The RCC holds strongly to the doctrine that one may not read nor interpret the Bible without the Magisterium. We proved this pretty authoritatively last time – nor would any knowledgeable Catholic argue with us.
It will come as a shock, however, to believing Christians and Protestants to know what Catholics believe about the Bible. And it will come to a shock to the untrained Roman Catholic.
From The Catholic Encyclopedia:
Is all revealed truth consigned to Holy Scripture? or can it, must it, be admitted that Christ gave to His Apostles to be transmitted to His Church, that the Apostles received either from the very lips of Jesus or from inspiration or Revelation, Divine instructions which they transmitted to the Church and which were not committed to the inspired writings?
This is the same argument the Pharisees used about the teachings and opinions of their own Rabbi’s – “These obviously came from God!” A quick and impartial look reveals the fallacy of the argument:
“Rabbi Zusya said…” “Rabbi Akiva said…” “Rabbi Judah the Prince said…”
And never a “Thus sayeth the LORD…”
Well, if God gave the Oral Torah, why did He not make reference to it in the Written Torah? Indeed, why did He say…
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; 59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Deuteronomy 28:58-59 (KJV)
“All the words of the Law that are written in this book…” The Oral Torah, it is demonstrated, did not exist. The Lord said all the words were written in the Bible. And a single verse was all it took. The Orthodox Jews are left with citing what they believe to be errors in the Bible, and thus triumphantly they cry the existence of an Oral Torah from that. Again, a quick look reveals it to be the constant bickering of Rabbis, pausing to toot their own horns about how great they are. One of the things that troubled me the most about the “Oral Torah” a few years ago when I was studying the Talmud was how much it read like a group of men sitting and examining the Scriptures who had absolutely no idea what it meant, and trying to figure it out. In other words, it reads like what it is.
Hold onto your seats – I’m about to dismiss the same claim from the Roman Catholic Church, and with just about the same lack of effort.
The Council of Trent, even while implying in its decisions and anathemas the authority of the living magisterium (which the Protestants themselves dared not explicitly deny)…
I don’t know about that. I’ve seen several Protestant authors do just that. And… I’m a Baptist. David Cloud is a Baptist. We’re not Protestants. Protestants left the RCC – Baptists were never part of it. And I explicitly deny the Magisterium.
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV)
“The Scripture alone is given by inspiration of God and is able to make the man of God perfect. Obviously nothing else is needed, then, beyond the Scripture. Catholic tradition is not Holy Scripture, is not therefore inspired by God, and is not therefore necessary to make the man of God perfect. I say this on the authority of 2 Timothy 3:16-17”. (Is The Roman Catholic Church Changing? David Cloud, Pg. 66)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)
Notice it says the word of God. There is no reference to anything else. The written word of God is this powerful – why need we anything else?
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3 (KJV)
The faith was once delivered to the Saints. David Cloud writes,
“The faith” refers to the body of New Testament truth delivered by the apostles through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The term “once delivered” tells us that this body of truth was given during one particular period of time and was completed. It refers to the New Testament Scriptures that was completed during the days of the apostles. Jude 3 singularly refutes the idea that the Christian faith has been progressively given through the Roman Catholic Church. (Is The Roman Catholic Church Changing? David Cloud, Pg. 67)
David Cloud correctly further points out that the Canon of Scripture was sealed with the promise of a Curse to anyone who adds to, or takes away from, the word of God.
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV)
So, if the Canon was once delivered to the saints (given until the Canon was sealed), and if the Canon was sealed in AD 95 with the completion of Revelation, then the RCC is built upon a curse, as they rely on, indeed demand that the Catholic follow the very words of the Popes as if they were greater than Holy Scripture.
I save for my last weapon this – There would be far more evidence to the RCC’s argument, had the Bible only been the Old Testament. Why? Because Judaism is defined by,
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Matthew 19:16 (KJV)
The commandments in the Bible bring one to a quandry right away, “How do I do these things?” We who are saved by Grace understand we don’t have to do these things, but if we did, it would be simple. Just do it. “Well, is there a ritual? Is there a special way you have to attach the fringes to the corners of your garment?” “Naw, just do it.”
The Commandments in the New Testament are very simple. “Lay up an offering for the first day of the week, when I willl visit you.”
QUICK! Check the Magisterium and see how we do this!!!
Well, actually, it’s very simple. Everyone puts aside a little extra for missionaries. “Well, is there a special collection?” Yeah, you could do it that way. Or you could have everyone write on a piece of paper “For missionaries” and wrap the money in it. Or write a check and designate what of it is to be given to Missionaries. Or… C’mon, it’s not really that hard. We don’t need a Catholic version of the Talmud to tell us how to do this.
We’re under Grace. There’s no external ritual needed, no boy with a bell to ring at the appropriate moment to let us know this is the time to give the special offering, no clouds of incense, etc. Just do it!
Am I picking on the RCC, here? No. I’m simply choosing a commandment at random, and examining whether or not a magisterium is required, based upon Prima Facae evidence. The Gospel does not require an elaborate explanation, nor a set of codes on how to observe.
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 1 John 2:20 (KJV)
Here’s the key – one clear sign you are not saved, is that you simply cannot read and understand the Scriptures. 1 John 2:20 tells us that we don’t need a magisterium, we can simply read and understand, if we are saved. The Holy Ghost giveth understanding.
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2:7 (KJV)
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (KJV)
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:17-18 (KJV)
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 2 Peter 1:3-6 (KJV)
Next, we will examine why the RCC claims it needs the Magisterium.