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Cults & World Religions discuss Dialog between Mike Horton and Bryan Cross on Sola Scriptura in the Apologetics Forum forums; Bryan Cross is an apostate who recently was in a dialog with Mike Horton on the topic of Sola Scriptura. I found the dialog interesting ...

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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Dialog between Mike Horton and Bryan Cross on Sola Scriptura

    Bryan Cross is an apostate who recently was in a dialog with Mike Horton on the topic of Sola Scriptura.

    I found the dialog interesting because Bryan could not seem to distinguish between a handling of Scripture or Truth where an autonomous individual interpreter gets to decide what is authoritative, on the one hand, and a proper view of teaching authority granted by the Word on the other.

    In other words, he presents the tired canard that you either have an infallible teaching office or it's just Bryan Cross and his Bible. Mike rightly pointed out his views in the interview as naive (where he states, for instance, that ecumenical councils have never contradicted one another) and mis representative of the Reformed position. One wonders whether a Roman Catholic exists that actually wants to interact with the substance of the Reformed view of a Church with teaching authority that exists in subordination to the authority of the Word.

    Recommend you pick up the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Modern Reformation as a great discussion of Sola Scriptura. I think the Reformers were right to draw a parallel between the Enthusiasts of their day and the Roman Catholic Church. In both cases, essentially, the Word becomes subordinate to either an individual or a magisterium that claims for itself immediate access to the Holy Spirit apart from the Word of God. With all his talk about teaching authority, at the end of the day, Bryan shows his true colors when he talks about the way he approached the Westminster Confession of Faith:
    I came to believe that the Westminster Confession of Faith has no authority, because the only basis for its "authority" was my own agreement with its interpretation of Scripture. And agreement with oneself cannot be the basis for authority. This is why denominationalism necessarily follows the loss of living teaching authority.
    Bryan Cross was the normative interpreter of Scripture for Bryan Cross. He was, for all intents and purposes, a pagan when he "agreed" to a Reformed Confession. Why? Because pagan deities are deaf and mute and cannot speak. Our God is a living God and His Word, consequently, is living and active and judges men rather than the other way around. Bryan admits that he believed his interpretation created truth rather than bowing the knee and seeing the Word as living and active and creating the world and Church that it speaks about.

    Brian has now replaced Scripture with an implicit trust in the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and as Mike Horton notes:
    We all have to answer that "according to whom" question. Why the Church of Rome? Why not the East, Wittenberg, Geneva, or Canterbury? Or, for that matter, Tulsa or Salt Lake City? At some point, you came to believe that the Church of Rome has magisterial authority over the whole body of Christ, but why? Even if you now submit unquestioningly (fides implicita) to everything taught as necessary by the Church of Rome, you still had to make a decision about which side you thought was correct when you left Reformed Christianity.

    It's interesting biographically when you say, "I came to believe that the Westminster Confession has no authority, because the only basis for its 'authority' was my own agreement with its interpretation of Scripture. And agreement with oneself cannot be the basis for authority." Sifting out the caricature, I see your point, but as an argument it seems quite dangerous to me. It seems to assume that the Bible is murky, confusing, perhaps even contradictory, requiring the clarity of an infallible teacher. When it comes to Scripture, one has to interpret a lot, but when it comes to the Magisterium, no interpretation is necessary. I don't believe one could find a single respected Roman Catholic theologian or cleric who would agree with you on that one, but it is certainly a radical surrender of one's fate to ecclesial authority. Quite aside from the specifics of actual church history (which renders the assumption of a clear and self-consistent Magisterium implausible), I puzzle over what appears to be a radically postmodern (skeptical) view of the possibility of a faithful interpretation of Scripture coupled with a radically modern (absolutist) view of ecclesial interpretation.
    I believe Mike is keenly insightful on this. At the root of the typical objection by a Roman Catholic is the same pagan idea that God cannot speak clearly and needs a cultis to speak for Him. Furthermore, the nice thing about pagan religions is all the cultic language that builds up around itself. It has an infallible teaching office that consists of tomes many orders of magnitude longer and more complex than the Scriptures themselves.

    Brian can speak in the abstract about the infallible teaching office of the RCC but, in reality, this can only remain an abstraction because its actual content is so large and complex that no two Roman Catholics will actually be able to comprehensively re-construct what that teaching is nor will they agree upon their conclusions.

    It remains, therefore, a convenient "unicorn", this idea of infallible teaching authority. One can remain skeptical about the perspicuity of Scripture on the one hand and use the infallible teaching authority as a convenient ploy to buttress a pagan notion that God cannot speak clearly. Then, when one is convinced to place his trust in this infallible teaching authority, the volume and complexity of the teaching allows one to cherrypick truth and interpret it as one wishes.

    At the end of the day, Bryan Cross is right back where he was when he was a pagan with a Reformed Confession. He's now a pagan who interprets Roman Catholic dogma to bend and shape a deaf and mute deity to his own service.
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    It remains, therefore, a convenient "unicorn", this idea of infallible teaching authority. One can remain skeptical about the perspicuity of Scripture on the one hand and use the infallible teaching authority as a convenient ploy to buttress a pagan notion that God cannot speak clearly. Then, when one is convinced to place his trust in this infallible teaching authority, the volume and complexity of the teaching allows one to cherrypick truth and interpret it as one wishes.
    This is the real nub of the issue. It allows Catholicism to be in the eye of the beholder. Further, it makes Catholicism into a sort of deepest foam: if you penetrate it at any one point, the rest of the foam comes closing around the entry point. If you object to something in Catholicism, everything else about Catholicism can be garnered to answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis View Post
    Mike rightly pointed out his views in the interview as naive (where he states, for instance, that ecumenical councils have never contradicted one another) and mis representative of the Reformed position.
    I recently ran into a RC who said pretty much the same thing. I had pointed out that a mere three decades apart, the Synod of Constantinople (753) and the Council of Nicaea (787) flatly contradicted one another on the use of the images of Christ. After much hem-hawing, the final answer I got was that Constantinople was a "local council" that erred and was immediately corrected by Nicaea. Of course, Nicaea was also the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and it was put forth that these have never been contradictory. Is there a source somewhere that would show where some if the Ecumenical Councils have erred by contradicting other ECs?
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    Last edited by SolaGratia; 12-29-2010 at 11:59 AM.
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    That's why, "On the first day of Christmas my pastor taught to me... The Doctrine of Perspicuity."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolaGratia View Post
    Yeah, I saw that. Bryan complains about being "cut short" but if you actually read the dialog Bryan's overall "space" in the dialog is significantly longer than Mike's.
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    Rich and Gil it is a Great article , I enjoyed the piece, thanks for sharing it.

    The following piece from the dialogue sums up why I believe the church of Rome is wrong in its insistence that her interpretation of scripture is infallible is still the major dividing line between Protestants and Catholics.

    When I began to read the scriptures and the scholarly treatises on the Gospel by others , namely Protestant theologians, I was told I was in error by not ultimately submitting to the interpretations given by the Roman magisterium. It is the major reason I am today a protestant and no longer a catholic in allegiance with the church of Rome and her pope.

    History simply stands against any claim that the Church of Rome has been as self-consistent or clear as Scripture

    “Of course there is a “living teaching authority in the church”: normatively, Christ, by his Spirit, speaking in his Word and, subordinately, the common confession of this Word through the instruction of pastors and teachers (held in check by elders). It’s not an infallible, fail-proof system. But then, neither is Rome. History simply stands against any claim that the Church of Rome has been as self-consistent or clear as Scripture. And I repeat my earlier point that the anathemas of the Council of Trent (reaffirmed ever since) actually set Rome in opposition to the clear, marvelous, and saving gospel that is taught in Scripture. So even if there were an infallible teaching office in the church today, Rome would fail that crucial test“.
    In faith,
    Dudley
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    Is there a link to the original exchange? I am not seeing it in the OP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrow Man View Post
    Is there a link to the original exchange? I am not seeing it in the OP.
    I believe it is here Tim.

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    Thanks for posting this, Rich. This issue of Sola Scriptura and the perspicuity of Scripture is at the forefront of battle today. It may well be that many of the 'young, reformed, and restless' crowd will follow the same path that Cross has walked. I know that I have seen it happen, first hand - and from an RTS graduate to boot. Neo-paganism, postmodernism, nihilism they are interconnected and they are vile worldly philosophies that warp the mind inhibiting rational thought.
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    Michael is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    I'm assuming that the only way to view the entire dialogue is to purchase a subscription to Modern Reformation.

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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marrow Man View Post
    Is there a link to the original exchange? I am not seeing it in the OP.
    I believe it is here Tim.

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    That's a portion of the exchange. The full exchange is found here but you need an MR account to read it: Modern Reformation - Articles
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I'm assuming that the only way to view the entire dialogue is to purchase a subscription to Modern Reformation.
    I'm not certain. You can get an account on their website for free but I'm uncertain whether you can read the exchange without a subscription. In my opinion, MR is well worth the subscription and I have been reading it with great profit for about 15 years.
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    Thanks for posting this. As a ex-RC I know why its so hard for a RC to see the error of his ways. I will check it out for sure.
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