Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Objections

The following comment was left on the last entry.

In your "An Objection Answered Section" you seem to have combined two objections, and do not seemed to have answered either.

Here is the first objection: if the written content of Scripture and the oral content of the Regula Fidei are truly identical in content and authority, then it should not matter if someone has access to one, the other, or both. Having either one should be enough and the second would be redundant, if they truly are identical. It is only if there is some difference in content or quality between the two that we would need both. I think you either need to concede that they are not identical (and therefore not redundant to one another), or that it is fine for Christians to rely on just one (eg. Scripture).

The second objection is this: there are many 'traditions' of the church that you would not accept (such as papal infallibility). Your stated reason for not accepting them is because they are not scriptural traditions (or at least according to your interpretation of scripture). However, you also claim that Scripture must be interpreted in light of tradition. So, I have to understand Scripture to know whether the traditions are correct, but I need the traditions to correctly understand Scripture. It’s sort of a catch-22. That’s why we were saying that it is circular.

Let’s unpack this step by step.

First of all, I am not aware how I combined those two objections since I did not even attempt to answer the second. But the second objection is a good point and worthy of a proper answer.

In this post I will only respond to the first objection. Although the rule of faith and the Bible are identical, the rule of faith is not always identical to our interpretations of scripture. However, the rule of faith OUGHT to always be identical to our interpretations of scripture, and that is why the rule of faith is a necessary interpretive rubric. This is simply another way of saying that private interpretation of scripture should never take precedent over what the church has historically taught. If a J.W. comes and tries to prove to a lay person that Jesus isn't God, the lay person may not have the education to adequately answer him, but it is sufficient to say “That is wrong because that contradicts what the church has always taught.”

Since what the apostolic church has historically taught is identical to the Bible, it is true that “having either one should be enough and the second would be redundant” – but that only applies if you truly have one. A way to know if we truly have one is if it is identical with the other.

This leads into the next objection, which I will answer in a later post.
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