Catholic Rebuttal of
the Christian Research Institute Journal Article "What Think Ye of Rome"Part Three: The Catholic-Protestant Debate on Biblical Authority by Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie PART 2
The Bible Does Not State a Preference for Oral Tradition
The Catholic use of 3 John to prove the superiority of oral tradition is a classic example of taking a text out of context. John is not comparing oral and written tradition about the past but a written, as opposed to a personal, communication in the present. Notice carefully what he said: "I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. Instead, I hope to see you soon when we can talk face to face" (3 John 13). Who would not prefer a face-to-face talk with a living apostle over a letter from him? But that is not what oral tradition gives. Rather, it provides an unreliable oral tradition as opposed to an infallible written one. Sola Scriptura contends the latter is preferable.
authors are correct here. Who wouldn't rather speak face to
face with a living Apostle? The problem here is the fact that
it IS the living Apostle that is writing to the laity, not the other
way around. John is not writing to another Apostle, but to the
common folk. It is in this context that he says he, the
Apostle, would rather not write, but speak orally to them "so
that our joy may be complete" (2 John 1:12).
If the infallible written tradition is more reliable, then why do we have 26,000 different denominations all stressing the "Bible alone," yet all contradicting one another on some important doctrine. Some say Baptism is necessary, others say you don't need it at all. Some say Jesus is present in Holy Communion, others say no; and on and on; so tell me again why the written Word is more reliable!
Bible Is Clear Apart from Tradition
The Bible has perspicuity apart from any traditions to help us understand it. As stated above, and contrary to a rather wide misunderstanding by Catholics, perspicuity does not mean that everything in the Bible is absolutely clear but that the main message is clear. That is, all doctrines essential for salvation and living according to the will of God are sufficiently clear.
Again, Sola Scriptura is not clear, neither is justification, these are two most important issue for Protestants. They ("Bible onlyites") cannot come to a substantive agreement on how is man saved! Some say we can lose our salvation, others insist no; some say works are necessary, others don't. I'd say this is a doctrine "essential for salvation" wouldn't you agree? Yet, it is certainly not clear.
Indeed, to assume that oral traditions of the apostles, not written in the Bible, are necessary to interpret what is written in the Bible under inspiration is to argue that the uninspired is more clear than the inspired. But it is utterly presumptuous to assert that what fallible human beings pronounce is clearer than what the infallible Word of God declares. Further, it is unreasonable to insist that words of the apostles that were not written down are more clear than the ones they did write. We all know from experience that this is not so.
Bible never claims perpescuity, as the Protestants claim for it.
The Bible tells us that "There are some things in them hard to
understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own
destruction, as they do the other scriptures" (2 Peter 3:16).
Now if the ignorant and he unstable twist it to their own
destruction, then it must be essential, no? But what
does the Bible teach for people to follow; "Say to those who are
of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will
come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and
save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the
ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth
in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall
become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of
jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and
rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the
Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err
therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up
on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk
there" ( Isaiah 35:4-9)
Now if this "highway" is a path where even the "fools" (read: ignorant) cannot go astray, then Isaiah is not preaching a Bible alone philosophy. For as we have just seen, 2 Peter says the fool (ignorant) can be led astray through their misinterpretation of Scripture.
Tradition and Scripture Are Not Inseparable
Kreeft's claim that Scripture and apostolic tradition are inseparable is unconvincing. Even his illustration of the horse (Scripture) and the rider (tradition) would suggest that Scripture and apostolic tradition are separable. Further, even if it is granted that tradition is necessary, the Catholic inference that it has to be infallible tradition -- indeed, the infallible tradition of the church of Rome -- is unfounded. Protestants, who believe in sola Scriptura, accept genuine tradition; they simply do not believe it is infallible. Finally, Kreeft's argument wrongly assumes that the Bible was produced by the Roman Catholic church. As we will see in the next point, this is not the case.
you see again the word game: "indeed, the infallible
tradition of the church of Rome." The Catholic
Church is not the "church of Rome," but the "Church of
Jesus Christ" that happens to have it's offices in Rome.
Jesus Christ founded His Church and promised that it would be with us
till the end of the world.
The way that these Traditions are separate is that they are not both written down, nor both transmitted orally. But they have the same source, God, and lead to the same ideal, they are given for our salvation.
And, by the way, the authors comment that "Protestants . . . accept genuine tradition" is a misnomer. Their idea of "genuine tradition" is anything that was taught by the Fathers that they happen to agree with. If they don't agree with it, they simply say it is not genuine.
The Principle of Causality Is Not Violated
Kreeft's argument that sola Scriptura violates the principle of causality is invalid for one fundamental reason: it is based on a false assumption. He wrongly assumes, unwittingly in contrast to what Vatican II and even Vatican I say about the canon, that the church determined the canon. In fact, God determined the canon by inspiring these books and no others. The church merely discovered which books God had determined (inspired) to be in the canon. This being the case, Kreeft's argument that the cause must be equal to its effect (or greater) fails.
is another attempt to play with words. Although it is well
within orthodoxy to say God determined the canon by inspiring the
twenty seven books, Kreeft was also well within orthodoxy to say the
Church determined the canon. How can both be true? God
did indeed inspire fallible human beings to write infallible
Scripture, thus in this case, God determined the canon. At the
same time, the Catholic Church had to sift through many documents
that were circulationg in the early centuries all claiming to be
inspired. When the sifting ended, lo and behold, we have
27 books in the New Testament. Thus the Church determined the
canon by deciding which books were and were not inspired.
If God could inspire fallible human beings to write infallible documents, can He not do the same with fallible human today so "that the gates of hell may not prevail against (His Church)" (Matt 16:19)?
of Tradition Does Not Necessitate Scandal
Kreeft's claim that the rejection of the Roman Catholic view on infallible tradition leads to the scandal of denominationalism does not follow for many reasons. First, this wrongly implies that all denominationalism is scandalous. Not necessarily so, as long as the denominations do not deny the essential doctrines of the Christian church and true spiritual unity with other believers in contrast to mere external organizational uniformity. Nor can one argue successfully that unbelievers are unable to see spiritual unity. For Jesus declared: "This is how all [men] will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
Again, who decides what are the essential doctrines? Remember, the Acts of the Apostle's says:" Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common" (Acts 4:32) It doesn't even imply that they were one only in the essentials! The simple fact is, that only when you are of "one heart and soul" do you possess true spiritual unity.
Second, as orthodox Catholics know well, the scandal of liberalism is as great inside the Catholic church as it is outside of it. When Catholic apologists claim there is significantly more doctrinal agreement among Catholics than Protestants, they must mean between orthodox Catholics and all Protestants (orthodox and unorthodox) -- which, of course, is not a fair comparison.
again, who is the "pope" of Protestantism to decide who is,
or is not orthodox? These so-called un-orthodox Protestants are
merely doing what they were told to do, take the Bible alone,
interpret for yourself, and see what you come up with. They may
well view themselves as orthodox.
Meanwhile. the liberal movement within Catholic Church has nothing to do with this argument. As I said before, what individual Catholics, apart from the Church, teach is irrelevant. What we are discussing here is what the Catholic Church teaches.
Only when one chooses to compare things like the mode and candidate for baptism, church government, views on the Eucharist, and other less essential doctrines are there greater differences among orthodox Protestants.
That nagging question keeps returning again and again "Who decides what are essentials?" It seems to me that Jesus made it quite clear that the Eucharist was "essential" when He said ""Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53)! Why is this "unless" unessential, and the "unless" of John 3:3 so essential??!!
When, however, we compare the differences with orthodox Catholics and orthodox Protestants or with all Catholics and all Protestants on the more essential doctrines, there is no significant edge for Catholicism. This fact negates the value of the alleged infallible teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church. In point of fact, Protestants seem to do about as well as Catholics on unanimity of essential doctrines with only an infallible Bible and no infallible interpreters of it!
is most true that Catholic's and Protestant's have much more in
common than not. However, as I pointed out before, how do you
know which are the "essential" doctrines unless someone
tells you? And how does this negate an infallible teaching
authority. All Protestant denominations prior to 1930 taught
that contraception was a mortal sin, few (if any) teach it today.
If it IS a mortal sin (and it is), then that would be an essential
teaching, wouldn't it? Either God changed or the Protestant
churches changed. Guess which one it is.
To be so cavalier about searching for truth is sad. The quote "no significant edge" leads one to believe that the authors don't care about having all the truth, only a significant porton of it. As for me, I want all the Truth that God entrusts me with.
Third, orthodox Protestant "denominations," though there be many, have not historically differed much more significantly than have the various "orders" of the Roman Catholic church. Orthodox Protestants' differences are largely over secondary issues, not primary (fundamental) doctrines. So this Catholic argument against Protestantism is self-condemning.
not quite sure what the authors mean by "self-condemning."
You must again ask the question, "do I want all the truth, or only a good portion of it?"
I would hazard a guess that another of those secondary issues is divorce and remarriage. Something that Jesus condemned, and the Catholic Church has condemned for 2,000 years. Yet, most Protestant's don't think twice about it. Adultery is one of the big sins that St. Paul says will keep you out of heaven (Eph 5:5, Romans 13:9). Jesus backs that up by saying ""Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." (Mark 10:12) I guess this isn't an essential either, right?
Fourth, as J. I. Packer noted, "the real deep divisions have been caused not by those who maintained sola Scriptura, but by those, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, who reject it." Further, "when adherents of sola Scriptura have split from each other the cause has been sin rather than Protestant biblicism...." Certainly this is often the case. A bad hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) is more crucial to deviation from orthodoxy than is the rejection of an infallible tradition in the Roman Catholic church.
It is sin which causes division among us. It is sin that
causes poor interpretation of Scripture. That is why God gave
us Church to go to on matters of faith and morals. Because we
are sinful people, we error often and cannot be relied upon to come
up with the right interpretation every time. Thus God sent the
"Spirit of Truth" to "guide you into all the truth;
for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he
will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
This quote; "A bad hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) is more crucial to deviation from orthodoxy than is the rejection of an infallible tradition in the Roman Catholic church," is merely the opinion of the author. Who decides what is the proper hermeneutic? How do the poor sheep in the congregation know if their pastor arrived at a particular teaching through a "bad hermaneutic?" And if you really think about it, as soon as you "deviate from the infallible tradition," you are already in "deep division" because you've rejected truth for a fable.
Century Christians Had Scripture and Living Apostles
Kreeft's argument that the first generation of Christians did not have the New Testament, only the church to teach them, overlooks several basic facts.
There are no facts to overlook. This is the plain truth. Read this statement over and over again, and you'll agree with Mr. Kreeft. The authors agree with this in their following statement.
the essential Bible of the early first century Christians was the Old
Testament, as the New Testament itself declares (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15-17;
Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6).
This is correct.
early New Testament believers did not need further revelation through
the apostles in written form for one very simple reason: they still
had the living apostles to teach them. As soon as the apostles died,
however, it became imperative for the written record of their
infallible teaching to be available. And it was -- in the apostolic
writings known as the New Testament.
Why did it become "imperative for the written record" to be available? This is stated only when one has a preconcieved notion that God did not leave His children an authoritative Church to go to. Yet, Matt 16:15-19 states very clearly that Jesus built a Church. What was this church? This Church had the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever this church taught, would be true because it was ratified in heaven. God cannot decieve us, therefore if the Church binds anything on earth (according to the promise in Matt 16:18), that thing will be bound in heaven. God will not bind falsehood, thus this Church must teach truth, and only truth. Or maybe you'll say this Church only lasted till Peter's death. Why would Jesus go through the trouble of setting up a church in the first place, if He knew it would only last 30 years?
Third, Kreeft's argument wrongly assumes that there was apostolic succession (see Part Four, next issue). The only infallible authority that succeeded the apostles was their infallible apostolic writings, that is, the New Testament.
Kreeeft does not "assume" it, he has the evidence to back him up, something Protestant scholars don't have.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST INFALLIBLE TRADITION
There are many reasons Protestants reject the Roman Catholic claim that there is an extrabiblical apostolic tradition of equal reliability and authenticity to Scripture. The following are some of the more significant ones.
Traditions Are Unreliable
In point of fact, oral traditions are notoriously unreliable. They are the stuff of which legends and myths are made. What is written is more easily preserved in its original form. Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper notes four advantages of a written revelation: (1) It has durability whereby errors of memory or accidental corruptions, deliberate or not, are minimized; (2) It can be universally disseminated through translation and reproduction; (3) It has the attribute of fixedness and purity; (4) It is given a finality and normativeness which other forms of communication cannot attain.
Humanly speaking, maybe the author is right, but we are speaking of God and His Church here. You know, the one guided by the Holy Spirit!
By contrast, what is not written is more easily polluted. We find an example of this in the New Testament. There was an unwritten "apostolic tradition" (i.e., one coming from the apostles) based on a misunderstanding of what Jesus said. They wrongly assumed that Jesus affirmed that the apostle John would not die. John, however, debunked this false tradition in his authoritative written record (John 21:22-23).
may be a good argument if there weren't so many examples in the
Scriptures that show people misunderstanding the written Word.
First and foremost were the Scribes and Pharisees. They knew
the Scriptures like the back of their hands. Yet, they didn't
"know" the Scriptures. They constantly misunderstood
what God had taught them, thus bringing the wrath of Christ down on
them in Matt 23.
In Matt 5-7, we see Jesus orally explaining the 'meaning' of the Scriptures to His hearers.
In Luke 24:26, Jesus has to explain the Scriptures 'orally' on the road to Emmaus.
In Luke 24:45, "He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures."
In Acts 8:30, "How can I (understand what I'm reading), unless someone explain it to me."
In Acts 19, Paul must orally explain the meaning of the Scriptures to the Bereans so they can understand what was written.
And,of course, the ever popular "But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. (Matt 22:25)" The Scribes and Pharisees "knew the Scriptures," it was their understanding of them that was faulty.
Common sense and historical experience inform us that the generation alive when an alleged revelation was given is in a much better position to know if it is a true revelation than are succeeding generations, especially those hundreds of years later. Many traditions proclaimed to be divine revelation by the Roman Catholic Magisterium were done so centuries, even a millennia or so, after they were allegedly given by God. And in the case of some of these, there is no solid evidence that the tradition was believed by any significant number of orthodox Christians until centuries after they occurred. But those living at such a late date are in a much inferior position than contemporaries, such as those who wrote the New Testament, to know what was truly a revelation from God.
is true that those closest to the event are in a much better position
to know what the revelation was. The problem is that Christians
today can't agree on what these revelations mean, or how are they to
be applied. That is why the Catholic Church has always held the
Church Fathers in such high esteem. These 1st and 2nd century
Fathers were eyewitnesses to the Apostle's, or eyewitnesses to a
disciple of an Apostle. Their writings are not revered as the
Scriptures, and they are not infallible, no ones writing is, but that
doesn't mean one can't gain truth from their writings.
For instance, we find every Church Father teaching that the Eucharist is the flesh and blood of our Lord. This is probably the one teaching that is easiest to discern from the Fathers. Every Church Father taught that spiritual regeneration was caused through the waters of Baptism, another doctrine these authors deny. Every Church Father taught obedience to the bishop was a sign of submission to Christ. One must wonder here what the authors consider "solid evidence." These are three "essential"teachings of the first three centuries of the Christian Church, yet, these authors deny all three.
Are Contradictory Traditions
It is acknowledged by all, even by Catholic scholars, that there are contradictory Christian traditions. In fact, the great medieval theologian Peter Abelard noted hundreds of differences. For example, some fathers (e.g., Augustine) supported the Old Testament Apocrypha while others (e.g., Jerome) opposed it. Some great teachers (e.g., Aquinas) opposed the Immaculate Conception of Mary while others (e.g., Scotus) favored it. Indeed, some fathers opposed sola Scriptura, but others favored it.
is an interestingly worded argument. The authors use a slight
of hand word play here to mislead the readers.
Let's look at the Apocrypha . St. Jerome lived prior to the Church proclaiming the canon, Augustine afterward. You will note that no Christian held the Deuterocanonicals (Apocropha) as not part of the Canon after the Church made it's authoritative statement. If these Christians didn't believe in the authoritative Church, why were there no more arguments about the Canon afterwards? This case proves the necessity of an infallible teaching authority, and also a blow to the sola Scriptura folks. It is obvious from this controversy that Scripture isn't self-evident.
Besides, had the authors finished reading Jerome, they would have found him to say: "This is that holy Church which is without spot or wrinkle. For many others have gathered together Churches, as Marcion, and Valentinus, and Ebion, and Manichaeus, and Arius, and all the other heretics. But those Churches are not without spot or wrinkle of unfaithfulness. And therefore the Prophet said of them, “I hate the Church of the malignants, and I will not sit with the ungodly.” But of this Church which keeps the faith of Christ entire, hear what the Holy Spirit says in the Canticles, “My Glove is one; the perfect one of her mother is one.”" (Jerome, Commentary on the Apostles Creed) This is something no Protestant would dare say. The Church is "without spot or wrinkle," and "keeps the faith of Christ entire," the same thing the Catholic Church teaches today. Had Jerome lived after the Council of Carthage, he no doubt would have accepted the "Apocropha" as inspired, lest he be a hypocrite.
is true that Aquinas denied the Immaculate Conception, so what?
No Father, or Doctor, of the Church is infallible by him/herself.
Aquinas did believe Mary was born without Original Sin, but was
unsure as to when she was sanctified.
As far as 'some' Fathers favoring sola Scriptura, that is totally incorrect. Notice, no names were given.
Now this very fact makes it impossible to trust tradition in any authoritative sense. For the question always arises: which of the contradictory traditions (teachings) should be accepted? To say, "The one pronounced authoritative by the church" begs the question, since the infallibility of tradition is a necessary link in the argument for the very doctrine of the infallible authority of the church. Thus this infallibility should be provable without appealing to the Magisterium. The fact is that there are so many contradictory traditions that tradition, as such, is rendered unreliable as an authoritative source of dogma.
Tradition, and the Magisterium all work together for the good of
God's children. The fact you have "infallible"
tradition doesn't mean it is easily discernible. As the authors
have shown, we have "infallible" Scriptures, but they too,
were not easily discerned. So theirs is a poor conclusion drawn
from a faulty premise.
Just as the Church had to sift through the plethora of New Testament books that claimed to be "inspired," to decide on the New Testament Canon; so, too, the Church sifts through the plethora of evidence to decide (guided by the Holy Spirit, of course) which traditions are of God, and which are not. otherwise, we are all left to our on devices. This would mean we wouldn't even know which books were in the Canon.
Nor does it suffice to argue that while particular fathers cannot be trusted, nonetheless, the "unanimous consent" of the fathers can be. For there is no unanimous consent of the fathers on many doctrines "infallibly" proclaimed by the Catholic church (see below). In some cases there is not even a majority consent. Thus to appeal to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic church to settle the issue begs the question.
Again, the authors are throwing up a smokescreen. Why don't they believe in the doctrines EVERY ONE of the Fathers held?? Doctrines such as the Real Presence, and Baptismal Regeneration!!
The Catholic response to this is that just as the bride recognizes the voice of her husband in a crowd, even so the church recognizes the voice of her Husband in deciding which tradition is authentic. The analogy, however, is faulty. First, it assumes (without proof) that there is some divinely appointed postapostolic way to decide -- extrabiblically -- which traditions were from God.
The "proof" is there for those willing to look at it with an open mind. The Bible tells us to be obedient to our bishops, sounds like an authoritative body to me. Paul tells Timothy to teach others; again it shows an authoritative body. The Church is "the pillar and bulwark of the truth (1 Tim 3:16)." St. Paul says, "through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10)." The Church teaches even the angels! Sound authoritative to you?
Second, historical evidence such as that which supports the reliability of the New Testament is not to be found for the religious tradition used by Roman Catholics.
What is this? What "religious tradition" are we talking about? Are we supposed to guess?
There is, for example, no good evidence to support the existence of first century eyewitnesses (confirmed by miracles) who affirm the traditions pronounced infallible by the Roman Catholic church.
what are the authors saying here? What "traditions are
they talking about? And why do we need miracles to prove
anything. Is this idea found in Scripture?
Indeed, many Catholic doctrines are based on traditions that only emerge several centuries later and are disputed by both other traditions and the Bible (e.g., the Bodily Assumption of Mary).
authors continue to confuse Traditions with traditions. They
seem to feel that every opinion the Church Fathers uttered is a
tradition. This is ridiculous. For those areas that
aren't "defined" by the Church, we can hold our own opinion
(as long as it doesn't flatly contradict another teaching). And
this, many Fathers did. They didn't believe they were
infallible, they were simply expressing their opinion.
As to the bodily Assumption of Mary, it IS contained in the Scriptures 'materially." Mary is ythe "Ark of the New Covenant" which St. John sees in heaven in Rev 12.
Finally, the whole argument reduces to a subjective mystical experience that is given plausibility only because the analogy is false. Neither the Catholic church as such, nor any of its leaders, has experienced down through the centuries anything like a continual hearing of God's actual voice, so that it can recognize it again whenever He speaks. The truth is that the alleged recognition of her Husband's voice is nothing more than subjective faith in the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church.
faith is a Protestant stronghold. The very idea of sola
Scritura bases itself on subjective interpretations. It
inherently teaches its adherents to ask "what does this passage
say to me?"; or "How do I interpret this passage?"
Objective faith is the Catholic way. Where the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, hears the Masters voice and proclaims to all the faithful what must be held as true. Nowhere does the Church teach that it has a "continual hearing of God's actual voice." Rather, like the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the Church says "it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us . . ."
Use of Tradition Is Not Consistent
Not only are there contradictory traditions, but the Roman Catholic church is arbitrary and inconsistent in its choice of which tradition to pronounce infallible. This is evident in a number of areas. First, the Council of Trent chose to follow the weaker tradition in pronouncing the apocryphal books inspired. The earliest and best authorities, including the translator of the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible, St. Jerome, opposed the Apocrypha.
These "best authorities," who decides who are the "best authorities?" The fact is the Council of Trent followed the stronger tradition since the Deuterocanonicals (Apocrypha) were accepted as the Canon since 397 AD and NOBODY questioned it! To say, or imply, that Trent added the Apocrypha to the Canon in the 16th century is a gross misrepresentation of the facts!
Second, support from tradition for the dogma of the Bodily Assumption of Mary is late and weak. Yet despite the lack of any real evidence from Scripture or any substantial evidence from the teachings of early church fathers, Rome chose to pronounce this an infallible truth of the Catholic faith. In short, Roman Catholic dogmas at times do not grow out of rationally weighing the evidence of tradition but rather out of arbitrarily choosing which of the many conflicting traditions they wish to pronounce infallible. Thus, the "unanimous consent of the fathers" to which Trent commanded allegiance is a fiction.
To respond properly to this objection would take some time. I would refer the interested reader to inspect the following articles dealing with the Blessed Mother( http:members.xoom.com/dkeene/canfiles.html ). We are dealing here with sola Scriptura.
Third, apostolic tradition is nebulous. As has often been pointed out, "Never has the Roman Catholic Church given a complete and exhaustive list of the contents of extrabiblical apostolic tradition. It has not dared to do so because this oral tradition is such a nebulous entity." That is to say, even if all extrabiblical revelation definitely exists somewhere in some tradition (as Catholics claim), which ones these are has nowhere been declared.
These authors seem to think that declaring doctrine is a magic act. Poof, this is true; or poof, this is false. There is no list. That much is correct. But does that make it "nebulous?"
Finally, if the method by which they choose which traditions to canonize were followed in the practice of textual criticism of the Bible, one could never arrive at a sound reconstruction of the original manuscripts. For textual criticism involves weighing the evidence as to what the original actually said, not reading back into it what subsequent generations would like it to have said. Indeed, even most contemporary Catholic biblical scholars do not follow such an arbitrary procedure when determining the translation of the original text of Scripture (as in The New American Bible).
Isn't this a sneak attack at Catholic scholarship! Again, this total distrust for Catholic scholarship ("arbitrary," "reading into," etc.). Why is it that only Catholic's are guilty of this? From this paragraph, you would think that Catholic scholars intentionally error, in order to put forward their own agenda. While the Protestant's are the ones who are "weighing the evidence as to what the original actually said." I'msorry, but I'd like to think there is honest scholarship on both sides.
In conclusion, the question of authority is crucial to the differences between Catholics and Protestants. One of these is whether the Bible alone has infallible authority.
We have shown that the Bible alone is not enough. For we continue to have disagreements, even in what are considered the "clear" passages.
We have examined carefully the best Catholic arguments in favor of an additional authority to Scripture, infallible tradition, and found them all wanting.
I'm sorry, but you haven't looked at the "best Catholic arguments." There are many more Catholic arguments, we've only touched on some in this rebuttal.
Further, we have advanced many reasons for accepting the Bible alone as the sufficient authority for all matters of faith and morals.
You have advanced many reasons, but none solid enough to proved your point!
This is supported by Scripture and sound reason.
Scripture was used very little. As to the "sound reason,' we'll let the readers decide