! would say that scripture is the ‘only’ authority. In an ironic way the Fundamentalist that would insist scripture is the only authority would probably be one with a long list of do’s and don’ts still hopped up from shouting down his deacons at his last board meeting. Nice catch though! Way to turn the tables on taking a stand on what not sign, I wouldn’t have seen it. And nice use of the catch in making a good point.

    • Kim

      If I had caught the mistake, and was a man 🙂 I still would have signed. I’m trying to imagine how something could go awry from it. How could that be inforced on what authority?

    • Doug Smith

      David Onder makes a good point about all authority leading back to the Bible. Ultimately I think this is correct. Traditions, experience and other sources of authority must be subordinated to Scripture. But I think experience tells us that in some cases we don’t yet have a perfect understanding, or at least application, of Scripture. If we did there would not be as many theological differences among equally yoked Christians. Other sources (like tradition et, al) help with the understanding and applicability and therefore become sources of authority.

      Another thought… it’s interesting in that first statement that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are excluded as authorities. I trust that their intent is to say that the Bible as the authority automatically assumes Jesus’ authority (Eph. 5:23), but again I get stuck on the “sole authority” statement.

    • Rick

      What is the real point of any of this, beside to have a snazzy conference?

    • […] 12, 2012 in Theology with 0 Comments Michael Patton has a post about what sola Scriptura means and if it means what the T4G says, “the sole authority for the […]

    • Nate Rinne

      Very interesting post. From the Lutheran Martin Chemnitz’s Examination of the Council of Trent (from the 1560s – was well-known by Protestants at the time), we can gather this:

      “The concept of a contemporaneous existence of the Word of God in a corrupted verbal form, and a pure written form, spawned Chemnitz’s explanation of traditiones in the second locus, De traditionibus. Here he lists the first of eight different types of traditiones as Scripture itself, i.e. the things that Christ and the Apostles preached orally and were later written down. Then follows: 2) the faithful transmission of the Scriptures; 3) the oral tradition of the Apostles (which by its very nature must agree with the contents of the New Testament canon); 4) the proper interpretation of the Scriptures received from the Apostles and “Apostolic men”; 5) dogmas that are not set forth in so many words in Scripture but are clearly apparent from a sampling of texts; 6) the consensus of true and pure antiquity;…

    • Nate Rinne

      …7) rites and customs that are edifying and believed to be Apostolic, but cannot be proved from Scripture. Chemnitz rejects only the eighth kind of tradition: [8] traditions pertaining to faith and morals that cannot be proved with any testimony of Scripture; but which the Council of Trent commanded to be accepted and venerated with the same reverence and devotion as the Scripture. The important element of this last of the traitiones appears not to be the fact that such traditions of faith and morals not provable from Scripture actually existed, but that their status of equality with Scripture was foisted upon the church by the Council of Trent.” P. Strawn, Cyril of Alexandria as a Source for Martin Chemnitz, in Die Patristik in der Bibelexegese des 16. Jahrhunderts, Wolfenbu”ttleler Forschungen, Bd. 85, Hrsg. v. David C. Steinmetz, Wiesbaden 1999, p. 213-14.

    • Nate Rinne

      In a debate with the Roman Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong***, I focused on tradition number 8, the *only* one Chemnitz rejected. Notice the argument of Paul Strawn: the fact that these traditions existed was not necessarily the problem. The problem was that these traditions regarding faith and morals which were not provable from Scripture were to be regarded as equal to those clearly demonstrable from Scripture. I take this to mean that they were to be considered central or essential teachings – i.e. as going hand in hand with the rule of faith – and that a refusal to acknowledge them at such (see p. 296 of the Examen, v. 1) would result in separating one’s self from the Church, and therefore Christ. This Chemnitz rightly rejected (see p. 269 and 306 of the Examen, v. 1)

      ***-http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/my-reply-to-rc-apologist-dave-armstrong-regarding-his-examination-of-martin-chemnitzs-examination/ (there were 2 other rounds to this debate)

    • Irene

      I’ve heard a lot about this sola/solo issue lately. I don’t own a copy of Mathison’s book, but I am curious about the history of this issue…could someone please put in a nutshell for me—how long has this been debated? Or, when was this distinction made-hundreds of years ago or in relatively modern times? I guess Calvin was a pretty big church authority guy, wasn’t he.

    • Scott Wallace

      This seems like straining out a gnat to me. I have read and listened to enough of these guys materials to know that the very points of contention you have brought up are ones they embrace. I have to wonder if there isn’t another unspoken objection. No offense, I appreciate you and T4G!

    • david carlson

      I think they would explain the nuda scriptura reference by saying, well, all those things you mentioned are in the scripture, so therefore we are right – only scripture.

      The fundis amoung them would go futher and start drawing fences saying only what is specifically mentioned are legitimate other authorities.

    • ScottL

      That is what it means to be Evangelical (at least in the 20th-century understanding of the term).

      CMP –

      That’s the problem. You’re still working with a 20th century paradigm, rather than 21st. 😀

    • ScottL

      Now for a real comment. 🙂

      CMP –

      I know you argued that sola scriptura points to Scripture as the final and only infallible authority, rather than the sole authority for the Christian. And, normally, people say that solo (with an “o”) scriptura is about Scripture being the sole authority. But this is where I have a problem with the wording.

      Think of some of the other 5 solas:

      Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
      Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
      Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
      Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

      In each of these, the word sola (or its derivative) points to that of alone. So why would one not interpret just that with sola scriptura….Scripture alone?

      This is why I prefer prima scriptura. Start in Scripture, but it might not be the only or final authority, as it is not a how-to manual on all topics, both of normal life and Christian belief/practise.

      Hope that makes sense.

    • C Michael Patton

      Scott, I agree.

      I think that the spirit of sola Scriptura is really prima scriptura. However, some, especially in the Catholic (some) and Orthodox tradition, do believe that the Scripture can be the final or ultimate authority, but not the only infallible authority. In other words, there are other authorities that are infallible but not equal to Scripture. I don’t really know how to process that. And some would refer to this view as prima Scriptura.

      Nevertheless, Thomas Aquinas was on our side! 🙂

      …[S]acred doctrine…properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. (Summa 1.1.8)

    • C Michael Patton

      Oh, and just so I don’t leave the East out:

      Gregory of Nyssa:
      “Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.” (On the Holy Trinity, NPNF, p. 327)

      Kaboom. Bring it baby.

    • Carrie

      The Eastern Fathers measured their doctrine up to Scripture? What? Really? They held to sola Scriptura as we understand it today?

      Kaboom is right!

      Nice one boss man!

    • C Michael Patton

      Oh, allow me one more. Basil:

      “We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers.  What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.” (On the Holy Spirit, 7.16)

      Love it.

    • Michael

      What if we assumed one word?

      “We affirm that the sole authority for the (universal) Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.”

      Is one person’s reason or experience the authority over the universal church? Is Calvin’s reason, or Luther’s experience, or Wesley’s tradition an authority over the universal Church? Is the Anglican tradition an authority over the universal church? Are the elder’s of my local church an authority over the universal church? Are my parents authorities over my local church even?

    • Luke Geraty

      Though I am a “card-carrying” Calvinist, I think T4G should change to T4OG – Together for our Gospel.

      Yes, that’s tongue-in-cheek, but it seems rather apparent that their concept of gospel is rather narrow. It’s one of the reasons I’m more comfortable with the Gospel Coalition, as they are a bit more “diverse,” and I’m more comfortable that Keller and Carson won’t go too fundie on us. Ha ha!

    • C Michael Patton

      Yeah, it is hard. Almost all of the Evangelical conferences which are theological in nature are Calvinistic. Almost all the Evangelical conferences that are apologetic in nature are Arminian. And almost all of the conferences that are leadership in nature don’t have much of a theology.

      There has got to be a better way to bring Evangelicals together!

    • @CMP: You are in good form today! Love your quotes from a few Fathers, and of course Luther! 🙂 I like the term ‘prima scriptura’ also, but so often “theolog’s” just press their own agenda anyway, and change or press the proper definitions!

      The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is sweet to my mind! I am blessed to be a historic Anglican! Btw, I just picked-up (yesterday) at a small used book store, a few mint older Eerdman’s hardbacks (with dustjackets) of the grand old Anglican, W.H. Griffith Thomas…his Roman’s, The Apostle John (Studies In His Life And Writings), and Acts. (I had, had them in paper) This is best for Sermon material! It’s like they were in a time machine..they are so clean, like-new for there age! Yeah, I am “stoked”! 😉

    • Daniel Eaton

      I’ve seen “sole authority” as a straw man for Sola Scriptura by some non-protestants before, but this is the first time I’ve seen major evangelicals take the bait.

    • Irene

      Hmm…I don’t think it’s as simple as “kaboom”.

      I am mindful that your education dwarfs mine, but it just seems to me that you are confusing the Fathers with Divine Revelation. Of course the fathers are fallible. Divine Revelation (Jesus) is transmitted to us through Scripture and Tradition. The fathers and “Tradition” are not the same thing. Maybe one could say that the fathers provide us an “echo” of revelation.

      Here’s another Aquinas:
      The formal object of faith is Primary Truth as manifested in Holy Scripture and in the teaching of the Church which proceeds from the Primary Truth. hence, he who does not embrace the teaching of the Church as a divine and infallible law does not possess the habit of faith’ [from Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 5, a. 3]

    • Btw, it is here that every Reformational and Reformed pastor-teacher should have a copy of Richard Muller’s book, the – Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology! Also I wish I could give everyone a copy of W.H. Griffith Thomas’s book: The Principles Of Theology, An Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles, 547 pages! (But I fear long OP now?) My copy is hardback, 1963. Sad so many fine books are now out-of-print!

    • C Barton

      Article 1 is subtle enough that I would have missed it; however, when you consider that the word, “affirm” means to agree with the validity of something, you’ve got to be sure that the “something” is evident from the Scriptures. The Scriptures say they are profitable for doctrine, etc., which implies a working-out of proper belief and practices, which in turn might become traditions in the Church, etc., but all are subject to the final authority of the Scriptures used to formulate them.
      And frankly, it seems a little weird that all the “We deny” statements sound like a polemic against the “Emergent Church” doctrines disputed so hotly today.
      I wouldn’t sign it.

    • “Tradition is either an exposition of apostolic doctrine, or an addition to it. If an exposition, how is it to be shown that the Reformation branch of the Church was wrong. If an addition, what becomes of the claim for the apostolicity of all Catholic doctrine?” (P.T. Forsyth, The Principle of Authority, page 359, Note.)

      And as WH Griffith Thomas writes: “Thus, insecurity of tradition constitutes the supremacy of the Bible the charter of spiritual freedom. It is a great mistake to think that the function of the Church is settle definitely evey question of difficulty as it arises, for no trace can be found of any such view, either in Scripture, or in the Creeds, or in the early Church history.”

    • The grave problem with signing or not signing these kind of so-called Evangelical Statements, is of course the question: Do they really have any anthority? Note the Chicago statement! No doubt there is truth there, but perhaps it presses truth too far, or into kind of a box?

      But then of course, as has been mentioned what do we do with the “emergents”? Again, the Church is always a Pilgrim Body of earth, we all return over and over to the Text of Holy Scripture, rather than our human creeds alone, not throwing them out, no, but still returning to the Holy Writ itself, as we read our creeds. Here I love John Frame’s ethical triad: ‘God’s goovernance of our ethical life: revelation, providence, presence. (DCL, 24.)

    • *governance

    • Paul Owen

      Having read through the list of affirmations and denials, it is clear that they are skewed by the need to incorporate “Reformed Baptist” approaches to ecclesiology and the sacraments. Baptists and Reformational Catholics (i.e. Protestants) cannot “Stand Together” for the gospel (in the robust sense as one visible body of Christ on earth) until they can agree (just to give a few examples):

      1. What constitutes a Holy Order (i.e. a valid ordination to preach and minister).
      2. What baptism is, upon whom it is to be administered, and what role it plays in salvation.
      3. What the Lord’s supper is, how it operates as a means of grace, and what role it plays in salvation.
      4. What is the status of infants within the Church.
      5. What the Church is to start with. How is it constituted, what form does it take, and who are its members.
      6. What role the Scriptures play in relation to theological definition and the catholic and patristic tradition.

    • Dave Z

      They lost me before the first article, when they used the introduction to talk about how the Gospel is in danger, but take heart! T4G is here to make sure the gates of hell don’t prevail. “Here we come to save the day!” (Yeah, I’m old)

      @Rick in comment 10: it’s a lot more convenient to pat each other on the back when you’re together at the same conference.

    • david carlson

      it’s no Nicene Creed

    • […]  Michael Patton at Pen and Parchment) Share […]

    • John Cordero

      After reading the Credo House doctrinal statement, I’m not sure if I could agree with it in its present wording, primarily because I believe that Christ is in heaven making “intercession” for man, not in a period between two academic sessions (intersession).

      In all serious, though, I appreciate the distinction you made in your post.

    • Jugulum


      Can you clarify what you meant about the canon of Scripture and tradition?

      For instance, to pick a phrasing out of thin air, would you agree that it is God who expended “the necessary effort to make sure that the church receives the blessing and gift he has given to us in Scripture”? i.e., It is God who ensured that the body of Christ would know which books are inspired? And Isaiah 55:11 is a basis for our confidence in this?

      And when God worked to establish our knowledge of the canon, He did so without conferring or creating any special authority in the extrabiblical traditions of the Church? His work to establish the canon doesn’t imply we should put extra weight in extrabiblical traditions & church pronouncements?

      We should evaluate tradition in general as historically-passed-down ideas from fellow Christians? Potentially true, but not having any particular divine authority?

    • Jugulum

      P.S. Would you say your comment about tradition had to do with the historical manuscripts & other documents that were passed down to us? The fallible documents that report the results of the work God did? These listings are fallible, but nonetheless accurately reflect God’s infallible knowledge of which books He actually did inspire? Were you referring to these fallible documents as “tradition”?

      Either way, instead of me asking leading questions, can you clarify in your own words what you meant by saying that these traditions have authority?

    • Michael J. Svigel

      Yes, the language in article 1 is a bit unfortunate at that specific point. But I can’t imagine that anybody who signed that would actually deny that Jesus Christ is the Head (authority!) of the Church, right? (an assertion logically denied if Scripture is literally the SOLE authority.) Lesson learned: We should just stick with language like “final authority in all matters of faith and practice.” Whenever we start to get creative with our doctrinal statement language rather than simply adopting consensual or “tried and true” expressions, we end up in these kinds of pickles.

    • C Michael Patton


      What I am talking about is the rule of faith and the Vincentian Canon. While there is much more to this than the canon, such as the articulations of Nicea, it stand guard to the Scripture. In this sense it is a definite authority.

      Hope that helps.

    • Pete again

      @David Carlson, LOL!

      @CMP, you quoted Basil the Great, who’s Liturgy I attended today. We heard A LOT of Scripture during those 2 hours.

      I think this T4G is fooling themselves if they do not think that they have a “tradition”. Of course they do; every church does. And the most important “tradition” is “interpretation of the Scriptures”!

      As you point out, the early Church of the 4th & 5th centuries assembled the current canon of the New Testament. We all believe (I hope!) that they were guided by the Holy Spirit.

      “Then why did you kiss an icon of Mary the Theotokos today in church, Pete? That’s not in the Bible!”, you may ask. My response: the eastern church (incl Basil) believes in the Incarnation as an part of our Salvation, specifically Jesus assuming our human nature. Who did God select, out of billions, for his human nature? Mary. She must have been very holy! (Luther agreed). That’s why we venerate her. Anyway, that is all in the Bible…via Orthodox…

    • C Michael Patton

      And Jug, to answer your first question: yes! God’s sheep hear his voice. I think the canon of Scriptire is very organic.

    • C Michael Patton

      I have had two people write to me and say that this was brought up in an open discussion at T4G and they clarified that they did not mean “sole”.

    • Jesse

      Good discussion on the topic; but, I have to adopt James White’s opinion that if the canon formed-up within an historical tradition and not by supernatural selection then the Roman Catholic like myself can take down sola scriptura without a lot of effort.

    • Canon Fodder

      […] at the Parchment and Pen blog, Michael Patton has objected to the statement of faith of Together for the Gospel (T4G), particularly as it pertains to the […]

    • @Michael: Not sure if I have shared this link before? So forgive me if this repeats itself, but here is a nice and somewhat older link about the Vincentian Canon/Rule & Anglicanism.


    • R David

      CMP wrote:

      “Almost all of the Evangelical conferences which are theological in nature are Calvinistic. Almost all the Evangelical conferences that are apologetic in nature are Arminian. And almost all of the conferences that are leadership in nature don’t have much of a theology.”

      That is an interesting observation and you should do a post on that situation.

    • Indeed the balance and even education of today’s theological churchmen are questionable? As I have said and noted, the Judeo-Christian culture has taken a beating today, especially as many Christian reformed label themselves “postmodern”.

    • Darlene


      Quoting from St. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa does not boost or give credence to the Protestant position. Both of these men understood the Church to be something quite different from the Protestant Reformers – one reason being that there were no Protestants in existance during their lifetimes. Their understanding of ecclesiology was both incarnational and mystical (as in its Christian definition).

      As an Orthodox Christian, we honor both St. Basil and St. Gregory as men who had the authority to teach within the Church. However, the Church they knew, and the Church that the Orthodox understand her to be is not fragmented into various confessions and beliefs as to the meaning of Holy Scripture. The interpretation of Holy Scripture must be perceived and discerned from the mind of the Church, that life that has existed within her for 2,000 yrs. and which gave her the authority to come together in Ecumenical Councils, declaring doctrine and exposing/refuting heresy.

    • Brendt Wayne Waters

      I’m really confused. Doesn’t saying “sole authority” stand in direction opposition to continuationism? I thought that Mahaney was the poster boy for reformed continuationism. How could he sign this?

    • Jugulum

      Brendt: As worded, yes. But based on the reported feedback during the open TGC session, it sounds like they meant it the same way that CMP understands sola Scriptura: “Sole infallible authority”, not “sole authority of any kind”.

      And as I understand it, Mahaney believes in the same kind of “fallible prophecy” that Wayne Grudem & John Piper believe in.

    • Brendt Wayne Waters

      Jugulum, thanks for the clarification. It’s encouraging that they apparently didn’t mean “nuda”. It’s discouraging that they were that sloppy, though.

      And I don’t say that lightly. It has been my observation that many in the reformed movement claim “sola”, but seem to actually believe “nuda”. It’s a shame that an important document would further enable this misconception.

    • Jesse

      If the Bible is not the exclusive authority, what other sources are justified is using? Let me know, so that I can give the Roman Catholic counter argument. From my perspective, the Protestant has no objection to reliance on a long list of extra-Biblical sources, so long as they don’t resemble ‘romanism’.

    • Chad Moore

      This point was clarified during a panel discussion at T4G (I was present). Mohler expanded on that article to say that they had not intended to say that Scripture was a “naked” authority and that there were no other valid authorities which inform faith and practice. The intent was to trumpet the same Reformation call to sola Scriptura.

    • Jesse

      If the Scripture isn’t the only authority, then you have no objection to my use of Papal Bulls and the Magesterium’s interpretaions of the Bible, correct?

    • Curt Parton

      If the Scripture isn’t the only authority, then you have no objection to my use of Papal Bulls and the Magesterium’s interpretaions of the Bible, correct?

      As long as they are evaluated according to Scripture, Scripture being held as the final and only infallible authority, and are corrected by Scripture wherever contradictory—have at it! 😉

    • Irene

      Curt just said, “As long as they are evaluated according to Scripture, Scripture being held as the final and only infallible authority, and are corrected by Scripture wherever contradictory—have at it! ;)”

      Ok-great! Now as we read these documents, who shall sound the buzzer when Scripture is contradicted? Shall you, Curt, or shall Jesse? No, of course not. We need a more deeply rooted authority. A church body. A Sola Scriptura church body. How about the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod? It is very conservative and trustworthy. Or maybe the Evangelical Free Church of America? They are on fire for God. Who will blow the whistle when someone misunderstands Scripture? If we read the Bible and the papal bulls side by side, who shall be the judge between them?

      Not intending to be snarky, just sarcastic. Any appeal to Scripture is an appeal to an interpretation of Scripture. It’s absolutely unavoidable.

    • C Michael Patton

      All things in life are open to interpretation. If we were to appeal to a pope past or living magisterium, it would be an appeal to our interpretation of such and subject to the same misunderstandings. But I don’t think things are so bleak. We can appeal to scripture as it is guarded by the consensus fideum. That way we have multiple checks and balances which create a degree of authority even when the Scripture is final.

    • mbaker

      i think sometimes we can over argue the gospel on both sides. To me, that is often more of a distraction, and I’ve often wondered if perhaps non-believers see the continuing contradictions among ourselves as more of promoting the bad news about the differences in Christianity as we practice it nowadays, than the Good News about Christ.

      Just saying. Something to think about.

    • Irene

      Hello Mr Patton,

      About your last comment: Interpreting the Scriptures and interpreting the Magisterium are not subject to the same misunderstandings. A magisterium can “talk back” and explicitly correct or affirm our interpretations. It can teach now, in the present, serving as its own interpreter.

      (Scripture can’t truly interpret Scripture in Sola Scriptura, because of having a fallible canon. You can’t know if there is an essential chapter or book missing, or if something is included that really shouldn’t be.)

    • Indeed, for Protestants, especially the Reformed, just as Roman Catholics and the EO cannot understand, or really accept, the idea of Sola Scriptura, we Reformed don’t see the idea of a so-called living Magisterium! For the historical Church is always just a fallible, and Pilgrim reality! This was really what Luther stood against with the papacy. And only the Holy Spirit is the true ‘Vicar of Christ’!

    • Curt Parton

      The problem, Irene, is that there is considerable debate about the meaning of things such as Papal Encyclicals. A Magisterium just doesn’t solve the problem. I agree with you that (proper) interpretation is necessary—but that’s just as true for the Roman Catholic as it is for anyone else. If perspicuity is a problem for the evangelical [I wouldn’t agree that it is], then the RC faces the same problem.

      Your question of who is going to provide the authoritative interpretation assumes the need for such. You’re evaluating an evangelical’s brief comment based on RC (I assume) presuppositions. I think Michael is exactly right with his appeal to the consensus fideum. Evangelicals actually could enjoy much greater unity in the essentials of the faith; instead we tend to squabble and divide over nonessential doctrines. This is a problem with us not the Scriptures. And I don’t see the RCC enjoying perfect doctrinal harmony among her thinkers and leaders. Why not, I wonder?

    • Pete again

      Fr. Robert,

      EOs can “understand” sola scriptura. Christians who take the Sciptures out of context and interpret them through through their own individual understanding is what the historical Church has been dealing with for almost 2,000 years. These are called “heresies”, which St. Paul preached against.

      “Heresies” has an ugly connotation for Protestants, but really, in Greek all it means is “choice”. The individual has made the “choice” to follow their own interpretation instead of following the tradition of the Church.

      You know better than most on this blog that the gulf between EOs and Protestants is huge, more so than with the RCC, simply because we approach issues (sin, salvation, etc) from TOTALLY different directions, with different definitions for almost EVERY term.

      I enjoy reading this blog, and it is clear that Calvanists (and the entire western church) sees Christianity through a lens that it radically different than in the east. Agree?

    • Jesse

      @ Mr. Robert [see, April 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm]

      The Early Fathers wouldn’t understand or accept the innovation of sola scriptura, either. I am as interested in Luther as I am in Joseph Smith.

    • @Mr. Jesse: That is a very ignorant statement to my mind, as Luther held closely to the Nicene “homoousios”, and of course Joseph Smith did not!

    • @Pete: No, I would not agree with your hypothesis! Certainly on the subject of Tradition and Holy Scripture there is a vast difference between the EO and even Anglicanism. But Anglicans believe strongly in the First Three Creeds: Nicene, Athanasius, and the Apostles Creed. And here it is the EO, who have made the wrong “choice” on Holy Scipture and its authority! Right Protestants simply believe in the Ecclesia semper reformada, the choice and change is always by “spirit & truth”!

    • Pete again

      OK Fr. Robert, name just one EO doctrine where where our tradition contradicts Holy Scriputre?

      And remember…our Holy Scripture is the exact same canon as the 1st century Church used, which includes the Greek Septuagint Old Testament.

    • Pete again

      Fr. Robert, do you know what concept CAN NOT be found in the Holy Scriptures? “Ecclesia semper reformada”.

      1 Timothy 3:15 I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH.

    • @Pete: I am so glad you mentioned the Greek Stepuagint. Though we don’t fully know why and when the traslation was originally done, it is clear that it became the “Bible” of Greek-speaking Jews, and later Christians. But it is also worth noting that the Septuagint differs from the Hebrew text, and the order of the Biblical Books is not the same. The “threefold division of the Hebrew canon into the Law, Prophets, and the Writings” is not followed in the LXX. And of course several books not found in the Hebrew are included in the LXX or Septuagint. And obviously these books are known as the Apocrypha in the English Bible. And though the so-called Apocrypha rejected by Protestants as non-canonical, they.. and especially the Wisdom Books are read for their literary and even spiritual/wisdom sense. We could also note the different Jewish historical groups, that did not read or use the Apocrypha.

      As to 1 Tim. 3:15, the Church is, as the Greek word “Hedraioma”, a support, “stay”…

    • Irene

      Hi Curt,
      I disagree. Admittedly, the CC needs to do a better job of communication. But interpreting the magisterium and interpreting scripture is not at all the same thing.
      Take Michael’s original post here as an example/analogy. What was written in the T4G doctrinal statement of faith was misunderstood (understandably).  It took someone closer to the source to clarify and say what was really meant.  And this is a contemporary document, with no historical, cultural, etc fog to see through!  How much more so we need someone with God-given authority  to explain the Scriptures to us!  What if Michael had said, “No, I have to go by what was written as the final authority. I can’t trust that you have any kind of authority to say otherwise.” ? 

      Granted, this T4G document isn’t inerrant like Scripture, but inerrancy doesn’t mean not subject to misinterpretation. Remember Peter’s warning about Paul’s writings in 2Pet 3:16.

    • Irene

      Fr Robert, could you rewrite that part above about1 Tim 3:15? It got lost in the character count malfunction.

    • PS..Pete, ran out of characters! 😉 The verse in 1 Tim. 3:15, simply does not support the idea that the Church “Itself” is the TRUTH, but it is the “stationary” place where truth does come forth as a basis, and even “fixed stay”. But in the context in 1 Tim. 3:15, it is more the “local church or assembly”. Again, a support and mainstay, to the Word and Revelation of God itself, but technically NOT the maker of that WORD, itself! Of course this is the now Reformational, Protestant and Reformed position. But both Luther and Calvin, as the other top-tier Reformers also thought of the Church as Catholic!

    • Pete again

      @ Fr. Robert

      “Though we don’t fully know why and when the traslation was originally done”. Yes we do, it was translated in the 3rd century BC in Alexandria because Jews around the world spoke much more Greek more than Hebrew.

      “the order of the Biblical Books is not the same”. Right, because the Hebrew canon was set by the Jews in the 2nd century AD. The “Christian Bible” canon was set in the 3rd century BC.

      “And of course several books not found in the Hebrew are included in the LXX or Septuagint”. Yes, the JEWS didn’t like the Maccabees (too political) and other books. But the CHRISTIANS of the 1st & 2nd centuries were OK with them. Who do you want to follow?

      “And obviously these books are known as the Apocrypha”. That is YOUR label. The early Christians considred the Septuagint the “Holy Scriptures”.

      In Luke 4, Jesus teaches in the synagogue using the Septuagint Old Testament.

      St. Paul used the Septuagint as a reference multiple times in Hebrews.

    • @Pete: “Although it is not completely understood either when or why the translation was originally done, it is clear that it in large measure reflects the common language of the period..” (From the Preface of The Septuagint With Apocrypha: Greek and English, by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, (Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd, London, 1851 / First reprint in 1986, Hendrickson) *I have a Bagster edition myself also.

      Of course the name derives from the tradition that it (LXX) was made by seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy (285-247 B.C.) But the again “compete” reason is not really known, fully!

    • Jugulum

      Pete again,

      Sorry, perhaps you know something I don’t. What’s the evidence that the Jesus & the author of Hebrews used a manuscript of the Septuagint that included the Aprocrypha?

    • Jugulum

      Pete again,

      Also note that Protestants are “OK” with the Apocrypha, too–just not as God-breathed, but rather as human-produced religious literature, useful for edification. Like Jerome.

    • PS..St. Paul also loves in fact, to quote free Hebrew texts in his Letters! > See, btw, Steve Moyise’s 2010 Baker book: Paul and the Scripture, Studying the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

    • Curt Parton

      Hi Irene,
      I’m not sure of the focus of your disagreement. I’m not suggesting that inerrancy (or perspicuity) renders Scripture impervious to misinterpretation. Yes, there’s a contemporary aspect of the Magisterium. But do you not agree that magisterial pronouncements must also be interpreted? Granted the possibility for clarification, but has this removed all ambiguity? Is there no doctrinal debate or conflict within the RCC? And if there is, why?

      I don’t advocate ignoring the interpretation of others in the church (today or throughout history), making Scripture alone our authority. (This goes back to Michael’s original concern.) I don’t want to dismiss the work of RC scholars. But I also see no reason to enthrone them. Because the RCC presumed the authority to give the interpretation of Scripture, through much of church history we essentially had sola ecclesia. I see no reason to accept the interpretation of the RCC as infallible.

    • Irene

      Fr Robert, I like your #26 (page 2) above! Now we are getting to the heart of it, and coming ’round full circle to what the original post was about–the interplay between authorities!

      I actually agree with most of what you said! A support and mainstay, yes, but not the maker of that Word itself. Indeed! As a Catholic, I don’t believe the Church has a power above Jesus, or separate from Jesus. The only authority the Church has is the authority Jesus *gave* her, as the Scriptures say. She doesn’t add to revelation or subtract from revelation (give me a pass here on development of doctrine, because that’s a whole different issue), but she guards it as a treasure. She is not the origin of revelation, but, by the grace of God and the protection of the Holy Spirit, is the faithful keeper and minister of
      revelation. She is where we go to find the Truth–as you said, the place where Truth does come forth.

    • Curt Parton

      I wrote that last comment from an admittedly Western perspective. But when we factor in the Eastern Church, it prompts even more questions. How could there have ever been schism in a Church that believed in the Church’s ability to infallibly interpret Scripture? It seems either the Eastern or Western Church is not infallible. Does this not at least potentially call into question the whole notion of an infallible Church? And if the Church is not infallible, is it not in need of ongoing reformation? And isn’t a common appeal to the authority of Scripture essential to such a process?

    • @Irene: Indeed the Histoical Church Catholic IS an “authority”, but not an infallible one, this is the historical Anglican position. Note the – Sola fides in Christum membra ecclesiae constituit: Only faith in Christ can establish the members of the church. And only CHRIST makes the Christian Man/Person, and the Mystic Body and sustains it! – Of course within the fulness of the Triune God!
      WE all are really closer, than far-apart ‘In Christ’! 🙂

    • Curt Parton

      My question in #34 is better asked as: How could there have been schism in a church that possessed the ability to infallibly interpret Scripture?

    • Curt: Is stating my mind and thought! The CHURCH, East & West, is a Pilgrim Body, and the ‘Vicar of Christ’ is the Holy Spirit’!

    • (Irene, *historical…I am such a poor typer! 😉

    • Curt Parton

      The CHURCH, East & West, is a Pilgrim Body, and the ‘Vicar of Christ’ is the Holy Spirit’!

      Amen! I pray that we may all become more united in this pilgrimage as we hear the voice of the Spirit, especially through the Scriptures.

    • Amen Curt! I should have added my “heart” also in this “pilgrimage”! WE really are the BODY of Christ, as redeemed & redemptive! 🙂

    • Pete again

      @Curt Patton: if you referring to the RCC/Orthodox schism of the 11th-13th centuries, from an Orthodox perspective, they chose papism & the filoque over the faithful apostolic interpretations of the Scriptures.

      @Jugulum: ah yes, Jerome, the church father that set the wheels in motion that resulted in separating the Septuagint Old Testament books not found in the 2nd century AD Jewish canon from the western Bible. Jerome did not like the books because original Hebrew copies of them could not be found (in the 4th century AD). But guess what was discovered amongst the Dead Sea scrolls? Hebrew versions of the Septuagint Old Testament!

      @Jugulum: look in your NIV in Luke chapter 4. Follow the footnotes. Jesus was quoting from the Septuagint Old Testament.

      more info: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/septuagint.html

      (If I have offended anyone because of the direct language of my posts, I apologize.)

    • Jugulum

      @Pete: You misunderstood. (I didn’t elaborate, so I’m not blaming you for misunderstanding.)

      I didn’t ask for evidence that Jesus used the Septuagint; I know that the NT cites OT variants from the Septuagint. I asked for evidence that Jesus “used a manuscript of the Septuagint that included the Aprocrypha”.

      In other words, on what basis do you say that in Jesus’ time, the Septuagint included the Apocrypha? I wasn’t aware we had any manuscripts from that time. I thought that the earliest were Vaticanus & Sinaiticus, from the early 4th century.

      And those actually contain different parts of the Apocrypha, as well as books that even the Catholic Church does not consider canonical–like the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, and 3 & 4 Maccabees.

    • @Pete: The older I get and the longer I live, the more I realize I don’t know much, certainly about God Almighty, but I am glad that I can “know” HIM, who is life itself: Christ Jesus! We redeemed, by grace and glory, will worship our Triune God (Eph. 2:18). I would agree about the “filoque”…the Father is the regal & the monarchy of the Godhead! 🙂

    • Jugulum


      Last paragraph (I got cut off).

      So why do you assume that Jesus’ copy of the Septuagint had the Apocrypha? And even if it did, why would you think this implies that the books are canonical, when you don’t think some of the other books in those manuscripts are canonical?

    • Jugulum


      On Jerome: Can you cite Jerome saying that it was the lack of Hebrew manuscripts that made him question the Apocryphal books’ inspiration? (Note: Pay attention to the specific question I asked. It needs to be a quote that indicates “this is the reason”, not simply “this is supporting evidence”.)

    • Pete again

      @Jugulum, I’m afraid that nothing I will write will satisfy you, because you didn’t seem to try to look up the Luke Chapter 4 passages. Anyway, here they are:

      Luke 4:18 / Isaiah 61:1 – “and recovering of sight to the blind” (matches the Greek Septuagint OT). Hebrew Masoretic text: the opening of prison to them that are bound.

      Luke 4:18 / Isaiah 58:6 – “to set at liberty those that are oppressed (or bruised)” (matches the Greek Septuagint OT). Hebrew Masoretic text: to let the oppressed go free.

      The Hebrew Masoretic text is the Protestant OT.

      Jesus is quoting Isaiah, which is a book contained in both the Greek Septuagint OT and the Masoretic text.

      “Apocrypha” is the Protestant term for the books that were removed from the Septuagint OT. To the early Christians, there was no “Apocrypha”, just “the Scriptures”. Even “Bible” is a late 4th century term (thank you John Chrysostom!).

      Septuagint texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls pre-date

    • Jugulum


      I said, “I didn’t ask for evidence that Jesus used the Septuagint; I know that the NT cites OT variants from the Septuagint.” Perhaps you skimmed and missed that or misread it. (It happens.)

      I’ll say it another way: I know that Jesus quotes an Old Testament passage where the Septuagint reads differently than the Hebrew text. And he quotes the Septuagint version. Conclusion: Jesus was using the Septuagint.

      Now that I’ve clarified, do you understand that I was saying, “Yes, Jesus used the Septuagint”? (Really. Is that clear now?)

      Yes, the Dead Sea Scrolls includes Greek translations that fit the Septuagint, and it includes the Aprocrypha. It also include lots of non-canonical religious literature, including 3 & 4 Maccabees–just like Vaticanus & Sinaiticus. The same questions that I asked about them apply to the DSS, too.

      Please, now that I’ve clarified, are you willing to go back, reread the comment, and try responding again?

    • Jugulum

      Also, I’m still hoping for a source for what you said about Jerome.

    • Jugulum

      P.S. To make it a bit easier, remember that the last paragraph (which I had to post in a second comment) summarized my questions:

      “So [considering what I just pointed out] why do you assume that Jesus’ copy of the Septuagint had the Apocrypha? And even if it did, why would you think this implies that the books are canonical, when you don’t think some of the other books in those manuscripts are canonical?”

      And to rephrase that last sentence: Why doesn’t your argument prove that 3 & 4 Maccabees are canonical? (And if you think the the Dead Sea Scrolls are relevant to your argument, why doesn’t your argument prove that all of the books in the DSS are canonical?)

    • Pete again

      @Jugulum, OK thanks for summarizing, I think I understand what you are asking (it’s been a long week) 🙂

      Q1: “Prove that the Septuagint OT always contained Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon, Maccabees, etc”.
      Answer: “Vaticanus” and all early remaining copies contained most of these non-Masoretic OT books. The church fathers (Athanasius, Basil, both Gregories, Origin, etc) quoted them frequently and considered them Scripture. No one in the east every considered them as “separate”. It has been one canon in the east for almost 2,000 years.

      Q2: “Prove that they are canonical”.
      Answer: does this help?:

      Q3: Jerome.
      Answer: does this help?

      “The Rest of The Bible” by T. Mathis is a good book.

    • Jugulum


      You’re welcome. 🙂

      As for your reply, I hope to respond more, sometime this weekend. Until then:

      1.) Do you think your Jerome link provides a citation of “Jerome saying that it was the lack of Hebrew manuscripts that made him question the Apocryphal books’ inspiration?”?

      2.) Do you think you answered my question, “Why doesn’t your argument prove that 3 & 4 Maccabees are canonical?” (To clarify: In the Roman Catholic Church 3 & 4 Maccabees don’t have the same canonical status as the other Apocrypha.)

      3.) Can you tell me which part of my post you were paraphrasing for Q2? I can’t figure it out.

    • Pete again

      Jugulum, we have gottem off-topic. If CMP would like to start another “Septuagint OT” thread, we can continue to discuss.

      The Septuagint OT discussion started when Fr. Robert claimed that it wasn’t the canon used by the Church of the 1st century, which it was indeed. Surprising, because he’s usually spot-on with historical Church facts.

      The tradition of the Septuagint is so strong that you use it and don’t even know it. Genesis? Exodus? Those are Greek words for these books, from the Greek Septuagint. The Hebrew name for Genesis is “in the beginning”.

      God Bless. Glory to God for all things!

    • @Pete: Sadly, I can see you don’t pay attention to detail, I never said the Septuagint was not in the basic use of the Greek speaking Jews, and then later Christians, but that scholars really don’t “completely” understand “either when or why the translation was originally done.” (Preface to The Septuagint with Apocrypha, Breton) Of course again we know that it was the so-called common language of that period. But scholars still argue over the why and when of the details! Especially the more conservative Jewish scholars. Surely because of the differnce between the Hebrew Text and the LXX. This was my real point! And also the Apostle Paul’s use, and sometimes preference for the or a Free Hebrew Text and rendering.

    • *difference

    • @Pete: Just a bit busy this Sat., but I forgot to mention you should check out the Jewish Masoretic Text Tradition.


    • PS..We should not forget the Jewish Tanakh…


    • Pete again

      Fr. Robert, from your link: “This monumental work was begun around the 6th cent AD and completed in the 10th.” This is not new news to me, but it probably is to folks on this site, who think that the Masoretic is older.

      The churches at Antioch, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Crete, Athens, Thessaloniki, Rome, etc. considered the Greek Septuagint Old Testament to be The Holy Scriptures. The Jews thought so highly of it that they used it to teach in their synagogues (in Jesus’ time).

      The MAIN reason for the Masoretic text canon is that the 2nd century AD Jews needed a new text, because the Septuagint had been adopted by the Church and had been “CHRISTIANIZED”.

      500 years ago the founder of the Calvinist Christian sect, John Calvin, nixed the Septuagint. This is logical because the Septuagint contains books that blow the Calvinist theological world apart.

      From an eastern view, it is sad & tragic that Calvin chose a 6th century Jewish canon over the 1st century Christian…

    • Pete again

      …over the 1st century Christian Bible.”

    • @Pete: Before we roll further here, I lived and taught in Israel in the late 90’s, and this was simply a profound learning and time of personal growth for me! I am simply pro-Israel! But then I fought in Gulf War 1 (in my early 40’s), and our missions in the RMC’s (Royal Marine Commando’s), had much deeper penetration and places than the Americans.

      Now, you are trying to make this a black and white issue and subject, and that is a mistake! Calvin was simply seeking to find the best Text and sources…Ad fontes, back to the sources, etc. And this is more than just age alone. But use, etc., and many of the Jewish Scribes, sought close, but always Hebrew and spiritual truth! The Text was always their first concern! You, on the other hand are trying to make the Septuagint or LXX, the only Text of the OT Bible, and this is just simply not true!

    • Jugulum


      If you think it best not to continue this here, that’s fine. I do think it’s relevant to “authority”, and to what he said about canon and tradition. And since the discussion had already died off, it seems fine to me to continue here. But you make your own judgment, of course.

      Either way, do you think you could quickly tell me “yes” or “no” on those first two question from my last comment? Or even “partly yes”, if that’s your answer? (I’m not asking for an elaboration, just a quick “yes/no/somewhat”.) And the third question was just asking for clarification about which part of my comments you were paraphrasing in “Q3”–I’d really appreciate knowing.

    • Jugulum

      On a separate note, what were you referring to when you said that “folks on this site […] think that the Masoretic is older”? I missed that–was that in an earlier post? Was it CMP, or a commenter? (And was it actually more than one person, or are you generalizing from a single comment that someone made?)

    • Btw, here is the link for the e-notes (which are usually well done), for the Masoretic Text and Tradition.


      This subject simply cannot be pressed into one’s ecclesiastical place, alone!

    • Pete again

      Jugulum, let’s take it offline, if that’s OK…[email protected] thx!

    • Pete again

      Fr. Robert, when 10 books are ripped out of the Bible…it is indeed a “black-and-white” issue.

      When groups within Christendom don’t even use the same Bible…that is a sad & tragic thing. We provide a poor example of the Body of Christ to the world.

      PS: I pray that your wife is feeling better.

    • @Pete: As an Anglican, of course we read the so-called books of The Apocrypha, historically, and too the Books of Wisdom, perhaps foremost. But, I am of the conviction that they certainly lack in the doctrinal content. I say this after certain study and reading of them, several years ago, theologically. But they do have their place, but just not as Canon. Of course this is the Protestant position, but with also many Jewish scholars. And in reality, certain Roman Catholic Scripture scholars also don’t really use them doctrinally, per se, i.e. intrinsically. Thankfully our unity is reality, ‘In Christ’! 🙂

      Thank you to remember my wife, she is doing pretty good right now, thanks be to God! We live it, one day at a time!

    • *in reality

    • Michael Rowe

      I think The Bible is definitely the ‘ultimate’ authority, but is it the ‘sole’ authority. Maybe a better T4G affirmation would be…“We affirm that the only inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy authority for the Church is the verbally inspired Bible.” It’s the same words juggled around minus the word ‘sole’. Last week I bought a book called Historical Theology (Gregg R. Alison) which is designed as a companion to Grudem’s Systematic Theology. It’s roundly endorsed by Grudem, who says about the book “…it shows how God has worked in Christians’ lives over the centuries to allow one heresy after another to challenge the church, and then raise up courageous, wise teachers and writers to respond to the wrong teaching with a new and deeper understanding of Scripture, resulting in even stronger faith in God and His Word.” He goes on to say we get it wrong when we ignore church history, and we get it wrong when we idolise church history.

    • Fredro

      Nice post!

    • Mercy Appell

      I see the author has floor knowledge it the topic as well as some practical experience.
      This kind of information is always more favorable than copypasted
      blog posts thoughts.

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