Monday, September 28, 2009

Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith


The three volume set, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, by David T. King and William Webster, was recommended to me as a good comprehensive resource on the doctrine of sola scriptura. The best price I found for the set was at aomin.org I'm hoping to get the set soon, maybe as a birthday present :)
Here is the description of the set on the store page:
The first volume by David King, a PCA minister and long time student of the sufficiency of Scripture, presents a biblical defense of sola scriptura. King interacts with the wide range of Roman claims concerning the nature of Scripture and the alleged need of an infallible interpreter. Included is a full and devastating critique of Not By Scripture Alone, edited by Robert Sungenis.

In the second volume of this series, author William Webster tackles the historical issues inherent in the debate over sola scriptura, including the ever-present battle over the canon of Scripture.

The third in this series comprises a 312-page compendium of patristic citations affirming the Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura. Every person who has gotten tired of seeing the same old out-of-context citations batted around on EWTN or in This Rock magazine will find this volume invaluable, as it contains a most thorough listing of relevant citations, some of which have never appeared in English before this edition. A must for all who are interested in this vital area.

29 comments:

Paul said...

Jennie,
This series is simply amazing. You will not be disappointed.

Jennie said...

Paul,
I'm glad to hear it; I'm looking forward to reading it.

Lockheed said...

Great books! I use them all the time, DONT loan them out, cause folks wont bring them back (especially your RC friends.)

:-D

Jennie said...

I know what you mean, Lockheed; I'm like a sheepdog with my books; I'm very nervous until they're back 'in the fold' again (and I'm even worse with my children, as you might imagine):)

Paul said...

“The history of the Church subsequent to the apostolic age demonstrates that succession is no guarantee against heresy. Bishops from all the major sees of Christendom, including that of Rome and those of innumerable lesser sees, have, at one time or another, been infected with heresy. The Church fathers cautioned believers repeatedly that bishops were to be followed only if their teachings conformed to Scripture and rejected if they did not. No Church father believed the Church as a whole to be infallible. The opinion was that individual bishops, as well as bishops in Council, could err. It is our contention that the early Church fathers, with unanimous voice, point us back to holy Scripture as the only infallible norm. The Church is not infallible. The Scriptures alone, being God—breathed and therefore inspired, are the only infallible norm for the Church.” [Source: David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground And Pillar of Our Faith, Volume 1 (WA: Christian Resources Inc., 2001), 138-139].

Jennie said...

So then is Sola Scriptura one of the few doctrines upon which there really is unanimous consent of the Fathers?

I'm sure David King, and William Webster, have plenty of documentation to support their assertion. I can't wait to read it!

Paul said...

Jennie,
I would agree with David King that Sola Scriptura (in the way it has been defined historically) is one of the very few doctrines (along with Mono-Theism) that has a unanimous consent of the "early" fathers.

Regarding the Webster/King documentation. When their series first came out there were numerous announcements on blogs etc. that R.C Apologists such as Robert Sungenis and Patrick Madrid would be publishing books that would fully refute the Webster/King series. As time has passed those announcements have almost disappeared.
Here is the most recent mention that I can find. In fact my post here was edited down substantially. Entire sentences removed with others left in place.
http://www.surprisedbytruth.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5919&SearchTerms=Algo

Also here is one from Phil Porvaznik in which he is almost begging for help refuting "Holy Scripture The Ground And Pillar Of Our Faith".
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num49.htm

Jennie said...

Paul,
In fact my post here was edited down substantially. Entire sentences removed with others left in place.

There are only two sentences in your post there; do you have a copy of what you originally said? It doesn't seem right of them to edit people's comments like that; it shows they have no interest in the truth.

Paul said...

"There are only two sentences in your post there; do you have a copy of what you originally said? It doesn't seem right of them to edit people's comments like that; it shows they have no interest in the truth."

No, I was too naive to suspect that Patrick would do that. I may have had another post on that thread also. I recall mentioning the fact that I had read Robert Sungenis' "massive tome" Not By Scripture Alone. And asking Patrick why it was taking them so long to refute Webster/King.

Jennie said...

Hurray! The set's finally ordered and will hopefully be here in a few days!

Jennie said...

Paul,
what do you think of this quote from the Phil Porvaznik article you linked to:

He [King] puts out this challenge in various ways: "No Roman apologist has ever been able to define or produce the doctrinal content of this oral tradition" (vol 1, p. 55). However, substitute the word "Protestant" for "Roman" and "Holy Scripture" for "this oral tradition" and the exact same challenge can be put to the Evangelical/Fundamentalist apologist: No Protestant apologist has ever been able to define or produce the doctrinal content of Holy Scripture! If any Protestant apologist would like to answer this challenge, then please tell me, the infallible doctrinal content of Holy Scripture, according to Protestantism, on (1) Baptism, (2) Eucharist, (3) the sacraments or "ordinances" in general, (4) Church government, (5) church services or how to conduct Liturgy, (6) salvation, (7) predestination and free will, (8) any number of moral issues: divorce, re-marriage, contraception, abortion, etc. Since there is great disagreement among "official" Protestant statements of faith, one cannot possibly know what is the official "Protestant position" (or from Holy Scripture the infallible "doctrinal content") on any of these issues.

It is obvious the Catholic Church has repeatedly defined and produced the specific doctrinal content of Apostolic Tradition and Holy Scripture in her Ecumenical Councils (beginning at Nicaea forward), her Creeds, her Liturgy, and official statements of doctrine. Yes, Protestants deny anything is infallible but the text of Holy Scripture so they are at a loss to produce or define anything concerning the Christian faith that is infallibly binding on the individual Christian. As Phil Blosser has shown in rigorous logical detail in the Sungenis book (see Blosser in Not By Scripture Alone, especially, p. 90-108), no Protestant can explain or justify why any individual Christian must submit to any "Christian authority" (whether council, tradition, or pastor) but themselves. In Protestantism it boils down to the individual and the doctrines one believes as one interprets Scripture, regardless of any other "authority." No other so-called "authority" is infallibly binding in Protestantism other than the explicit text of Scripture, and the "doctrines" one thinks one derives from Scripture.

Jennie said...

Two things occur to me in response to this quote.
One is that in the Christian life, God's word is infallibly binding on us, but it doesn't mean we lose our salvation if we fail to live up to an area taught in scripture, or that we are going to know and understand every area all at once. Scripture gives us room to grow and learn and to continually gain deeper understanding the more we are in it and in the Spirit. The Catholic system using the catechism has attempted to crystalize the entire Christian life in a document made by men, using other sources including but not limited to the inspired Scriptures. It doesn't leave room for the Holy Spirit to work through the Word, but defines everything according to it's own limited understanding, adding many things that are anti-scriptural as well.

The second thing that occurs to me is that the RCC may have defined many doctrines, but has in many cases missed the true essence of the doctrines and made them into rituals which replace faith itself. Especially they have missed and muddled the doctrine of salvation being by Christ alone and by grace through faith apart from works, which is the gospel, the most essential part of Biblical doctrine.

Paul said...

Hi Jennie,
Congrats on your new purchase. You will not be disappointed.
I have the book that Phil refers to as well as David King's response to Phillip Blosser. I will re-read both before responding to your question above.

It is often stated that the RCC has great unity regarding doctrine because of their Infallible Magesterium. The problem is that they don't have an infallible interpreter for their infallible interpreter. You see the result of this in the fact that there is so much disagreement between RCC theologians as well as between RCC apologists. What advantage is there to claiming that you have an infallible interpreter and yet have myriad diverse understandings even among RCC Bishops?

Paul said...

"He [King] puts out this challenge in various ways: "No Roman apologist has ever been able to define or produce the doctrinal content of this oral tradition" (vol 1, p. 55). However, substitute the word "Protestant" for "Roman" and "Holy Scripture" for "this oral tradition" and the exact same challenge can be put to the Evangelical/Fundamentalist apologist:"
----------------
This is not a fair comparison. One side (RCC) claims an infallible "Oral Tradition". Yet they are unable to produce it. I did get a response from the folks at "Speak Your Mind" I will post a link for that.
Protestants do not claim that anything besides Scripture has been given to the church that is infallible.

Paul said...

"No Protestant apologist has ever been able to define or produce the doctrinal content of Holy Scripture! If any Protestant apologist would like to answer this challenge, then please tell me, the infallible doctrinal content of Holy Scripture, according to Protestantism, on (1) Baptism, (2) Eucharist, (3) the sacraments or "ordinances" in general, (4) Church government, (5) church services or how to conduct Liturgy, (6) salvation, (7) predestination and free will, (8) any number of moral issues: divorce, re-marriage, contraception, abortion, etc. Since there is great disagreement among "official" Protestant statements of faith, one cannot possibly know what is the official "Protestant position" (or from Holy Scripture the infallible "doctrinal content") on any of these issues."
--------------------
You see here that Phil is presenting a false argument. The fact is that Pastor King does hold to what is known as the "Westminster Standards". They are clearly subordinate to Scripture and from my experience there is far greater unity among the adherents to them than there is in the RCC. Phil is lumping all "protestants" together and then demanding something that Pastor King never claims.
In fact the Litmus Test he provides above is seriously flawed. Look at who the majority of his co-religionists voted for (presidentially) a year ago.

Jennie said...

Yes, that's true; the RCC has defined many doctrines yet she has failed to place those doctrines in the hearts of her people. The majority have no discernment on their own of right and wrong and good and evil. God's law is not 'written in their hearts' but only on paper.

Paul said...

" As Phil Blosser has shown in rigorous logical detail in the Sungenis book (see Blosser in Not By Scripture Alone, especially, p. 90-108), no Protestant can explain or justify why any individual Christian must submit to any "Christian authority" (whether council, tradition, or pastor) but themselves. In Protestantism it boils down to the individual and the doctrines one believes as one interprets Scripture, regardless of any other "authority." No other so-called "authority" is infallibly binding in Protestantism other than the explicit text of Scripture, and the "doctrines" one thinks one derives from Scripture."
------------------
Ok,
I re-read Phillip Blosser's section starting with "practical problems". He starts out with 3 categories.
A.) Hermenuetical Anarchy

B.) Denominational Factionalism

C.) Undermining of Pastoral Authority and Discipline.

Many of his claims and objections were adressed in Eric Svendsen's book.
"On This slippery Rock".
He discussed many of these with Chris Arnzen on ISI.
"How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?"

Jennie said...

The problem is that they don't have an infallible interpreter for their infallible interpreter. You see the result of this in the fact that there is so much disagreement between RCC theologians as well as between RCC apologists. What advantage is there to claiming that you have an infallible interpreter and yet have myriad diverse understandings even among RCC Bishops?

So basically the RC's have the same problem, once removed, that they claim protestants have. They have problems with disunity in interpreting the RC doctrines derived from oral tradition AND scripture. So this shows that there will always be differences in interpretations when human beings are involved, whether it is interpretation of scripture or of tradition. Yet there is surprising unity among those who worshipping in Spirit and in Truth.

Jennie said...

Paul,
I just listened to the Erik Svendsen interview from the Iron Sharpens Iron radio show. Very good. and I liked what he said in response to the '25,000 or more protestant denominations argument'; that that number includes many types of groups including Roman Catholic groups and cults and sects and spiritists, etc. He also said that we should be comparing the few 'sola scriptura' groups to the many 'sola ecclesia' groups that deny the final authority of scripture, which includes cults such as Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons, and also Roman Catholics. So in reality it's not the RCC against the rest, it's the 'Sola Scriptura' few against the rest who deny it.

Paul said...

Yes Jennie,
Dr. Svendsen really goes to the heart of the issue. He debated Fr. Pacwa on Sola Scriptura in 2007. The video is on his sermon site.

Also:
James White has done a thorough refutation of the 33,000 Denominations accusation.

The 33,000 Denominations Myth

Jennie said...

From Dr. White's article it looks like the Catholic apologists use the '33,000 protestant denominations' argument out of a sort of willful ignorance, pretending that the source of that number was talking about 'sola scriptura protestants', when they must know it isn't at all, presumably because they know no Catholics will check them up on it. It seems to me that, just like the koran says it's ok for muslims to lie to 'infidels', the Roman Catholics think it's ok to lie to protestants in order to promote their church.

Paul said...

Sadly, the "end justifies the means" is an approach that is practiced by both some R.C's as well as some Evangelicals. To her credit, Patti at Envoy actually read Dr. White's refutation of that argument and acknowledged that she could not in good conscience continue making that claim. One apologist that I have seen behave with complete integrity is Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

Jennie said...

Paul,
I'm sorry; I shouldn't make blanket statements about people like I did. I should say 'some RC apologists seem to think it's OK to be dishonest in order to promote their church.'
I am glad to hear that about Patti and about Fr. Pacwa. I have heard several people say good things about him. I don't think I have ever seen him debate or read anything by him yet.

Paul said...

Jennie,
Here is the link to Eric Svendsen's church-site. If you scroll down in the audio-video section you will find "Authority Debate 1&2". Video of Eric and Fr. Pacwa.

http://www.newcovenantbiblechurchonline.org/teaching.htm

Jennie said...

Paul,
I started to watch the Pacwa/Svendson debate, but haven't finished it yet.

Jennie said...

The 3 volume set 'Holy Scripture' arrived today; The very first page, an excerpt from a book by William Chillingworth, who converted to Roman Catholicism and back again in the nineteenth century, was very exciting to read. I plan on typing it out for a blog post next, unless I can find it online and cut and paste it.

Paul said...

Jennie,
Congratulations, that is very exciting news. I just re-read that page and I agree it will make a great post. I pray you will get as much use from those volumes as I have gotten. It won't take you long to realize why all the boasting of a refutation by the R.C apologists has faded to a whisper.

Paul said...

Jennie,
I located the book that is found in.

The Religion of Protestants
By William Chillingworth p.463

Jennie said...

Thanks for taking the time to find that book, Paul. You saved me alot of time typing, as I'm an adequate typist but not very fast, nor very accurate :)