Contra Wright

Mr. Wright writes:

In effect, the Lutheran claim is a claim of the right to rebel against the teaching authority of the Church, on the grounds that the Church is apostate. Unfortunately, the sole witness for the apostasy of the Church is an alleged disagreement between Church teachings and the scriptures on which the Church relies for those teachings.

But the sole witness for the validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures is the authority of the Church whose members wrote them, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized them.

 

Disregarding the fact that Roman Catholics were not the only ones who “wrote…, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized” scripture, and disregarding the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the “validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures,” his premise itself is rather strange:

If a man tells you a map is accurate, and then leads you the opposite way from the direction indicated by the map, would you not assume that he either 1) cannot read the map or 2) is purposely leading you astray? If when you say something about it, he angrily replies “The only reason you have to believe this map is accurate is because I told you, so just trust me” would it not strengthen your belief? If the more you look at the map, the more you see how it matches the terrain, and you are still being led away from where the map indicates your destination, would you not become less inclined to follow your guide?

6 thoughts on “Contra Wright

  1. 2013?
    disregarding the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the “validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures,” his premise itself is rather strange:
    But this begs the question. Some spirit is telling X that the Bible is only 66 books with elisions and that you don’t really have to eat his body and drink his blood (John 6), that Divorce is permitted, etc. Another spirit is saying there are 73 books plus additions like the Story of Susannah.
    You actually sound like a Mormon in this once case. What the Mormons claim is that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you that the Book of Mormon is true – not that you can use reason, history, evidence.
    Show me where in Scripture that Scripture itself says there are 66 or 73 books, or how to tell which books are canonical (3 and 4 Esdras aren’t although they were in the Septugiant, but Tobit is considered canonical by Catholics but not by Protestants).

    I mean this honestly. There are lots of epistles, acts, gospels, and then there’s the Septuigant. Tell me where in scripture it says which ones are canonical – which ones are divinely inspired and which are not.

    As to your map analogy, I’ll simply point out Divorce and Contraception were universally condemned (google “Bible and Birth Control to find Provan’s protestant work online). At least until recently. The Catholic church’s compass, GPS, still point to the same destination. The other churches no longer do.

    Your problem is not if the map is leading you to the right destination, it is whether you consider the destination you claim to want to arrive at to be the right destination. Denver is a nice place, but is not San Francisco, but coming from New York, both are roughly in the same direction.

    There are those who have lost the art of cartography, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the Map (have you read it?). I can discuss if one map is more accurate than another, but only if it gets you to a destination you claim to want to go to faster and more reliably than another. Scripture is like a topographical map without roads, the Catechism is a road map lacking topographical features.

    If when you say something about it, he angrily replies “The only reason you have to believe this map is accurate is because I told you, so just trust me” would it not strengthen your belief?

    Some guides might do that, but you haven’t given an example of where Mr. Wright demands it (and you should ask him instead of slandering him).

    The Catholic church isn’t saying “Because I told you”, much less angrily, but simply pointing out that for 2000 years they have developed but not changed their doctrine. See Cardinal John Newman, the Development of Christian Doctrine. The Map may have been refined, a new shortcut, a pass, something else discovered.

    If the more you look at the map, the more you see how it matches the terrain, and you are still being led away from where the map indicates your destination, would you not become less inclined to follow your guide?

    You have no knowledge of mountains. You only know you wish to go west. The guide is trying to get you to go through actual passes where you won’t find deserts where you will die of dehydration, sheer cliff walls in box canyons where you will have to retrace your path, or passes that for over half the year will have impassible snow or ice. I have to deal with that where I live. All you see is some lines you don’t know the subtleties of interpretation.

    Either the guide has successfully led people to their destination, or has not. But that is not what you are asking. You are asking him to take the path “as the crow flies”, without an airplane.

    The question might be rephrased as do you think Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa got to the destination of sanctity, or somewhere else? And do others following your recommended guides get to the right place?

    I should also note you don’t recommend a guide. Was Henry VIII a better guide than Thomas More? Luther rather than Erasmus? It is possible that the Catholic Church is a weak guide, but still may be the best of a bad bunch.

  2. @ TZ:

    2013?

    I was just pointed to this series of essays by Daniel Zapata (RC) in the comments of a previous post.

    disregarding the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the “validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures,” his premise itself is rather strange:
    But this begs the question. Some spirit is telling X that the Bible is only 66 books with elisions and that you don’t really have to eat his body and drink his blood (John 6), that Divorce is permitted, etc. Another spirit is saying there are 73 books plus additions like the Story of Susannah.
    You actually sound like a Mormon in this once case. What the Mormons claim is that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you that the Book of Mormon is true – not that you can use reason, history, evidence.
    Show me where in Scripture that Scripture itself says there are 66 or 73 books, or how to tell which books are canonical (3 and 4 Esdras aren’t although they were in the Septugiant, but Tobit is considered canonical by Catholics but not by Protestants).

    I mean this honestly. There are lots of epistles, acts, gospels, and then there’s the Septuigant. Tell me where in scripture it says which ones are canonical – which ones are divinely inspired and which are not.

    It never says in the Bible which books are canonical. And there are at least three separate canons, as the Orthodox do accept 3 Esdras while, as you pointed out, Roman Catholics and Protestants do not. Yet all three canons have identical New Testaments. I can explain that only by the Spirit’s working to preserve the Word. Further, both Roman Catholic and Orthodox acknowledge certain books as “deuterocanonical,” which just so happen to be the very books that Protestantism omitted from its canon. That’s an unbelievable level of agreement.

    As to the fact that many Protestants proclaim that they have no need to partake of Christ’s body, or that divorce is permitted–They are wrong. However, so are those Protestants and Roman Catholics that accept the need to partake of Christ’s body, and yet do not, and those who accept the prohibition of divorce, and yet disregard it.

    As to the map illustration: I did not intend it to be an allegory. I was simply trying to communicate the fact that Wright’s claim is inherently self-contradictory. Claiming something to be Divinely inspired with your words, while proclaiming it mutable with your actions, is self-contradictory. Saying “but hey, I’m the one who said it was Divinely inspired in the first place” doesn’t remove the inherent contradiction, but rather intensifies it.

  3. The Catholic church isn’t saying “Because I told you”, much less angrily, but simply pointing out that for 2000 years they have developed but not changed their doctrine.”

    So very much wrong here. If this was the case, the Papists wouldn’t have anathematized the entire book of Romans at Trent. AAMOF, it’s impossible to understand Paul without knowing he came from Justification by Faith alone.

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