I had thought of starting a thread on Perssonism's teaching on sola scriptura, but decided the thread "Sola Scriptura - A Diversion From the True Word of God" would be an appropriate place to taste test, to spew out as poison, Perssonism's flavor of Sola Scriptura.
So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.
That teaches sola scriptura. We are to obey ONLY
My, in capitals. But I don't see that in that verse.
Ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε, καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι’ ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν
No, not in the original. Maybe in a Latin or Syriac translation or textual varient.http://biblos.com/2_thessalonians/2-15.htm
No, not there either.
Maybe someone can find "only" in some translation or another.http://multilingualbible.com/2_thessalonians/2-15.htm
but I don't see it in the languages I can read (which are a couple).
So Perssionism has made its own translation to suit its own dogma, like the Jehovah's Witnesses.
words or epistles "of theirs" the apostles.
That's a problem: SS. Mark and Luke are not IIRC ever identified as an apostle in scripture. Guess we have to drop those Gospels (and Acts too).
Come to think of it, nothing but the Tradition of the Church identifies Matthew as written by Matthew. Guess that''s got to go too.
The archeologists have found a Gospel of Peter. Maybe you would like to substitute it instead. Better yet, the Gospel of Thomas which says right up front "These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down," and it dates from around the same time as St. John's Gospel. Then there is the "Gospel of Truth," the favorite of the Valentinians, whose heretical ideas your are emulating.
Saint John identifies himself (but not by name) as the disciple whom Christ loved, and who testifies of these things and wrote down these things and saw the Lord...oops! I guess he couldn't have. Deut. 4:15ff forbade that. So I guess you can't take his testimony as true. In Revelation, he doesn't indentify himself as an Apostle, and he claims to have seen all those things that Deut. 4:15ff forbids, so I guess you can't take his testimony there either. Of course, since we have the character witness of the Church, we know his testimony is true.
James and Jude were Brothers of the Lord, and hence Apostles (I Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19). But they do not identify themselves as Brothers, but as slaves, of Jesus Christ, so I guess there epistles have to go. Luther thought James contradicted St. Paul's epistles, so called it an "epistle of straw" (which never, btw, indentifies its author with the James of the epistles claiming Paul). So much for the consistency of sola scriptura. St. Peter in his second epistle, in contrast to his first, only identifies himself as a slave of Christ, and not as an Apostle (although it claims in the first chapter v. 10-19 to have seen the Lord transfigured on the mountain). So, if we take the offered testimony, we have to keep I Peter but (since we have to eliminate the synoptics, who tell us St. Peter was of of those "with Him on the Holy Mountain"), have to drop II Peter, and with it your second witness to St. Paul's epistles.
Hebrews doesn't even tell us who wrote it, so I guess it has to go. Anonymous wasn't an Apostle.
So the Epistles of St. Paul claim that they were written by St. Paul. But they state (II Corin. 13:1) "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." So he testifies of himself. St. Peter (at least who claims to be saint Peter: you have no other corroborating testimony) does testify (II Peter 3:15-16) of St. Paul, "even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction
." But that not only leaves you one witness short, but St. Peter does not give you a list of the epistles of which he speaks, and his status as a character witness, as I pointed out above, you must suspect.
However, St. Peter promises in his second epistle (1:12-15):
"12Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance"
as he had already provided for, as he states his first epistle (btw, the order is the order the Church put them in, not chronological) 5:1-2:
"The presbyters which are among you I exhort, who am also an presbyter, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, serving as bishops, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind."
As St. Paul had provided, as spokesmen of the Apostles, handing the Church to their successors, the bishop-presbyters Acts 20:
16For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the presbyters of the church. 18And when they were come to him, he said unto them...25And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more [not, in time, the face of any of the Apostles], 28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified...35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
[quoting a verse of the Gospel not in the Gospels. Of course, when St. Paul said this, SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John hadn't written a verse yet that has come down to us].
Titus 1:5For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain presbyters in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: [i.e. those whose hearts are covered by the veil of Moses] 11Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not...13This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
(I Timothy 1:)Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
2Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm...18This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme...3:1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil...14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth...16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;...6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness..11 These things command and teach. 12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee...6:20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
(II Timothy 1:)1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;..6Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind...1111Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
The episcopacy of the Orthodox Church, keeping which was commtted to it by the Holy Spirit, stirred up the gift of prophecy which it received by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles (and any Orthodox bishop today, by the ontological whole of the episcopate and Apostolic succession, is only an arm's length away from the Apostles), determined the canon of Scripture and its interpretation.
In fact, so great is the episcopacy, the presbyters of Acts 15, that St. Peter, introduding himself as "an [note, btw: "a," not "the"] Apostle of Jesus Christ," nonetheless identifies himself as a "fellow presbyter" when he invokes himself as a witness of Christ and a partaker of His glory, to exhort his fellow presbyters, whom he identifies as the bishops (5:1-2), and the Apostle John, the disciple whom Christ loved, doesn't give his autority to his second and third epistles as neither the Disciple nor Apostle, but as "the presbyter."
"He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me." Luke 10:16 You cannot have the Church's book without the Church.
Of course, you have the free will to preach or accept another Gospel.
There's another issue:
3) All the Christian manuscripts of the OT are the LXX, or derived from it. The only exception is the Vulgate: Jerome took a Jewish Hebrew text and translated from that. The problem is that because that text had passed through Jewish (meaning those Hebrews who had rejected our Messiah) hands for several centuries, i.e. Jerome was not working from 1st century texts, it can still be said to be a Jewish text. He was criticized for doing so at the time.
In other words, the LXX was translated by those we would say were of the same Faith as us (symbolized by the legend of St. Symeon as being one of the translators, and his problem with the translation of "virgin" leading to him being told he would not die until he saw its fulfillment). Those Hebrews who accepted our Messiah continued to use the LXX and it Hebrew Vorlage (varient readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls agree with the LXX, as do some pre-Christian scraps of the OT elsewhere). Those who rejected Him used another text type, which was approved at Jamnia AFTER the birth of the Church. The Masoretic text dates after Chalcedon, for instance.
In other words, the LXX has never been outside of those whom we would consider outside the Faith, which is a problem for Protestants: if you trust our Church to copy the Scriptures (and the King James Version, for instance, depended on late manuscripts from the Orthodox Church copied well over a thousand years after the autographs: as a matter of fact, I don't think they predate the schism of 1054), why do you reject that Church's interpretation. How do you know that we didn't "change" anything?
Case in point: all Christian manuscripts of the Bible have the Anagignoskomena/Deuterocanonicals: none lack them. And in this we are proved right in that the Jewish Talmud expounds on Sirach (the Hebrew text has been found in the 1800s). The Jews celebrate Hannukkah although their rejection of Maccabbees has deprived them of scriptural warrent (1 Mac. 4:56–59) for doing so (and for our Fundamentalist friends, the Gospels record Our Lord celebrating it (John 10:22-24). And the Jewish translation of Theodotion, done centuries after the rise of the Church, includes the disputed books (in fact, his transaltion of Daniel was preferred over that of the LXX by the Church, and it includes the "additions" in the LXX but not in the Masoretic text). So one can follow the path of the Apostles, or that of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.
All this is evading the fact John of Damascus' argument fails a simple test: "Does God want to be imaged by us?" The answer is "Hell No." THAT is what scripture teaches.And yet again, you evade my question. Does God speak solely through the Scriptures? You keep citing the Scriptures as your authority, so you MUST be able to answer this question.
I'll answer, but you won't like it---The Word of God does not come from the church:
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Orthodox Church is not the same Church which wrote the Bible.
No one has the autograph, that is, the copy that those whom God insipired wrote down. For the OT, that is several centuries after they were writen.
(Btw, I don't know if Perssonism rejects what the Protestants call the "Apocrypha." The problem is that not a single Christian manuscript of the OT does not contain them. Not one. If you can't trust the copyist for his canon, how can you trust his text? The Jews' Masoretic text, upon which Protestantism rests (rejecting the Apostles for the rabbis) postdates the Church, and has the problem that the Jews celebrate Hanukah (although the only scriptural warrant to do so is in Maccabbess), the Talmud comments on Sirach (whose Hebrew text has now been found, and had a formative role on Jewish liturgy) etc. It dates from around the 10th cent., which is also the date of the oldest complete (according to the Jewish reckoning) Hebrew Bible, several centuries after the earliest manuscripts the Church has of the complete (including the "Apocrypha") OT).
We have only fragments in the second century (there is single fragment that may be dated to the first century). The earliest complete NT manuscripts of individual books comes from the 3rd century, of the complete NT come from the 4th century, after the Church had held the First Ecumenical Council. By the standards of ancient manuscript text history, still excellent (most ancient texts have their earliest manuscript around a millenium after writing), but still not the autographs, and dependent on centuries of copying. By those in the Orthodox Church.
We know that because the bulk of the textual evidence comes from lectionaries, the readings from the Bible chosen for the Divine Liturgy etc. on certain days, and not codexes, the ones the evangelicals take to their services (which, in contrast to the DL, are largely devoid of scriptural content). In fact, everyone having their own Bible wasn't possible until printing, 15 centuries after the Church was born and the NT written. Another source is the writings of the Fathers-except for a few verses, the entire NT can be reconstructed from their writting down the Faith as they received it from the Church.
The KJV translators, upon which Perssonism seems to base itself (correct me if I'm wrong), based itself on a few manuscritpts from the Orthdoox Church, dating a thousand years after the autographs.
Then there is the issue of canon: the first record we have of a canon like the one we (including Perssonism's, I assUme) have, is the Paschal letter of Pope St. Athanasius of 367. Before that, we have we have various lists of the preceding two centuries, which disagree among each other and with the present canon. Not a small issue: those other Gospels that St. Paul talked about were circulating and accepted by some. Archaeologists, along with the earliest manuscripts of the NT, have found these as well, including the "Gospel of Truth" of Valentinius, whose dogma of Christ bringing His body from Heaven and passing through the Virgin like water through a pipe seems to be replicated in the dogmas of Perssonism.
Bottom line: you can claim that the Bible does not come from the Church, but you cannot deny that you got it from the Church. Unless you go the Mani, Muhammand and Joseph Smith Jr. route and claim "another Testament" of the Biblical canon and text.
Since this is more on the teaching of Perssonism than St. John's teaching on De 4:15, if, Lord willing, I have the time to finish responding to this, I will do so on the appropriate thread (where maybe the posts from this thread on Perssnonism's teaching on sola scriptura might be merged. Or maybe a new thread on Perssonim's teaching on scripture might be warranted too).
Btw, Father Bernstein, a Jew from whom the veil of Moses was lifted, talks about these issues:Which Came First: The Church or the New Testament?
And I haven't even touched the issue of the OT here: It seems that Perssonism rejects the Apostles in taking the Masoretic text over the LXX. Given the allusions and quotations the Apostles take from the LXX, including what the Protestant reject as "apocrypha" (e.g. Christ celebrates Hanuka in John, although its only scriptural warrent is in Maccabbees), the NT doesn't give a list of the OT (and the Jews canonized their canon, upon which the Masorites depended, not until after the rise of the Church and the NT. In fact, the Jew Theodotion in 150 was still translating into Greek for the synagogue, for instance, what Protestants (and their brethren, the Vatican) have removed from Daniel (i.e. Susanna, the Song of the Three Youths, Bel and the Dragon) what was not in the Masoretic text, but is in the LXX), nor can you reconstruct the canon from the Apostles citations.
Today we find that material only in the Bible.
That's your assertion. Where is your evidence?
Therefore sola scriptura
The Church I know, so Christ I know and Paul I know, but who are you? You shouldn't wave the veil of Moses while invoking the name of Christ like a matador. You can get hurt.