God’s Inspired Standard
Jay N. Forrest
“All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching – for reproof, correction, and training in holiness so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NAB).
The question of whether or not the Bible is the only Divine authority has divided Christedom. The Protestants hold that the Bible is the only authority, while the Catholics deny this. According to Vatican II, “both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal feelings of devotion and reverence. . . .”
Contradictions: There is, however, no unity between Scripture and Catholic tradition. And to complicate matters, this tradition of the Catholic Church is recorded in 150 volumes. Many of the traditions contradict one another. For example, pope Gregory XIII said that it was not murder to abort an embryo of less than 40 days. His successor, pope Sixtus V disagreed and made excommunication the penalty. But then came along pope Gregory XIV, who reverse this, making such 40 day abortions not punishable. Then in 1869 pope Pius IX decreed that the killing of an embryo was murder, decreeing excommunication as the penalty.
Now either some of the popes were wrong when they spoke ex cathedra, which would mean that the pope is not infallible, or God just couldn’t make up His mind. I would hate to put the blame on God, “who cannot change and who is never shadowed over” (James 1:17 NAB).
Consistency is one test of truth. A contradition simply cannot be true. Since the popes have countradicted themselves (and this is only one of many examples), we can safely conclude they do not always speak the truth. Pope Adrian VI admited that, “In truth, many Roman Pontiffs were heretics.” Their word, then, should not be teated as equal with the word of God.
Apostolic Tradition: The Catholic Church claims that many of its doctrines and practices rest upon apostolic tradition. “It is a simple fact,” writes Dave Hunt, “that the Roman Catholic Church, for all its talk about apostolic tradition, cannot prove that even one of its traditions comes from the apostles!”
Even though the Bible tells us to daily study “the Scriptures to see whether these things [are] so,” the Roman Catholic Church discouages it. The council of Trent said that, “no one, relying on his own judgment shall. . . presume to interpret them contrary to that sense which Holy Mother Church. . . has held or holds. . . .”
“The corruption of power reaches its greatest height,” notes Dave Hunt, “in Catholicism’s bold claim that its members cannot understand the Bible for themselves but must accept unquestioningly the Church’s interpretation.” In fact, the Church didn’t even want the people to have the Bible in their language. Pope Pius VII said, “It is evident, from experience, that the Holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar [common] tongue, have produced more harm than benefit. . . .” They were so against the Bible being in the language of the people that act of translating the Bible was a crime punishable by death.
Test the Utterances: Scripture contradicts such nonsense. It tells us, in fact it commands us, “do not believe every inspired utterance, but test the utterances to see whether they come from God” (1 John 4:1 Goodspeed). How are we suppose to test the utterances, if not by the word of God? Clearly we should follow the example of the Bereans, who each day “studied the Scriptures to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NAB). If the Bereans checked out the teachings of the apostle Paul against the Bible, how much more should we check out the teachings of a bishop. The pope’s teachings should be tested against the Holy Scriptures before we accept them as true.
Only the Bible is said to be “inspired of God and is useful for teaching – for reproof, correction, and training in holiness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NAB) Every Evangelical church proclaims what the Bible clearly teaches, that the Bible alone is “our standard of faith and practice.” Hence, what we believe and what we do and say should be derived from and in harmony with the Holy Bible.