Unfortunately, this argument implies that tradition is superior to Scripture. Of course, we are not saying that the Roman Catholic church teaches that tradition is above Scripture. But when Sacred Tradition is claimed to be the thing by which Scripture is given, then tradition is inadvertently the thing that gives blessing and approval to the Bible. Heb. 7:7 says, "But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater." The unfortunate psychological effect of saying that Roman Catholic tradition is what gave us the Bible, is that it elevates their tradition to a level far greater than what is permitted in Scripture. In fact, it is contradicted by scripture:
"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other," (1 Cor. 4:6).The Bible tells us to obey the Word of God, to not go beyond the written Word, so that we might not make mistakes in what is true. Unfortunately, the problem with an elevated status of Roman Catholic church tradition is that it results in various justifications of it's non-biblical teachings such as prayer to Mary, purgatory, indulgences, penance, works of righteousness, etc. Because it has deviated from trusting God's Word alone, it has ventured into unscriptural areas. Nevertheless, did the Roman Catholic Church give us the Bible? No, it did not.
First of all, the Roman Catholic Church was not really in effect as an organization in the first couple hundred years of the Christian Church. The Christian church was under persecution and official church gatherings were risky business in the Roman Empire. Catholicism as an organization with a central figure located in Rome did not occur for quite some time, in spite of its claim they can trace the papacy back to Peter.
Second, the Christian Church recognized what was Scripture. It did not establish it. This is a very important point. The Christian Church recognizes what God has inspired and pronounces that recognition. In other words, it discovers what is already authentic. Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me..." (John 10:27). The church hears the voice of Christ; that is, it recognizes what is inspired and it follows the word. It does not add to it as the Roman Catholic Church has done. Therefore, it is not following the voice of Christ.
Third, the Roman Catholic Church did not give us the Old Testament which is the Scripture to which Christ and the apostles appealed. If the Roman Catholic Church wants to state that it gave us the Bible, how can they claim to have given us the Old Testament which is part of the Bible? It didn't, so it cannot make that claim. The fact is that the followers of God, the true followers of God, recognize what is and is not inspired. The Jews knew what was inspired of God and they recognized what God had inspired. That is what those who are of God do.
Fourth, when the apostles wrote the New Testament documents they were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. There wasn't any real issue of whether or not they were authentic. Their writings did not need to be deemed worthy of inclusion in the Canon of Scripture by a later group of men in the so-called Roman Catholic Church. To make such a claim is, in effect, to usurp the natural power and authority of God himself.
Fifth, the Scripture says, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God," (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible tells us that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the very nature of the inspired documents is that they carry power and authenticity in themselves. They are not given the power or the authenticity of ecclesiastical declaration.
ConclusionThe Christian church merely recognizes the Word of God (John 10:27). The authenticity of the New Testament documents rests in the inspiration of God through the apostles. It does not rest in the declaration of the Catholic Church. This is very important. The Christian Church recognizes what God has ordained through his sovereign inspiration to be the word of God. When the Catholic Church claims that it is the source of the sacred Scriptures, it is, in effect, placing itself above the word of God. It needs to repent.
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