Wednesday, November 29, 2006

All Reformers May Err And Many Have

A friend of mine who is an elder at an Orthodox Presbyterian Church has been giving me sermons on CD from his pastor who is doing a series on 'the 5 great solas of the Protestant Reformation'. The first one was the old favorite: Sola Scriptura. We talked over lunch today about the doctrine. I told him plainly that I didn't believe it and never have (at least not since I was 16 or so).

I explained to him the irony of the preacher's words when in one breath he said the Scripture alone is authoritative and inerrant yet in the next breath quoted the Westminster Confession:

All synods or councils may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both. -WCF 6.175
And so I brought up the point to him (my friend) that the Bible was selected by councils! But the Protestant does not admit that those particular councils may have erred in selecting the canon. My friend said "Well the Holy Spirit was at work through them in the selection." I said.... "Yes!!!" He's starting to sound more Catholic all the time...

I went on to remind him and the other eating with us: Catholics believe the Bible is inspired too. We believe it is infallible and divinely authoritative. It is our original collection of doctrines! We put it together to solidify what the Church authoritatively teaches. This in no way usurps the Church's authority. Neither does the Church's authority usurp what the Bible teaches but the Church (and the Church alone) may authoritatively interpret the Bible. My sponsor said he likes to say to people when he sees them walking around with a Bible "Oh you're Catholic?" Here in the Bible Belt they often respond "No" so it opens the door for him saying "Well thats our book you've got there!"

My other friend sitting at the table went on to ask me about the Pope and about speaking ex
cathedra. I explained that the Pope is not inerrant in everything he says and does, just that when speaking ex-cathedra and when teaching on faith and morals he is sitting in the throne of St. Peter and speaking infallibly just as St. Peter did at the council of Jerusalem.

My friend said "But all men err". Yes, but not when the Holy Spirit is speaking through them.

1 comment:

Chad said...

Excellent stuff here...

For more precision on the words infallible and inerrant, I would recommend this article by Karl Keating as a friendly corrective.