I am looking at page 23 of my Bible and it has the list of books. The books all together number 66—Thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament. This is often referred to as the “canon” of Scripture. “Canon” (Gk. kanon) means “rule” or “measuring rod” (just in case you didn’t know!). The canon of Scripture is the collection or a “rule” of books that Christians believe belong in the Bible. There are some variations among Christian traditions concerning the number of books. The Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches all use different canons (as well, some eastern churches will vary still). The Catholic and Orthodox include a group of books in their Bibles referred to as the Deuterocanonical books (“second canon”) or, as some would call it, the “Apocrypha” (although the Orthodox Church is not quite as settled upon the absolute status of the Apocrypha).

How Do I Know Which Books Belong In The Bible?

The question How do you know what books belong in the Bible? is a significant one indeed. The Catholics and Orthodox will normally refer to the establishment of these books as part of the canon by late fourth-century and early fifth-century non-ecumenical councils (“non-ecumenical” meaning they are respected and reflect tradition, but not officially binding or dogmatic). It wasn’t until the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that the Roman Catholic Church dogmatically and infallibly declared the current Catholic canon (including the Apocrypha) as being authoritative.

I believe that the 66 books of the Protestant canon belong in the Bible, no more no less. I believe that all 66 books are inspired, inerrant, and infallible. Yet the list on page 23 of my Bible is not part of the canon. In other words, the list itself is not part of the inspired word of God. I am using the English Standard Version, but it is the same in any version of any language. The NET Bible does not have an inspired list, even in the footnotes! There is no early Greek or Hebrew manuscript that solves the problem either. Therefore I have a potential difficulty. Since do not believe in an infallible human authority (a pope or a ecumenical council) that can determine what books belong in the Bible, how can I be completely certain what books belong in the Bible?

A Fallible Canon of Infallible Books

It was R.C. Sproul who first made the claim that Protestants have a fallible canon of infallible books. A fallible canon of infallible books?!! What good is that?!! Catholics often jest about the seemingly ironic conundrum that Protestants (as advocates of sola Scriptura) find themselves. The doctrine of sola Scripture was one of the two primary battle cries of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Essentially it means that the Scripture is the ultimate or final authority for the body of Christ in matters of Christian faith and practice. Professing this doctrine (sola Scriptura) does not mean that there are no other authorities, but that there are no other ultimate or final authorities. Catholics on the other hand will claim that they, due to their belief in a living infallible authority (the Pope and Magisterium), have an infallible collection of infallible books. Therefore, the infallible Bible is only the infallible Bible because their infallible authority has said so. So, from their perspective, Protestants have to borrow from Roman Catholics in order to make the argument that Roman Catholicism is, in this case, wrong!

Doesn’t this mean we are sitting on a limb we are sawing off?

A Fallible Interpretation of Infallible Books

Not only this but what about interpretation? Protestants do not believe in an infallible authority to dogmatize which books belong in the Bible. So far so good? But they also don’t believe in an infallible authority to interpret the Bible. Therefore, we can take this to the next level. Protestants have a fallible interpretation of a fallible canon of infallible books. Ouch! Sounds like it is time to swim the Tiber (i.e. convert to Catholicism), eh?

Indubitable Certainty

Not so fast. In the end, this is an issue of epistemology. Epistemology deals with the question “How do you know?” How do we know the canon is correct? How do we know we have the right interpretation? Assumed within these questions is the idea of certainty. How do you know with certainty? Not only this but how do you know with absolute certainty?

The question that I would ask is this: Do we need absolute infallible certainty about something 1) to be justified in our belief about that something, 2) to be held responsible for a belief in that something? I would answer “no” for two primary reasons:

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1. We Don’t Need To Be Infallibly Certain

This supposed need for absolute certainty is primarily the product of the Enlightenment and Cartesian epistemology. A good ol’ guy named Rene Descartes, who is the father of the Age of Reason, was behind this and we in the West are still heavily ruled by his thought. Cartesianism, while pushing us in the right direction in many ways, also placed a burden on our knowledge that we could not, as humans, carry (and were never meant to). It purported indubitability. Indubitability is when your belief in or knowledge of something is incapable of being wrong. In essence, it proposed that belief was not believe-worthy until it was indubitable. To say that we have to be indubitably certain about something before it can be believed and acted upon is setting a standard so high that only God Himself could attain it. Outside of mathematics and analytical statements (e.g. a triangle has three sides), there is no absolute certainty, only relative certainty. We all ultimately realize this. All of our actions, thoughts, and pursuits are relegated to this relative certainty. We get in a car and drive and are only relatively certain it will stop with we push on the brakes. We commit our entire lives to someone with only relative certainty that they will be faithful. On and on we could go with illustrations, but you get the point. Sometimes our relative certainly is very high based on the evidence. Even then, it is still only relative. I could, however unlikely, be wrong. But just because we only have relative certainty does not excuse or alleviate responsibility for acting on or believing in something.

Another example: I believe that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. I prepare each day with this belief in mind. Each night, I set my alarm clock and review my appointments for the following day, having a certain expectation that the next day will truly come. While I have certainty about the sun rising the next day, I don’t have infallible or indubitable certainty that it will. There could be some astronomical anomaly that causes the earth to stop its rotation. There could be an asteroid that comes and destroys the earth. Christ could come in the middle of the night. In short, I don’t have absolute infallible certainty about the coming of the next day. This, however, does not give me an excuse before men or God for not believing that it will come. What if I missed an early appointment the next day and told the person “I am sorry, I did not set my alarm clock because I did not have indubitable certainty that this day would come.” Would that be a valid excuse? It would neither be a valid excuse to the person who I was supposed to meet nor to God.

I know I am spending a lot of time here, but just hang with me.

What About Bobism

We have a term that we use for people who require indubitable certainty about everything: “mentally ill.” Remember What About Bob? He was mentally ill because he made decisions based on the improbability factor. Because it was a possibility that something bad could happen to him if he stepped outside his house, he assumed it would happen. There are degrees of probability. We act according to degrees of probability. Simply because it is a possibility that the sun will not rise tomorrow does not mean that it is a probability that it won’t.

Remember this: possibilities do not equate to probabilities. In rhetoric and reason, this is called the fallacy of the “appeal to probability” (although it should be the “appeal to possibility,” but, oh well); Here It Is In Latin so it sounds smarter: possibiliter ergo probabiliter

Let’s now turn back to the Canon of the Bible. The charge to Protestants from Catholics is, in essence, Your list of books cannot be trusted because it’s possible it is wrong. But just because it is possible that we are wrong (being fallible), does not mean that it is probable. In the end, just like with everything else in life, we have to look to the evidence for the degree of probability concerning Scripture. The better the evidence, the higher the probability.


2. You Are Not Infallibly Certain Either

The Roman Catholic smoke screen of indubitable certainty that seems to be given by having a living infallible authority (Magisterium) disappears when we realize that we all start with fallibility. No one would claim personal infallibility. Everyone knows that we, as individuals seeking truth, could be wrong about any issue. Therefore, any belief in an infallible living authority could be wrong. As Geisler and MacKenzie put it, All Roman Catholics have is probable knowledge. Catholics admit, as they must, that they do not have infallible evidence of an infallible teaching Magisterium. They have merely what even they believe to be only probable arguments. In other words, it is their personal opinion and fallible interpretation of the evidence that brings them to a belief in the supposed infallible Church Magisterium which, in turn, defines the infallible canon. They have no more reason to believe in an infallible church than we do to believe in an infallible canon.

This means we are all floating on the same river, just different boats. Catholics have a fallible belief in an infallible authority about an infallible canon; Protestants have a fallible belief in an infallible canon. Both authorities must be substantiated by the evidence and both authorities must be interpreted by fallible people.

This is the question that I have: In the end, what is the difference?

Do we have a fallible collection of infallible books? Yes, I concede, I believe we do. When all is said and done, all of our beliefs are fallible and therefore subject to error. I am comfortable with this. But remember, the possibility of error does not necessitate the probability of error. We have to appeal to the evidence to decide. And, I believe, the evidence for the sixty-six book Protestant canon is not only sufficient, but compelling.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon 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. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    61 replies to "How Can I Believe in a Fallible Collection of Infallible Books?"

    • Bibliophile

      Where to start? Firstly, Catholics have been condemning Sola Scriptura since long before Descartes… So the question of indubitability is not even relevant here; not to mention the approved Catholic philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas requires no such (Cartesian) emphasis on absolute certainty in matters of human reason. Any honest, well informed and intellectually responsible research will reveal that this attack is a complete misrepresentation of what Catholics believe. Also, as I said, it is irrelevant. Secondly, the Catholic objection to Sola Scriptura can not be reduced to essentially “Your list of books cannot be trusted because it’s possible it is wrong”. That is pure and simply a straw man. There are many, many problems with Sola Scriptura, including the historical fact that there just was no Christian canon of scriptures available for the first couple of centuries in the early Church, making the notion a totally arbitrary novelty that was never accepted by the faithful or taught in the Church, until it was invented in the 16th Century. Also, in an era of parchment and scrolls, scriptures would have been very difficult to obtain without a printing press and mass distribution… Not to mention the problem of illiteracy in the ancient world, or the fact that oral tradition was the basis of Hebraic culture. Many, many reasons to reject Sola Scriptura as absurd; but “It’s possible you could be wrong” is not one of them… The point of Catholic objections to Sola Scriptura is that without some form of external authority to declare which writings are and are not sacred scriptures, you just cannot arrive at any canon, period. So, in short, this entire response to Catholics is historically and philosophically inaccurate

    • Bibliophile

      Please may I be permitted one more comment in closing.

      Descartes lived during the 17th century. More than one hundred years separate between Luther and Descartes. The Protestant rebellion and Sola Scriptura had already been condemned by the Church, long before Descartes was even born! So it wasn’t about epistemology (a relatively new, and distinctly modern department in philosophy); the problem was about authority: on what basis do we believe? God’s revelation? Or man’s reasoning? The dispute between Luther and the Church in the 16th century, ironically for this odd protestant apologetic, demonstrates that, in fact, it is not the Catholic Church but Luther himself who is closer to Descartes’ ridiculous principle of “indubitable ideas”, by demanding to know for sure whether he was saved. He agonized over not being certain about his salvation, until he finally devised a solution to a problem that was created, largely, by and for himself. The Church had always taught that our salvation is a matter of faith and was ultimately up to God: Luther is the one who insisted that ultimately it had to be a matter of his own personal judgement

      Luther’s theology is the grandaddy of Descartes’ philosophy: in the same way that Luther made the ultimate basis for faith to be personal judgement, even so Descartes made the ultimate basis of reason to be the thinking subject

      Luther and Descartes, each in his own way, are thus both partly responsible for the paradigm change in worldview that shifted the whole focal center from God to human beings; and this period especially – from about 1500 until 1800 – has been a notably troublesome period in the history of the Church

      • C Michael Patton

        Thank you so much for commenting l, my friend. Are you saying that the argument “You have a fallible collection of infallible books” is not an argument used by some Catholics? That was the extent of my focus in this blog. It couldl only be a straw man if I created this argument myself to make Catholics look bad. If you repudiate this particular argument (as it seem you do), then we are in agreement. Of course that does not mean that Sola scripture is correct. It just means this particular argument is illegitimate.

        My personal allergy to on aspect of the Cartesian method is remains relevant not just in the case of responding to Catholics, but in every area. It sounds like you agree. So we are on the same page (at least right here). We can leave other arguments for or against Sola scriptura for a different time. We can just say, in this case we agree. And, with that, I am pleased to know we have unity.

        • Bibliophile

          Thanks kindly, sir. But what I said is a strawman in your post, is reducing the Catholic rejection of Sola Scripture to, in your own words, “essentially, your list of books can’t be trusted because it’s possible you are wrong”. This is so clearly a strawman, because, as you said yourself, the demand for absolute certainty assumes Cartesian ideas – and the Catholic Church openly and explicitly rejects Cartesian philosophy in favour of Aquinas.

          And, as far as I know, it was R.C. Sproul (MHRIP) who made the statement that Protestants have a fallible collection of infallible books. And he certainly was not Catholic.

        • C Michael Patton

          Hey friend,
          I have had this argument made by many Catholics throughout the years. I’m not suggesting it is a good one, just a common one.

          More importantly, I don’t think I suggested that this was Roman Catholics’ only argument anywhere. When I said “essentially, your list of books can’t be trusted because it’s possible you are wrong” was just dealing with the argument in question. Not the entire canon of Catholic apologetics on this matter. It is just one that has some rhetorical power and I wanted to address it. I know there are many other arguments made against sola Scriptura that are more legitimate. So I still don’t think it was a straw man. Either way, hopefully, this corrects that.

    • Kevin Simonson


      Doesn’t it likely follow that the books of the Protestant Bible might themselves be fallible? How are Biblical Christians certain that those books are infallible? Or even that they’re probably infallible?

      • C Michael Patton

        Definitely, as well as our interpretation. We are only left with degrees of certitude, even about the individual books. That is why we must think through our faith, issue by issue, book by book when we are able. I’m not saying you have to become a professional theologian or go to seminary though. Often, we just get to a point where we say “It is enough to justify my faith,” as we can never really study everything exhaustively. But, some of us are able to spend more time in this matter than other to gain their trust and help the others through.

    • Bibliophile

      My good sir,

      Thank you for clarifying that your post does not represent the “entire canon of Catholic apologetics” on this issue; I would hasten to add that neither does it provide an accurate representation of the Catholic position on the complicated nexus of issues raised in your post.

      When you make such unqualified, blanket statements like, “The charge to Protestants from Catholics is, in essence, Your list of books cannot be trusted because it’s possible it is wrong”; and then quickly follow up with bold assertions like, “The Roman Catholic smoke screen of indubitable certainty that seems to be given by having a living infallible authority (Magisterium)”, you imply, however unintentionally, that official Catholic teachings endorse Cartesian rationalism and the epistemological foundationalism which he bequeathed to modernity. Ironically, by insisting that, in your opinion, Roman Catholics and Protestants are in the same boat because ” They (Catholics) have no more reason to believe in an infallible church than we do to believe in an infallible canon”, since, on your view, even, apparently, in matters of faith, “we only have relative certainty”, and therefore, on your view, whatever we believe “must be substantiated by the evidence” -; ironically, you align yourself with the same methodological madness of Enlightenment modernity by prioritizing inductive reasoning above everything. And that is a glaring inconsistency which casts doubt on any charitable claims to unity. In short, your entire approach in this blog is polemical against Catholicism – and you haven’t even got the facts straight!

      Please underunderstand that there is no arrogance or pride intended on my part by bringing this to your attention; but if you continue to disseminate misinformation that maligns the Catholic Church, better in my opinion that you are made aware than continue to misrepresent the other party.

      • C Michael Patton

        I disagree my friend. But I will try to do better. Wait for my next post. It will probably make you more angry, but also might cool your jets some.

        keep being so thoughtful and jeep engaging deeply. While we disagree, you’re a good representative of your faith. I’m glad to have you as a brother.

        • Bibliophile

          I thank you, Michael, for your willingness to open dialogue and endearing manner. I will do my best to “cool my jets” and be less angry at your next post 🙂

          As a child of the Enlightenment myself, I came to the faith from a background of critical scepticism that demanded evidence for absolutely everything, before I could accept any belief as “justified true belief”. It took me a lot of painfully hard work – and even relationship difficulties – to discover that my approach to these issues was basically mimicking the methodology of modern foundationalism, whether that was in form of idealist conceptualism, or scientific empiricism – both of which are really just two sides of Descartes rationalism coin.

          As with Kant, who said that Hume woke him from a ” dogmatic slumber”, so it was with me – except it was Aquinas who woke me from my rationalist stupor! I could then see clearly the hopeless situation in Protestant theology, saturated as it is now with rationalist philosophy, and appropriating rationalist methodology in apologetics, etc. I delved deep into church history and history of philosophy and science; and it wasn’t too long after that when I was able to finally see the problems with Protestantism and Sola Scriptura, learned the true nature and extent of the theological debate at the Roformation and eventually “crossed the Tiber” to finally embraced the Catholic faith.

          None of this implies that I am of the opinion that the Catholic Church is perfect; but I do believe that She possess the fullness of the faith in form of Sacred Scriptures, a living Sacred Tradition and a unifying teaching authority (Magisterium).

          Last, but not least, I am so glad that you consider me a brother: the fundamentalist Baptist background I reflexively got involved in when I first converted to Christianity from atheist scepticism was not so kind to Catholics and still teaches that the Roman Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon (and posts like this tend to cement that thinking in the heads of literalist fundamentalists especially).

          We can agree to disagree, that’s okay: the Catholic Church learned the hard way that we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ and so faith cannot be coerced – but that’s probably subject matter for another debate, right?!?

          Looking forward to your next post, brother.

    • Anonymous

      I understand the RC argument. If a document is deemed infallible, then WHO is it that determines this? In the same way that an undergraduate does not have the authority to bestow a PhD upon someone, then it cannot be the case that a fallible authority could bestow the title of infallibility on anything else.

      The first question that I think that we must ask though, is what is the purpose of even using these terms? For imo, “official” claims to infallibility are only thinly disguised attempts to remove doubt without the hard work of investigation and faith. Why should any church – in particular, any RC church be funding archeological digs or the study of ancient biblical documents since all those concerns about verification are apparently resolved?

      One may also argue that the manner in which the text has been transmitted invites (demands?) doubt.

      2 Kings 22:8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the LORD’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.

      The first thing one should recognize from this, is that the chain of evidence is broken. Hilkiah found a book. How does he know that this is the book of THE LAW and not simply some academic writing that got tucked into a corner somewhere? How do we know that Hilkiah did not write something himself and present it as such?

      For a few verses down we have this:

      2 Kings 22:10 Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.

      Notice that the scribe makes no claim about the veracity of what Hilkiah found. He simply says that the High Priest has found a book, and here it is.

      What is the King’s response? He does not take the High Priest’s judgement as the sole authority.
      He also sends out an investigative team. The High Priest who is convinced that this document is what it is, a scribe who doesn’t seem to have any opinion one way or another, and a man with no religious connection in this at all but who reports directly to the King. All three go to visit what can be considered an authority in the form of Hukdah the Prophetess who probably did not even take a look at the document.

      Or again

      Nehemiah 8:2 On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could listen and understand. 3 So Ezra read it aloud from daybreak until noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate, in front of the men and women and those who could understand.

      Notice three groups listed here. Men, women and “those who could understand.” If we recall that the people have returned from Babylon after about a generation, we should expect that quite a number of the people either no longer speak Hebrew very well or speak it at all. It may also be the case, that some words and idioms have become archaic and need to be re-paraphrased into “modern hebrew” in the same way that looking at the 1611 King James Translation might give all of us a bit of a headache to read, even though English as a language has an unbroken chain of existence from then to now.

      Nehemiah 8.8. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

      Remember that the Tanak found in every synagogue today is written in this new fangled square script. For archeology shows us that the script that the text would have been originally written would have had to be in paleohebraic or other older form. It then means that either at the time of Ezra or soon thereafter, when it came time to make a fresh copy or copies, that a decision was made to bring the text into this modern hebrew since getting everyone to revert to paleohebraic might have become as difficult as trying to get the entirety of english speaking peoples everywhere to revert to Middle English.

      It would also be my contention that in order to retain the sense of the text in a changing language (and remember that the Lord is the one who started language families going), that it is very probable that vocabulary would have needed to be updated which means – shock – that words would have had to be changed or added accordingly.

      So when we say that the Bible is infallible, which document is under contention? The one in paleohebraic which no longer exists (except maybe scraps waiting for a dig to uncover them)? Or the rather late document perhaps from the time of the Babylonian exile which we have today?

      Should we then throw out the idea of infallibility?

      Let us return to 2 Kings 22. Who was it who authorized the text in hand? Wasn’t it the Lord? Granted he worked via human agent, in this instance a woman versus a committee of men but the principle remains. It is the Lord alone that has the infallible authority to DEMONSTRATE the infallibility of the text we have today. And he will do so in two main ways a) via human agents and their investigations b) by his fulfillment of prophecy (which might be a bigger argument to be had with your RC friend. LOL).

    • Túlio Christofoletti

      As a Catholic, i would disagree.
      1- Infallible certainty needs to be present IF you want to affirm, as Protestantism does, that the Biblie is infallible. If you would rather take it to the field of the “probability”, then you must be coherent and affirm that “the Biblie is PROBABLY the only infallible source” – which i think you would not want too. So you cannot eat the cake and have the cake too. This internal logical inconsistency of Protestantism is sufficient to notice that it just cannot be true.

      2- The difference is:
      Catholics have a personal fallible faith in a infallible Christ that found and infallible Church that can recognize to us a infallible canon.
      Protestants have a personal fallible faith in a infallible Christ who found a FALLIBLE Church that can recognize a infallible canon.
      So the difference is this: the Protestant model is NECESSARILY wrong, because a fallible cause could not guarantee an infallible effect. It lacks internal coherence and it doesn’t follow.
      The Catholic model is POSSIBLY wrong, because of our fallible faith, but is the only model that can guarantee that we have an infallible Bible.

      Objecting that “both sides have a personal fallible faith” does not help, because that’s not a thing we can just remove from reality, so that should not invalidate any of the sides. God has made things like that because he wants us to have FAITH in him. But i mean FAITH, which is to obey spiritual truths THAT MAKE SENSE. True Faith does not rejects reason.
      The Protestant alternative, on the contrary, is FIDEISM, which dissociates faith from logic truths.

      So the difference is there, crystal clear, and you are free to choose: Faith of fideism?

      God bless,
      Túlio Christofoletti.

      • C Michael Patton

        1. Yes. I do affirm that probability is the method in all our beliefs. It is the same with every human. We are fallible in everything. But that does nothing to the strength of the individual arguments that produce the probability. The only thing we can say with certainty are analytical truths–truths that are true out of necessity. Like a triangle has three sides or 1+1 = 2.

        Number 2. you said fallible cause can’t produce an infallible effect. We are only talking about beliefs here. So, my belief in some thing does not produce that some thing. Therefore, a fallible belief never produces that which it believes in. It’s simply acknowledges it. So the equivocation you make does not apply.

        Thanks so much for replying. I really appreciate it.

        • Túlio

          Thank you for answering! That’s very kind.

          1. It seems that you admit that you “probably” have the bible. Wow, that’s a heavy one.

          In fact, i would not say it is “the same with every human”. If God gets into the game – and it does – He could give us a system of beliefs that offers certainty rather than “probability”. He could offer a certainty.

          2. I think i did not explain myself very clearly.

          When we talk about logic, we are not discussing reality. Logic is a tool for us to know if an information is impossible, possible or necessary. You can’t prove logically that i’m using a green t-shirt now. Through logic, you can only demonstrate that it is possible that i am.

          So the question here is not if the belief produce the effect in reality. The question is: this system (Catholicism of Protestantism) is logically impossible, possible, or necessary?

          I would argue that Catholic model is logically possible, although not necessary, because God could have chosen other ways to ground his authority (for example, He could himself appear in heaven and explain to us a given passage of the Bible, etc).

          But i would also argue that Protestant model is logically impossible, because it says that a fallible church has participated in the formation of an infallible canon. Tha’ts not possible: if you assume that the church is not protected from error, you have to assume that her choice about what books belong to the bible could be wrong, too.

          Nevertheless, for me that makes Catholic model more sensible – and logically superior – than Protestantism.

          It seems, in fact, that you assume all that – what is very shocking to me.

          Sorry if i made any mistake, i’m from Brazil!

        • C Michael Patton

          Once again, I would say that we all have fallibility to deal with. Just as you are from Brazil and give a warning concerning my ability to interpret your writing, even people of the same language can have misunderstandings. It may not be likely, but it is certainly possible. Therefore, it is possible for you to be misinterpreting the church. You could misunderstand the councils, the pope, or any bishop. The point is we all start with fallibility. So once you have that on the table, if you think just because something can be fallible, it is impossible to be right, at least, in this case, then there is no right answer. But I would say that that is what is logically impossible.

          By the way, I don’t even know if you’re responding to me. I just got this in my inbox and approved it and figured it sounded like something someone would respond to about what I said.

        • Túlio

          Thank you for your response, Michael !

          1- I would say that an infallible church does not require infallible believers. The fact that i am not infallible when i read church documents does not change the caracther of the church. It could be infallible even so.

          2- But, on the contrary, an infallible canon demands – necessarily ! – a church that is capable of infallibility, because the canon is identified and confirmed by this church.

          About the fallibility

          1- It’s true that we all have our fallibility to deal with, but the difference is: the magisterium is alive. It can reexplain things with other formulations, and it has done so – like developing the concept of the trinity in the Christologic controversies. And that’s something scripture cannot do, because it cannot say to you “hey, you are misinterpreting me! That’s not what Paul meant!”, and things like that.

          So even with fallibility in the game, i would say that Catholicism offers a much safer system to follow. What do you think?

          About your very true statement

          You said “just because something can be fallible, it does not mean that is is wrong”.

          You are right: Protestantism COULD be right, indeed. But that’s a COULD – not a MUST – because, by your own standards, its impossible to give a higher certainty than that. The Protestant epistemology does not allow the very Protestant to affirm that he has “with all certitude” the bible.

          The Catholic can do that, because, by his own standards, it has established an infallible church, so that is nothing wrong with it.

          Protestantism could be right. And you could have the bible. Or you could not. So, i think you agree with me about this thing about “possibility”, but i seem that it does not bother you like it bothers me.

          I appreciate your responses. Thanks a lot!

        • Bibliophile

          Túlio, if I may: I think what needs to be acknowledged here is Michael’s seemingly unquestioned acceptance of rationalist presuppositions; although he denies it, his view of knowledge and reality is implicitly Cartesian – hence, his retreat into probability (and, I might add, futility), which, of course, he thinks is the best that anyone can do with respect to any knowledge claim, apart from deductive and mathematical statements. In short: Túlio, it will be difficult for Michael to agree with you about the futility of his own positon with respect to the canon, because of his philosophical precommitment to rationalist metaphysics and epistemology

    • chapmaned24

      This, to me, is like a Mormon debating a Jehovah’s Witness.

      Let’s take COMMUNION as an example.

      When I read 1 Cor 11, all I see is a Chicken Dinner Church Banquet, where ETHICS and politeness is being taught regarding behavior at the dinner table.

      And Paul tells the story of the Last Supper as to how to SERVE A MEAL so that everyone gets to eat and drink, and no one is left out.

      Catholics did strange things with that, but the protestants didn’t do much better! Gluten free bread and a thimble of grape juice?

      By the way, the “eat this, drink that in remembrance of me til I come…”, he alread did come, three days later.

      The things ritualistic people come up with is beyond me!

      • C Michael Patton

        Ahhh, hyper sensationalism? A distant cousin of mine!

        • chapmaned24

          Guilty as charged!

    • chapmaned24

      Here is how to be certain about the cannon of scripture…


      Luke 24:27
      And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

      Luke 24:44
      And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

      John 1:45
      Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

      Acts 26:22
      Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

      Acts 28:23
      And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

      That settles it for me. Tanakh.

      Gospels must be in chrono order of events as eye witness accounts so as to be verified when zippering, making one story out of it.

      Epistles, Who have we got there? Galatians mentions John, Peter, James, as Apostles to the Jews, and Paul as Apostle to the Gentiles.

      I have major contention with the Catholics regarding Peter. So why would I follow Catholic dogma?

      But I would also say that protestants have a lot wrong, too! Protestants take issue with several Catholic doctrines, but yet, they hold high regard for Church Fathers, which, to me, sounds oxy-moronish, and contradictory.

      Both have some serious issues!

      Ed Chapman

    • Bibliophile

      I once knew a man, a student of mine (I’m a music tutor) who was also a lecturer at a local Baptist seminary. Before I ever embraced the Catholic faith, we had a conversation in which he demonstrated the desperation, incoherency and total lack of consistency in Protestant logic when it comes to their defense of rebelling against papal authority in preference for a divisive doctrinal novelty made up in the 16th century.

      I asked this man a question: “If we had no ‘Bible’, no official ‘canon’ of any kind until somewhere in the 4th century; and when you consider the practical impossibility of everyone – or even every local or regional Christian community – owning a complete set of the Scriptures – since every ‘book’ now conveniently collected in our modern Bibles would originally have been written to address very specific local needs, and which, by the way would have had to be copied, by hand, and only by an elite group of scribes who even had the literacy to do so – let’s not even mention how economically unfeasible this process would have been, considering that, prior to the invention of the printing press, it would have required the mass production of hugely expensive papyrus scrolls – (your ‘parchment and pen’ there, Michael) -; considering all of this, which evinces that there is simply no way possible that early Christians could have adhered to such a principle that even vaguely resembled ‘Sola Scriptura’ – then how can Protestants teach that Christians must believe in the ‘Bible alone’?”

      His answer shocked and appalled me, since, being a lecturer in a Baptist seminary, I assume this was his standard response to any of his students who were thoughtful or courages enough to bring all these problems to light. He looked me right in the eye and said to me very confidently, “The early Christians didn’t need the Bible or Sola Scripture – because they had the apostles!”

      Well, as you can imagine, I was gobsmacked by that totally arbitrary and ad hoc rationale, and from that point it wasn’t very long before I decided to consider Catholicism more seriously. In fact, when I reflected on much of my own theological background up until then, and the training I received at a Baptist Bible Institute, I began to see that much of what passes for theology in these protestant ‘seminaries’, when it isn’t merely regurgitation of doctrinal distinctives of the particular denomination with which the seminary is affiliated, is purely indoctrination in anti-Catholic rhetoric and very little else besides. This became apparent when the London Reformed Baptist Seminary (LRBS) kicked me off the course for submitting a paper in response to the question, How Can We Recover the Ideal of the Working Church? – a question which suggests that ‘Activism’, another of the Protestant/Evangelical quadrilateral, along with ‘Biblicism’, ‘Conversionism’, and ‘Crucicentrism’, are peddled as ‘fundamentals’ of Christianity – I argued that Sola Scriptura is divisive and hence cannot be a principle of unity required for a body like the Christian church to carry out its mandate and work effectively for the salvation of humanity. I pointed out that Sola Scriptura undermines the truth of Christianity and is a stumbling block, for example, to many sceptics who feel that Christianity cannot legitimately claim to have revealed truth when Christians cannot even agree on how that is supposed to be interpreted. Therefore, the principle of Sola Scriptura needs to be abandoned or at least overhauled if we want to recover the working Church ideal.
      To which my course coordinator, rather than refusing to grade my paper or asking me to submit something else more in line with LRBS’s theological precommitments, decided to email me saying essentially that I had compromised the whole Christian faith with my paper, was in danger of losing my salvation and was considered an unsuitable candidate for the course.

      That should prove what a great environment for learning and debate protestant seminaries can be. (Sarcasm…)
      Which brings me to what somebody said above, about why Catholics are involved in archaeology: that is simply because Catholics have always been pro-science, as even with the Galileo affair, in which the conflict was not over any scientific theorizing but centred on theological issues, as everyone knows who takes time to study the history and not just imbibe anti-Catholic nonsense. Catholics involved in archaeology is certainly not about trying to valorize confidence in the Bible. That is protestant methodology inherited from the Enlightenment. But for Catholics, involvement in archaeological work is merely faith seeking understanding. Catholics do not believe in revelation because it is backed up by science like archaeology. That kind of concordism, ironically, is another example of protestants buckling under the weight of Enlightenment rationalism and inverting Christianity by giving primacy to scientific methodology above revelation. But Catholics believe revelation is true simply because it is the word of God, who cannot deceieve or be deceived – not because it is ‘backed up’ by archaeology, or any other scientific discipline (or by probability theory, if your name is C. Michael Patton). As someone else above correctly pointed out, this is to be clearly distinguished from (protestant) fideism – once again, even here, the Enlightenment proves to be too much for Protestantism to handle. Catholic faith accommodates human reasoning as a dignity bestowed by the Creator and knows of no such bifurcations as “reason vs revelation” or “science vs religion”. That is a protestant dilemma.

      • chapmaned24


        In my response yesterday, I made a point to mention in scripture The Law of Moses, The Prophets, and the Psalms.

        Paul went preaching from the Tanahk. That’s a Jewish book. Not a Catholic book.

        I find it pretty arogant that the Catholics keep telling us that they gave us the bible, that if it wasn’t for them, we would have no bible.

        I find that to be very CONTROLLING, and manipulative for power. This is the kind of reasoning that some British folks left England for America. Let’s be honest, shall we. Catholics did not want anyone to read the Bible, no matter how much they say to the contrary. They wanted to be the GOTO guys.

        I like the phrase, “Take out the middle man”.

        The Jewish Synagogues had the Tenak.

        So what is left?

        We have at least 2 or 3 (by the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses shall every word be established) gospel accounts.

        And what else? Letters from some apostles.

        Those letters, from the epistles themselves, tells us that they were being circulated to different church’s.

        Time and time again, Paul states “as it is written”. Well, where was it written? Tanahk

        Look, this is a Jewish book, written by Jews, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s their history, not Catholic History.

        I’d rather bypass Catholic history all together.

        In essence, all you did was put staples on it, and RELUCTANTLY let people read it….but were told that they have NO RIGHT to interpret what they read, MISUSING a verse in Peter about PROPHESY. Catholics still want control.

        No thank you. I agree with your student, as many others do, as well.

        Ed Chapman

      • chapmaned24


        You mention Baptist theology. With that, I have to agree with you completely. This is why I’m non-denomination. I am not beholden to any denomination, including Catholic.

        As much as they say that they are sola scriptora, they are not. Time and time again, outside sources are being referenced.

        Such as, The Westminster whatever, or the Baptist whatever. I think they call it “CONFESSION”.

        That’s what I find amusing with all of you. You all let SOMEONE ELSE decide FOR YOU what you are to believe. No one has a mind of their own that is allowed to disagree. FLAT EARTH! LOL. Communion, or trans sub whatever you call it, when all it is, is a chicken dinner banquet in the mess hall regarding ethics at the dinner table so that everyone can eat and no one goes hungry.

        I don’t believe in original sin, and I’d be a dead man in your Catholic history days. I believe in grace, but not prevenient grace. I do not believe in being born dead.

        So no matter Catholic, or the break aways, I’d be dead, just for disagreeing.

        And this is why I love our 1st Amendment right regarding “religion”, which is a word used to denote Christian denominations, rather than different “faiths”, if you will. But now, it’s gotten perverted to include differing faith’s.

        Thomas Jefferson, in Virginia, when he came up with the idea of freedom of religion stated that God made the mind free.

        The problem is, some religious leaders are opposed to that, and will kill you for speaking that freedom.

    • Bibliophile

      in line with my above comment on the failure of protestants to provide any coherent or consistent answer to explain how early Christians were supposedly advocates of Sola Scripture prior to the process of canonization when a definitive list was declared by the Church – again, to address a very specific need, first, when it was necessary to distinguish authentic Christian writings from counterfeits, and later, at the Reformation, when Protestants began to tamper with the canon willy-nilly – note well that in neither case was it because of any belief in the Reformation novelty of Sola Scriptura – Anonymous (who querried Catholic involvement in archaeology), also observes that “One may also argue that the manner in which the text has been transmitted invites (demands?) doubt” – to which I would heartily agree. But not doubt in the infallibility, reliability or authority of the text or canon, but in the validity of Sola Scriptura as a Reformation principle.

    • Bibliophile

      Ed Chapman.

      You may be uncomfortable with the fact that Catholics diligently preserved Sacred Scriptures as part of Sacred Tradition and the deposit of faith, and that Catholic monks began working on translations into Syriac (in this case, a monk even invented a whole Syrian alphabet!), Armenian, etc, as early as the second century AD, for the express purpose of disseminating the word of God to all the faithful; but unfortunately your incredulity is not a substitute for historical fact.

      It appears you may have been duped – as I once was; but now, thankfully, I have recovered from the deception – into believing the crackpot ‘history’ peddled by fundamentalists who push the anti-Catholic narrative onto the uninformed, since your comments echo their anti-Catholic bias when you say things like “Catholics didn’t want anyone to read the Bible”; and that Catholics only wanted to “be in control”, to be the “go to guys”. But modern scholarship – actual, legitimate, scholarly, academic work, as opposed to quackery – shows that such statements are in fact gross misrepresentations of what was actually the case.

      But, I’m sure you’ve seen the series You, and the protagonist/antagonist, Joe, makes a keen observation in one episode, to the effect that people believe whatever agrees with their worldview. You have your worldview, Ed; I’m not here to argue with you about what you should do to better examine your presuppositions and theological predeterminations: but I can certainly say that from a purely historical perspective, where Catholicism and Christendom are concerned, your understanding of the period and events that took place could do with some serious revisions.

      You have a very good knowledge of Scriptures, and you can throw up references, it appears, without any difficulty; but you could probably do with getting your history of the Catholic Church from reliable sources which are not so biased against Catholicism.

      You might want to check out the Black Legend in that regard. It may be a sobering realisation for you to discover that a lot of history has been distorted by protestants just to make Catholics look bad. And this practice, sadly, continues into the present (but thankfully, only a minority on the fringes of academia are regurgitating this old claptrap)

      • chapmaned24

        That’s exactly the arrogance I speak of. There ya go patting yourself on the back for putting staples in letters that were already being circulated without you.

        The Jews had the Tenak in synagogues, already. They ain’t exactly Catholic.

        But of course you would defend Catholicism. You have no choice. You don’t get the luxury of calling out catholic doctrine that you know just doesn’t sound right. Like the chicken dinner you call transub whatever.

        It’s easy to debunk catholic doctrines from Bible only. Original sin… easy to debunk. That’s just one of many.

        There’s a reason that Catholics are hounded by protestants. Many of your doctrines are whacked.

        Ed Chapman

        • Bibliophile

          Ed Chapman.

          As for “putting staples in letters” (interesting terminology), I think it is fairly common knowledge that early Christians appropriated Jewish Scriptures to themselves. Indeed, so much so, that in order to distinguish themselves from Christians, Jewish religious leaders removed from their canon of Jewish Scriptures any writings which could be used by Christians to show that Christ was the Messiah. So, it isn’t really saying much at all against Catholicism to simply insist that early Christians used Jewish Scriptures – that’s just obvious, given that the entire Christian movement emerged in the context of Jewish culture and was represented predominantly by Jews in the fledgling years. Following your logic of privileging the “Jewishness” of the Christian heritage, you may as well argue yourself out of your own sect, since Jesus was himself a Jew who worshipped in a synagogue – he ain’t exactly non-denominational either…

          Speaking of which, non-denominationalism is just an expression of Western individualism, a largely regional and very recent phenomenon of American culture that emerged in reaction to modernity. Liberals and conservatives like to set themselves in opposition to each other; but in reality they are just two sides of the same rationalist coin as Protestants tried – and largely failed – to come to grips with moderntity. “I can make up my own mind” is just an American cultural expression and would have certainly been an alien notion to the more communal Jewish context out of which Christianity emerged. So you aren’t even being consistent by your own standards.

          You can call it arrogance, or whatever you like; but I am giving you only what the historical record shows: and so long as you fail to countenance that record, and continue to deliberately ignore the relevant historical scholarship, then you are merely waving your hands in a bold display of personal incredulity, which simply won’t do.

          By the way: you keep referring to this “chicken dinner” and table etiquette: are you trying to say that this is how you interpret Paul saying (paraphrase, because I don’t have my Bible right now) “partake of the Lord’s body and blood with a clean conscience, lest you bring damnation on yourself by defiling the body and blood of Christ”? And you seriously think that it makes sense for Paul to attach such a warning to a mere “chicken dinner”, just because some at the table had poor etiquette? Well, I don’t know about that interpretation; but it certainly isn’t the only interpretation – nor does it appear to be the most likely one, not even to a person capable of thinking autonomously. Hence, proving once again the impotence of Sola Scriptura to resolve disputes over what is the correct interpretation of a text.

        • chapmaned24

          I’m not buying into your Jewish history lesson. We all know Catholics hate the Jews, because they killed Jesus on the cross. And what you said, just disparages the Jews even more. One of your recent popes wrote a book, finally exhonorating the Jews for killing Jesus. As if Jesus didn’t do that already, when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There are even many Christian denominations that can’t stand the Jews for killing Jesus, as well. But isn’t that what Jesus came here for? The mission of Jesus was that cross, but you and other Christian sects think that Jesus was supposed to live to a ripe old age instead? I don’t get it.

          You do realize that many in the Christian world thinks that the Pope is the Anti-Christ?

          I don’t. But I don’t blame them for thinking so.

          I think it’s time for Catholics to acknowledge their shortcomings, especially in doctrines that YOU KNOW are wrong.

          1. Priests can’t forgive sins of anyone other than those who sinned against them.
          2. Chicken Dinner vs. Transub-whatever
          3. Original sin is false
          4. Baptizing infants, who later become atheists anyway.
          5. Divorce/remarriage is not a sin

          I could go on and on about Catholic Doctrines being in error.

          You can harp against sola scriptora all you want. That doesn’t mean I will buy into your logic against it, cuz I won’t.

          Ed Chapman

        • chapmaned24


          You are on a computer… Tons of versians available. Even the Catholic favorite!

          I’m gonna quote from the KJV

          1 Corinthians 11

          Verse 17 begins the ISSUE that Paul is NOT HAPPY ABOUT.

          17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

          How do I know? Because the verse before ends the conversation about head coverings for women, which we have no custom for. So, verse 17 changes topics. And Paul is NOT pleased. Repeat:

          17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.


          18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.


          He’s beginning to state the problem of COMING TOGETHER, when they do, there is bickering going on amonst them.


          19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.


          Now comes the MEAT of the conversation about the CHICKEN DINNER.

          I’m going to SKIP the next 2 verses, because the next VERSE will DISTRACT you due to the words, “THE LORDS SUPPER”. After we are done, THEN you can go back to them both.


          22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

          In other words, EAT AT HOME if you are going to behave badly.

          Paul is REALLY TICKED OFF HERE!

          Then Paul goes into detail about HOW Jesus did his BANQUET, called THE LORDS SUPPER.

          Jesus SERVED everyone, and no one went hungry. I’m not going to quote those, because again, you will get DISTRACTED about a Catholic ritual.

          You will see the method to my madness in a moment.

          33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

          34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

          ONE of the verses I skipped:

          21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

          Someone at the dinner table is being SELFISH, gobbling up all the food, and some people go hungry, and Paul is NOT HAPPY about this…So he ends with:

          34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

          So if you go back to the other verses I didn’t mention here, you will see that The Last Supper, or The Lords Supper is Paul’s EXAMPLE of HOW IT’S DONE SO THAT EVERYONE CAN EAT, and no one goes hungry.

          Oh, and by the way, when this reference mentions THE LORDS BODY…that’s WE THE PEOPLE, CHRISTIANS. The Body of Christ. Not a piece of bread without yeast.

          I have no idea how you guys come up with your ritual, including the protestants who modified it.

          Coming together began the conversation. That is the context of the whole thing. Coming together, division, selfish people taking too much food, leaving nothing for others, and Paul is TICKED OFF!

          And you came up with Transub whatever out of that? LOL.

          Ed Chapman

    • Bibliophile

      Ed Chapman.

      You need to find better sources for your information, on both Church history and Catholic teaching. You might want to examine the way Scripture has been interpreted traditionally, there’s good academic work available on that subject too. And then you can argue with the scholarship.

      I have Mass to attend. Won’t be chicken dinner there, I’m afraid…

      Have a great day, Ed


      • chapmaned24


        I do argue with the academic. That’s my specialty. I just argued with a guy on facebook who also has a wordpress blog. HIGHLY EDUCATED, and he’s a HYPER FREE GRACE Dispensationalist.

        He doesn’t like Romans 5:13, as well as 4:15. And I’m quite sure that you don’t either, since you belive in Original Sin.

        Scripture, TRADITIONALLY, has not been interpreted correctly.

        Catholics think that birth control is a sin. The law didn’t come about until LONG AFTER Onan. The issue with Onan was about Judah, really, because Jesus was to come from the family line of Judah thru Onan. But Onan didn’t want kids.

        Spilling seed is not a sin. Satan didn’t want Jesus to be born. So God killed Onan, which would make Onan’s brother the line from Judah. But he didn’t want his first kid to be Onan’s kid. So God killed him, too.

        Finally, Onan’s widow had sex with Judah himself, and the rest is history. Jesus from the Tribe of Judah.

        Then we have Peter, who didn’t want Jesus to be killed. Hence, get behind me Satan! Satan was behind Onan’s issue, as well as Peter’s issue.

        But the Catholics made spilling seed/birth control a sin. LOL. Spilling seed is not within the Law of Moses (Old Covenant of do’s and don’ts).

        Divorce/Remarriage…not a sin according to Deu 24:1-4. Catholics equated put away with divorce, making people believe that divorce is a sin, and remarriage is a sin. It’s a sin to put away without a divorce. A divorce legally terminates the contract. There is no breach in a divorce.

        One of the reasons for divorce? Deu 24:1-4…not in love. Would Jesus want us as a bride if we didn’t love him?

        Divorce is not a sin. Remarriage is not a sin.

        Academics, huh? LOL. THAT’S THE PROBLEM.

    • Bibliophile

      Hello, again. Ed.

      Oh, I have no problem with any part of Romans, one of my favourites actually, since there Paul generally describes the liberation from fear of judgment and bondage to sin and death which the grace of Christ brings, of which the two verses you referenced are included.
      But I’m sure you must have a problem with John 6.53:
      “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

      You probably also dislike Matthew 5.31, and Matthew 19.8,9, in which we have the stern prohibitions of Jesus Christ on the issue of divorce.

      Also, earlier you railed against Catholic ‘arrogance’ in exercising authority to interpret Sacred Scriptures; but don’t you think it’s arrogant – and even a little hypocritical, perhaps? – to assert that traditionally Sacred Scriptures have been misinterpreted, and so to imply that tradition is of no consequence and has no significance of relevance at all when it comes to questions of interpretation? Are you not merely setting yourself up as an authority, establishing your own individual ‘papcy’? Or is it just the traditional interpretations of Sacred Scriptures with which you personally disagree that you don’t like – for instance, interpretations by countless Church Fathers concerning the Real Presence in the Eucharist?

      • chapmaned24


        No, I don’t have a problem with John 6:53. I have a problem with Catholic interpretation of John 6:53.

        Jesus was speaking in SPIRITUAL language, which some might call, METAPHORICALLY.

        Jesus was the PASSOVER, both LAMB and BREAD and WINE. This all deals with PASSOVER. Jesus is the LAMB of God. The lamb was killed on the cross.

        Without spot/without blemish.

        Unleavened bread (without sin).

        During a Seder, each adult diner drinks four cups of wine, representing the redemption of the Israelites from slavery under the Egyptians. A fifth cup is reserved for the prophet Elijah in hopes he will visit during the celebration; representing future redemption, it is left unconsumed.

        Jesus was talking about the Passover, and we should all know that every feast required is nothing more than PROPHESY of Jesus is some form or fashion.

        But you Catholics take it LITERALLY regarding REAL FLESH of Jesus, and REAL BLOOD of Jesus that one must eat and drink, rahter than seeing it as PROPHESY fulfilled in a PASSOVER MEAL. A meal, fulfilled, never to be eaten again. But you keep presenting a passover over and over and over and over again, “till he comes”.

        The problem with that is that he already came 3 days later! Passover is a 7 day feast, not a one day thing. Jesus was crucified on DAY 1 of the feast, and rose fromt he dead on DAY 3 of the feast.

        Luke 22:1
        Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

        For those who think that Passover is just a one day thing!

        Regarding your “divorce” issues…the Pharisees asked about “PUT AWAY”. They didn’t ask about divorce.

        If you put away without divorce, THAT is what causes adultery.

        But put away without a divorce is allowed without a divorce, because (they were all under the law of Moses at the time of this conversation) the penalty for adultery is NOT divorce to remarry, but STONED TO DEATH.

        So if a put away spouse is not divorced, and they “marry another”, then that is not only adultery, because there was no divorce, but that’s also bigamy, as well.

        A divorce legally terminates the contract of marriage…according to THE LAW.

        The issue with the Pharisees was that people were PUTTING AWAY without a divorce…and adultery was taking place BECAUSE of that.

        In the example of Deu 24:1-4, you have a twice divorced woman, with a remarraige in between. Not a sin in either case.

        Ed Chapman

      • chapmaned24


        You do realize that the Bereans did NOT just TAKE PAUL’S WORD for the things that he preached. They searched the scriptures daily to see if what Paul preached was TRUE OR FALSE. They had to READ IT FOR THEMSELVES to VERIFY it.

        I’m not looking to be a Pope, because I do not believe in anyone being a Pope. And I certainly do not believe that Peter is the person that Catholics proclaim him to be.

        Peter said that Jesus was the Christ. It is the STATEMENT that Jesus is the Christ that is the FOUNDATION, aka ROCK that Jesus builds his church, the CORNERSTONE, the FIRST ROCK LAID in a foundation is the cornerstone, and Jesus is the cornerstone.

        So no matter how the Catholics want to say that Peter is THE ROCK upon which Jesus builds his church, that’s outlandishly false!

        Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, and the word Babylon is NOT code for Rome.

        We need to remember that there are twelve tribes of Israel. Ten Tribes were still in a captivity during the times of Jesus, so that leaves 2 tribes that came back to Israel during the times of Jesus. Those two tribes were Judah and Benjamin. However, MORE Jews stayed behind after the captivity than for those Jews who came back to Israel. Peter had a lot of Jews to preach the gospel to. The CITY of Babylon may have been destroyed, but Babylon as a territory still existed. Assyria. So if Peter used the word Babylon, he means Babylon, not Rome.

        Peter has no business in Rome. That was Paul’s territory. He was the Roman citizen. He was the one who God sent to Rome.

        Peter was not sent by God to Rome.

        Therefore, I have a problem with the FOUNDATION of Catholicism. I reject Popes. Besides, how many Jewish Popes have there ever been, since Catholics are not too fond of Jews in the first place? Just Peter? LOL. No, I don’t believe that Peter ever was a Pope to begin with.

        Ed Chapman

    • Bibliophile

      Hello, once again, Ed.

      Yes, I’m well aware that there were some more studiously inclined Bereans to whom Paul preached; I don’t see how that negates Apostolic authority – from which, by the way, the Roman Catholic Church directly derives her authority in Apostolic succession, which in turn derives from Christ himself. You will find no apostolic authority – and hence, no authority of Christ – in protestant denominationalism, since no denomination claims apostolic succession (RCC is not a denomination, FYI: that terminology is reserved for the sectarianism which emerged from RCC since the 16th century rebellion; prior to that, there existed no such thing as a Christian ‘denomination’: there was – and still is – only one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The rest are all denominational groups who tremble at this formibable historical reality and rich ancestry; and when these denominational sects try to claim for themselves ancient origins, they only end up looking even more ridiculously absurd, as even a few protestant scholars have admitted).

      I’d be interested to what your hermeutical and exegetical methodology makes of John 3, Nicodemus meets with Jesus privately and is told he must be born again of water and the spirit. Then we can compare this interpretation with your interpretation of John 6 and check for consistency and coherence.

      Looking forward!

    • Bibliophile

      Also, Ed: how is the criteria by which you determine whether or not Jesus is speaking ‘metaphorically’ not totally arbitrary? Seems to me like there is a serious danger here of metaphorical language being misused and reduced to a mere conveniece, a hatch through which you can escape whenever an interpretation of a text doesn’t suit your needs.

      • chapmaned24

        I stand by my statement. Is Jesus really a real lamb, too?

        • Bibliophile

          Come now, Ed, no need to be evasive. You may stand by your statement, but the question still stands – how is the criteria by which you determine whether or not Jesus speaks metaphorically not arbitrary? Kindly demonstrate the supposed non-arbitrariness

        • chapmaned24

          I have said what I have said. I have given you the reason. Deu 29:4, John 9:39-41, and all references to why Jesus talks to Jewish non-disciples in a cryptic manner…. because it is to the disciples to know, not the others.

          Unfortunately for you, you think that Jesus speaks in a manner that every one can understand. So when Jesus says, “Eat me”, you get the barbecue ready. Lololol!!

      • chapmaned24

        Deu 29:4, John 9:39-41, plus all references to why Jesus speaks to non-disciples in cryptic manner.

        By the way, Deu 29:4 includes Nicodemus as well.

        Ed Chapman

        • Bibliophile

          Throwing out an unrelated Bible verse doesn’t constitute non-arbitrary criteria, Ed. Deuteronomy 29 doesn’t prove that Ed Chapman isn’t just claiming ‘metaphor’ anytime he doesn’t like the implications of a particular passage of the Scriptures

    • Bibliophile

      I almost forgot to address this factually incorrect and historically innacurate statement:
      “The CITY of Babylon may have been destroyed, but Babylon as a territory still existed. Assyria. So if Peter used the word Babylon, he means Babylon, not Rome.”

      Ed, look at this:

      “Fall of Babylon

      In 539 B.C., less than a century after its founding, the legendary Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. The fall of Babylon was complete when the empire came under Persian control.”

      Babylonian empire was non-existent nearly six hundred (600) years – before Christ. Six centuries. Then the Persians came. Then came the Greeks. Then came the Romans. And only then – like, maybe one or two hundred years shy of a millennium – were Peter’s epistles composed.

      There was no ‘city of Babylon’ in existence at that time.

      No, Ed. I’m sorry, Ed. Just, no.

      • chapmaned24

        And yet, the Jews have the Babylonian Talmud, completed in… what year?

        The information I told you about Babylon is from a Jewish website many years ago.

        As far as Nicodemus… I’ll bet you don’t even know what born again is about either.

        At creation we are born of God… then sin separated God from me. Spiritual death. Born AGAIN “KEY WORD”, is a spiritual resurrection from the spiritual dead which brings God back into our body.

        I reject your claim about apostolic authority.

        But, you would say what you do… you’re a catholic.

        Since I reject your claim about Peter, your foundation, then I reject all of it.

        Ed Chapman

        • Bibliophile

          I’m not asking what it means to be born again: Jesus, in response to Nicodemus’s confusion, makes the meaning of ‘born again’ plain in the immediate context of John 3, the same way he makes plain the meaning of ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’ in response to the confusion of the crowds in the context of John 6. But I am asking you what you think of the reference in the text specifically to being born ‘of water and of the spirit’, in order that we may determine whether your criteria to determine what is metaphorical language is consistent or totally arbitrary, to suit your own agenda (I’m leaning to the latter more now, since you started with the Deuteronomy line of argument, which has no relevance here at all, at least none that you have disclosed)

      • chapmaned24

        I stand by what I said. If Peter said Babylon… he meant Babylon.

        • Bibliophile

          Ed, I think we both agree that there was no city of Babylon, even if there was still a “territory” by that name in Mesopotamia where the Talmud was composed. However, the date and place of composition of the Talmud has no significance or relevance in this discussion due to the fact that: –

          a) There is no evidence that Peter was ever in Babylon, or that there was even a church there during the 1st century;

          b) Mark and Silvanus are associated with Peter in the letter and there is no tradition that connects either of them with Babylon. According to Josephus (Antiquities, XVIII, ix, 5-9), the Jews at this time had largely been driven out of Babylon and were confined to neighboring towns, and it seems improbable that Peter would have made that his missionary field.

          c) There is tradition which connects Peter with Rome; and

          d) There is no tradition connecting Peter with Babylon.

          As you can see, even granting the period in which the Babylonian Talmud was composed, that doesn’t negate any of the facts associating Peter with Rome.

          You may have forgotten, Ed: when I first converted to Christianity, I attended a Baptist Bible Institute where I received my initial theological training and was there indoctrinated with this same tripe about Babylon. But what you may not be aware of – and what my indoctrinators made sure to conceal from view – was that the long-standing interpretation of Babylon as symolical reference to Rome in Peter’s letter was only rejected at the Reformation when protestant polemics attempted to distance Peter from the Roman Church, for obvious reasons. As the saying goes: desperate times call for desperate measures: the protestants were certainly desperate. Another saying has it that necessity is the mother of invention: the protestants needed to invent something to bolster their confidence in rebellion against the papacy, and so they fabricated a story about Peter being in Babylon, when in fact, as far as Peter’s epistle is concerned, it had always been understood that Babylon was symbolic for Rome.

        • chapmaned24

          I’ve heard your take on Babylon from other Catholics. But, you have a major problem where that is concerned. His epistles were directed at his Jewish audience. Not gentiles. Then there is the issue of prophesy. The only one who spoke of prophecy was John in revelation.

          Therefore, I reject the concept that Peter is speaking symbolically when using the word, Babylon.

          You, as a Catholic, proclaim that Peter’s SEAT, if you will, is in Rome.

          Acts 18:2

          And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

          That verse is important.

          Galatians 2:9

          And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

          That verse is very important.

          I rest my case.

        • chapmaned24


          The following Link is a Jewish Website. They are not Christian, Romans, Catholics, or Baptists.

          The Jews called it Babylon, whether you do, or not:

          So, like I keep saying, if Peter said Babylon, he meant Babylon.

          Ed Chapman

        • chapmaned24


          You had said:
          “a) There is no evidence that Peter was ever in Babylon, or that there was even a church there during the 1st century;”

          My response:

          1 Peter 5:13
          The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

          That’s evidence. You just don’t like the evidence, so you make up a story about CODE WORDS.

          Ed Chapman

      • chapmaned24


        It doesn’t matter what you say about it. It only matters what the Jews say. They still called it Babylon, whether you like it or not. I gave you a Jewish web site that discussed exactly what I stated. Take it up with the Jews.

        If Peter said Babylon, he meant Babylon. It doesn’t matter what Catholics say.

        Ed Chapman

        • Bibliophile

          ‘What Catholics say’ is in agreement with historical and Biblical scholarship, as well as ancient tradition concerning Peter’s connection with Rome – a tradition which, by the way, was only rejected at the Reformation, for no other reason than that it suited the protestant anarchist agenda of wanting to distance Peter from Rome – for obvious reasons.

          You are conflating what Ed Chapman personally believes about what Peter is saying with reference to Babylon, with what Peter is actually saying in that regard; and the two are vastly different things, with Ed Chapman’s uninformed opinions being notably further from the truth of the matter. You are merely accommodating the Bible to your own anti-Catholic bias.

    • chapmaned24

      I say again…if Peter said Babylon, he meant Babylon. Peter doesn’t compose riddles. And he doesn’t speak in code. He was the apostle to the Jews. He had no business in Rome. Rome is not Peter’s territory.

      I’m not buying what you are selling. More Jews stayed behind in the territory of the captivity than those who came to Israel during the time of Jesus. So Peter had a lot of Jews to talk to.

      You can’t get around that Peter was the apostle to the Jews, regardless of Cornelius. Rome was about Gentiles, and that was Paul’s territory.

      I will never buy off on catholic history.

    • Bibliophile

      Ed. I think we need to settle one issue at a time here, rather than shifting from one item to the next without resolution.

      You still haven’t given me your criteria by which you judge what is and is not metaphorical language in the Bible. And no, a random unrelated verse from the OT doesn’t constitute criteria. So, unless you can show how your criteria is not totally arbitrary, in the face of your personal incredulity I have no choice but to conclude you don’t actually have any criteria at all to determine what is metaphorical and what isn’t, and I’ll take your failure to give any coherent answer as a concession on your part that you only cry “metpahor” when you dislike the implications of a text.

    • chapmaned24


      You had said:
      “You still haven’t given me your criteria by which you judge what is and is not metaphorical language in the Bible”

      My response:
      Yes I did.

      However, a two year old knows that wine is not blood, and bread is not a body. It’s SPIRITUAL language. Just like the following:

      John 1:29
      The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

      LAMB OF GOD.

      Is Jesus REALLY a lamb? Come on, man! You can’t be serious.

      But I will do it again.

      Deu 29:4/Romans 11:8
      John 9:39-41
      Mathew 13:10-11
      Mark 4:11
      Mark 4:34
      Luke 8:10
      1 Corinthians 5:7
      John 1:29 (PASSOVER LAMB)


      Each item in the passover is a REPRESENTATION of Jesus in a PROPHESY of Jesus.

      I’ll give a bigger example…since Catholics DON’T LIKE JEWS…

      The Bread…

      It is CUT IN HALF. Half is eaten, which SIGNIFIES the death of Jesus.

      The other half is wrapped in white cloth, and SIGNIFIES the BURIEL of Jesus.

      It is HIDDEN by the adults, for the CHILDREN to find.

      Once they find it, it is unwrapped…which SIGNIFIES the resurrection of Jesus.

      It’s a GAME for the kids…kinda like EASTER EGGS, which many would proclaim is a Catholic PAGAN tradition.

      This story is how the JEWS FOR JESUS explains EVERY FOOD ITEM in a Passover meal, and how it all relates to Jesus. It’s SYMBOLIC, of Jesus.

      Jesus isn’t a real lamb, nor is he real bread, nor is he real wine. It’s all PROPHESY.

      Every feast is PROPHESY. Jesus is the FIRST FRUIT…he’s not really a FIG, or an APPLE.

      Dude, the things you people come up with is WIERD. To the max!

      But, you go ahead and defend your strange Catholic ritual TRADITIONS, when I read 1 Cor 11, all I see is ETHICS on how to conduct yourself at the dinner table.

      Ed Chapman

      • Bibliophile

        I’m happy to defend the Catholic faith if anyone asks me, Ed.

        Once again, throwing out random, unrelated references in the Bible does not constitute criteria by which to determine what is and is not to be understood as metaphor in the Bible.

        It had by now become apparent that you are unable to articulate those criteria – purely and simply because you did not possess those criteria in the first place!

        In conclusion, it is plainly obvious that protestants have no way to determine what is and is not Sacred Scripture – as Michael’s post reveals – and that protestants also have no way of reliably interpreting the Scriptures (that is, once the same Scriptures have first of all been identified for them by Catholics): hence, the rampant denominationalism in protestantism.

        You have a good day, Ed. Maybe some day if you apply yourself to it you’ll be the first protestant ever to formulate some solid principles and non-arbitrary criteria by which protestants can reliably identify and interpret the scriptures: in the meantime you cannot even hope to achieve anything like that with the pointless circularity ‘proof texting’.

        All the best!

        P.S. you can go ahead ‘lol’ as much as you want now, it certainly does nothing for your credibility here.

        • chapmaned24

          Jesus warned us about people like you. The Pharisees, and scribes. You are supposed to be our servant, not our dictator. The foundation of Catholicism is Peter. If Catholicism begins with a lie, it’s all a lie.

          I reject your Catholicism, completely.

          Protestants defected for a reason.

          Many atheists were raised catholic. George Carlin being one famous one.

          Ed Chapman

        • chapmaned24

          The references were not random.

          The Jews are blind, and the only ones that can see are the disciples of Jesus. Jesus speaks plainly to disciples… to the rest… in riddles, parables… not straight forward.

          I don’t know how your get random or if that.

          To end this conversation, you misuse Peter’s reference about interpreting scripture.

          When you read it in context, it states that all prophesy is about Jesus. Prophesy is not about anyone else (PRIVATE INTERPRETAION OF…PROPHESY…OF SCRIPTURE.

          The reference does not say that we don’t have a right to interpret scripture.

          That’s a catholic fallacy.

          You want power and control. Point blank.

          No thank you!

    • Bibliophile

      Ed, in view of your abject failure to articulate any legitimate criteria whatsoever by which to interpret the scriptures, at least with respect to reliably and consistently distinguishing between literal and metaphorical language, you have basically conceded that, in fact, you do not have any such criteria at all, and that your hermeneutic is totally arbitrary and that nobody has any good reason to take seriously anything you say on the issue of when Jesus is or is not speaking metaphorically, as it is evident that you just make it up as you go along. We can now move on to your next claim.

      “I’ve heard your take on Babylon from other Catholics. But, you have a major problem where that is concerned. His epistles were directed at his Jewish audience. Not gentiles.”

      I’m glad you’ve heard this ‘take on Bablyon from other Catholics – I would be surprised if you had not, given that it is the only reasonable position to maintain as the most likely understanding, especially given the fact that there is independent evidence in form of a centuries old tradition that connects Peter with Rome, but none whatsoever connecting him with the territory identified as Babylon (a single reference to ‘Babylon’ in Peter’s epistle does not constitute a tradition about Peter being in Babylon, and so cannot be regarded in any way as independent evidence to substantiate the claim that Peter was ever in Babylon).

      The fact that Peter’s audience was Jewish only makes matters even worse for you, since Jews were persecuted in that territory and there was not likely to be a significant Jewish population there, much less any Christian church composed of Jewish converts. Josephus was a Jewish historian – so why should it matter to him if the audience were not Gentiles? – and he reports that Jews suffering persecution had no business being in the territory:

      “According to Josephus (Antiquities, XVIII, ix, 5-9), the Jews at this time had largely been driven out of Babylon and were confined to neighboring towns”.

      The above is quoted from Ellicot’s commentary on the Bible. So, once again, Ed, your failure to interact with relvenat and reliable Biblical and historical scholarship reveals that there is nothing at all – absolutely nothing – guiding your interpretation of scriptures, apart from your anti-Catholic bias. And so why should anyone believe anything you say?

      In view of your irresponsible handling of Sacred Scripture; blatant disregard for any sort of reliable scholarship; rejection of any kind of verifiable evidence; and constant misrepresentation of the Catholic faith -; it is safe to conclude that you have very little of any worth or interest to contribute to this discussion, except to expose the anti-Catholic bias which guides your personal theology and largely defines protestantism.

      Good day to you, sir 🙂

      • chapmaned24

        Refer to the Jewish web site. They called it Babylon. You can do your Catholic dance all you want. I’m still going to reject your made up fake and phony authority to interpret scripture FOR ME. You have plenty of gullible people out there.

        But if I were you, I’d be mourning all of the former Catholics who became atheists, instead of worrying about me.

        Do you even consider George Carlin? Raised Catholic, and was sick of your sh….I mean stuff.

        Your HEMAN NEUTICS… lol, keeps making atheists instead of children of God. And you baptized these atheists. What a waste of time and water! That’s why we don’t baptize babies.

        Ed Chapman

    • Bibliophile

      Nobody is denying the existence of a Roman territory that was referred to as Babylon – the dispute over the reference has nothing whatsoever to do with that; if not for your anti-Catholic bias which prevents you from seeing the obvious, you would recognise that we are in agreement up to this point. However, what is being denied, precisely because it lacks any independently verifiable evidential basis – such as the existence of an ancient tradition connecting Peter with Babylon – is Ed Chapman’s claim that Peter was referring to this territory in his epistle.

      Without any independently verifiable evidence, your empty claims are just ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

      It’s interesting to observe that your tactics have become increasingly more desperate and your comments devoid of any substance, the more it becomes apparent that you in fact do not have any evidential basis for your bold-faced assertions – much the same as your regurgitations began to scrape the bottom of the barrel the more it became clear that you do not in fact have any consistent hermeneutical principles to reliably distinguish between metaphorical and literal language in Sacred Scriptures, when we discussed John 6.

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