I was just watching a video by Catholic Answers titled “Why Protestant Doctrine is Manmade” and I felt the need to write this about one of the points that they made as to the importance of the Church as compared to Scripture.
Let me start off with saying that I think that Catholic Answers is one of the most coherent Catholic apologetics sites that I have ever come across. They provide excellent evidence for the claims that they make and, although I disagree with most of the things that they say, they make some very good points. There is NO ill-will harbored towards the organization or to the man that made the claim in question, Tim Staples.
Now, Mr. Staples makes the claim that Jesus didn’t give us a Scripture, He gave us a Church so that the Church could be the way that Jesus speaks to the people and corrects the people.
Tim Staples uses this line of reasoning to conclude that the Church is how Jesus wanted His people to be corrected.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collectorMatthew 18:15-17
Tim Staples says that this verse means that the church is the ultimate authority when it comes to all the conflicts in Christianity.
But, the men that would have been in the church, that would have been the ones correcting the misguided believers believed in a higher authority than themselves.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,2 Timothy 3:16
Notice how it says “useful” and not “the absolute authority,” this is something I feel is worthwhile to expand upon.
Scripture at that time was the Old Testament, not the Apocrypha ≥mind you, but the rest of the books that both Christians and Jews accept as Scripture today.
When Timothy says that Scripture is “useful” he seems to say that it is not the only thing that should be used for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” and this would be absolutely correct. The teachings of Jesus, at least at the time, were not a part of Scripture. So, most likely, when the church was brought in to settle an argument, the ‘representatives’ would be the Christians that were most familiar with the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ so they would be the ones who would be able to conclude, from these two sources, which side of the argument was correct.
What does all of this mean?
Well, the claim that the church is the best resource when it comes to “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” would have held some weight in the time of Jesus, today is a different story.
Back then, the people that had the best access to the teachings of Jesus and the Jewish Scriptures were the people like Paul that had mostly committed both to memory. These people were the heads of the church, so yes the church would have been the most useful tool to correct people, because the church was how people learned about God.
Now, since nearly everyone is literate and nearly everyone has a Bible, the Word is the most useful tool. Now that everyone can read and interpret scripture, anyone has the ability to learn about Christ.
We do not need people to tell us what God said, we have His Word.
If you wanted to check out the video here is the link: Why Protestant Doctrine is Man-made.
Once again, no ill-will or malice is directed towards CatholicAnswers as an organization or the people that work there, I just happen to disagree with them.
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I think it’s interesting that he used Scripture to prove his point.
Also, when you mentioned the Old Testament, you put in a disclaimer that you didn’t mean the Maccabees but do you also include the rest of the Apocrypha in that disclaimer?
Thanks for catching that!