Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Rebuttal to Matthew Rondeau 1.1

From the last rebuttal I noticed that nearly everything I said was left untouched. So, I'd like to run through some points from the last post that went unanswered and give Matthew the opportunity to explain them (without throwing ourselves into a philosophical whirlwind).

For one, what did the Church do for the first nearly 400 years without a defined canon? Could the Church prior to that believe in sola scriptura?

Why was God able to inspire men to write infallibly, but not speak on matters of faith and morals infallibly? Is infallibility somehow particular to writing?

Also, an explanation was not given for either the 2 Thess. passage or the 2 Timothy passage.


Bryan L said...

Good points especially the part about being able to write infallibly but not speak infallibly.

Bryan L

tim ricchuiti said...

Sorry to just jump in like this, but I do have a couple comments on your first and second questions:

(1) Just because the church was without a defined canon does not mean that it was without scripture (as I'm sure you'd agree). The idea behind sola scriptura is not "to the scriptures alone" but "back to the scriptures" as a correction to doctrines that were completely without scriptural basis. The idea of back to the scriptures would have been unnecessary to the early church, or at the very least foreign.

(2) Your second comment raises two questions. In the first place, I think I'm on fairly solid ground when I affirm that most any Christian--liberal, conservative, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, what have you--would grant to God the ability to do whatever he wanted. So the question is not "can" God inspire men to speak infallibly, the question is whether or not he did. To answer that we would have to look to the evidences of history, as well as the scriptural understanding of God's work in inspiring men to speak infallibly. I don't know whether the case can be made for that, and I suppose that case would be beyond the scope of this comment (which is already getting woefully long).

In the second place, when thinking about the comparison between speaking and writing, we should probably recognize the inherent differences between the two communication media. Writing lends itself to preservation at a high level of efficiency, but even then, the course of two millenia have demonstrated our inability to perfectly preserve the word of God, despite myriad scribes' best efforts throughout the centuries. How much more difficult would it be to infallibly keep an oral tradition alive over the centuries and through the millenia (to grandmother's house we go :) ).

Anyway, just a few (or perhaps more than a few) thoughts. I've really enjoyed reading your posts, and I'm looking forward to see what you do with it after this time of transition.

T Michael W Halcomb said...

what do you mean by "inspiration"? what do you mean by "infallible" (e.g. content, syntax, structure, theology)? what do you do with the parts of scripture where Paul openly admits that he is writing his opinions and that these thoughts are not from the Spirit's lead or the teachings of JC? also, what do you think about the possibility of reading 2tim as "every God-breathed Scripture is inspired" versus the traditional "every Scripture is God-breathed"? just some q's for ya.

Josh McManaway said...

Hey Michael,

These are good questions, but what *I* think about them isn't really where I want this to go. I'd rather just have Matthew answer my questions before we move forward (lest we dive into another sea of red herrings).

Danny Garland Jr. said...

I like seas of blue herrings better....