Sunday, November 8, 2009

Degrees of Doctrine

The Pyromaniacs are on a roll!

When it comes to disagreements between Christians, we must categorize our differences. Baby baptizers cannot meet with adult baptizers (would babies only be baptized every other week? Alternating with teaching about how the Bible describes credo-baptism as the right way?) One church cannot say we should dedicate both Sunday and Saturday as the one day for God.

But, these groups should be agreeable. Certainly not denying that one is not a Christian, simply for disagreeing.

There is an excellent list of Scriptures at the Team Pyro link. I would add Matthew 22:36-38. Jesus did not say all commandments are equally important, although there, it was more about two commandments summarizing the rest.


TheDen said...

First off, let me say that I believe anyone who believes in Christ and puts their faith in Him is a Christian. However, this is one example of the need for authority.

Within the Protestant denominations, there are a myriad of disagreements that cannot be settled as different groups appeal the the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit only to derive different interpretations.

The reality is that God intended only one interpretation to be correct and if it's being misread, there could be issues.

Ultimately, the average person sitting in the pews is going to appeal to the person at the pulpit for their interpretation of the correct doctrine.

nedbrek said...

It would be nice if there were some human authority which could be trusted to always hold to God's Word, but I think history has shown that human institutions always fail.

We must be like the Bereans of Acts 17:10-12. We must hold our elders accountable to the plain reading of Scripture, and when they depart from it, find other elders.

You are correct that there is only one true interpretation for any passage. But when well meaning and well informed Christians disagree, how can we know who is right?

I think this case must fall to Romans 14. Let each one be convinced to himself, and not judge another. Now we are getting back to unity :) which I will take up back in that thread...

TheDen said...

There is a human authority that can be trusted. Catholic teaching HAS NOT CHANGED since the age of the Apostles. They hold to the Tradition handed down by the Apostles and have not moved from them (I’m referring to the major things like the Sacraments, understanding of sin, Christ as the Son, etc. Not about the little things like Latin Mass or eating meat on Friday).

It’s not the Scripture that’s adhered to. It’s the Apostles’ teachings that are adhered to with the accordance of Scripture. The Apostles’ teachings (or Deposit of Faith) has remained the same throughout all the centuries.

Also, regarding human institutions failing…the Catholic Church—with claims to have been founded at the time of Christ—is an institution that outlasted the Roman empire. It’s older than any corporation and any national government. It has a structural hierarchy that’s been around since the time of Christ. Something that no other organized religion, government or corporation can lay claim to.

Above all, it’s been attacked by governments, by individuals and even from within by its own clergy and laypeople yet it has still survived—and is not going anywhere. You mention that human institutions always fail and I give you the ONLY example of one that has not failed. The only reason I can think of is divine intervention as “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

If you read the early writings of Christians—those who actually knew the Apostles—it’s amazing how similar it still is to Catholicism today.

When Christians disagree, we must appeal to an authority. For me, it will always be the Church as it is the “pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). For you, it will be Scripture albeit, appealing to Scripture alone is not actually found in Scripture. You ultimately turn to a person’s interpretation of Scripture which may or may not be correct.

Regarding the Bereans, their authority was not Scripture. Their authority was Paul which they backed up with the readings of Scripture (OT). So, Paul explained the significance of Christ through the OT and they verified that what he said was accurate then they believed. It’s what Paul said that was significant and supported by Scripture. If their authority had been the Pharisees, as in Thessalonica, their interpretation of the Scripture would have been different and they would have rejected the Truth.

Again, this is how it is today. The Church declares the Truth and it can be verified by Scripture. It’s not the other way around as that leads to multiple interpretations of the same passages which is not logical—at least on the important matters. What ends up happening is a world with not one Pope but millions of popes each with his/her individual interpretation and a disunity in important matters.