Sola Scriptura: The Bible alone is enough!
The Heretics even quoted scripture! The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches use this silly argument to suggest that we cannot use the Bible alone to refute heretics, since they also quote scripture. Perhaps there is more truth to this than what first appears! Perhaps only Catholic cannot refute heretics with the scriptures... Christians, on the other hand, have not problem refuting heretics with the scriptures.
Sola Scriptura: The Heretics even quoted scripture!
- Roman Catholic and Orthodox advocates deceptively mislead you into thinking that since the heretics also tried to prove their doctrines from the Bible, the church gave up on scriptural "proof texting" and won the battles by appealing to tradition. This view completely misrepresents history and the facts. Click here to learn why. "Proponents of sola Scriptura often point out that the early Church Fathers appealed to the Scriptures for authority during the doctrinal controversies of the early centuries. What they usually neglect to mention, however, is that the heretics also appealed to the Scriptures. A classic example of this is the Arian controversy which ultimately resulted in the doctrinal definitions affirming the doctrine of the Trinity." (THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, Clark Carlton, 1997, p 102)
- "Now that we have exposed their plan of belittling the Son under cover of magnifying the Father, the next step is to listen to the exact terms in which they express their own belief concerning the Son. For, since we have to answer in succession each of their allegations and to display on the evidence of Holy Scripture the impiety of their doctrines" (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 11)
Wow, we love this statement by Hilary! He sounds quite "un-Catholic" and rather "Protestant" in his scriptural "proof-texting" to refute the Arians! On every little point the Arians taught, Hilary proved them wrong, not from the Nicene Creed that was now 25 years old, but from the scriptures!
- "Such is their error, such their pestilent teaching; to support it they borrow the words of Scripture, perverting its meaning and using the ignorance of men as their opportunity of gaining credence for their lies. Yet it is certainly by these same words of God that we must come to understand the things of God." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book IV, 14)
An amazing text that refutes the Roman Catholic and Orthodox apologists claim that the church refuted heresy with "tradition" because they found that arguing scripture with the heretics futile, since the heretics also quoted scripture. Here we see as late as 350 AD, the church realized that the word of God, not tradition, was the source of how to "understand the things of God".
- But now let us continue our reading of this Scripture, to shew how the consistency of truth is unaffected by these dishonest objections. (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 5, 9)
Contrary to the claims of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, even after the Nicene creed, the church still used scripture as the primary force against the false doctrine of the Arians!
- "Ignorance of prophetic diction and unskillfulness in interpreting Scripture has led them into a perversion of the point and meaning of the passage." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35)
Notice how Hilary expected the heretics to be able to understand the scriptures correctly! A Roman Catholic or Orthodox would never say this. Instead, they would say, "The reason the heretics are wrong, is the fact that it is impossible for them to understand the scriptures because only the church can correct interpret the Bible"! If Hilary were Roman Catholic, he would have said, "Its not because of your "ignorance and lack of skill" it's the fact that you are trying at all! Just ask me what the correct interpretation is!" Or even simpler, "Be silent heretic, and read the Nicene creed for yourself!"
- "Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 16)
"There is no room for deception; the words of Scripture are clear" (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 4, 32)
Hilary again states that the Bible is understandable! He dismisses the heretics, not because they can't understand the Bible, but because their doctrines are contrary to the "clear sense of Scripture". The Bible is clear! Its easy to understand! Hilary wonders why the Arians cannot see it? The Orthodox and Roman Catholics teach that the Bible is a veiled document that only becomes clear to the leaders.
- "And now, although we have found the sense of Scripture, as we understand it, in harmony with the conclusions of ordinary reason, the two agreeing that equality is incompatible either with diversity or with isolation, yet we must seek a fresh support for Our contention from actual words of our Lord. For only so can we check that licence of arbitrary interpretation whereby these bold traducers of the faith would even venture to cavil [raise trivial objections] at the Lord's solemn self-revelation." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 16)
Another powerful statement by Hilary that the scriptures are to be interpreted by the individual. Notice he does not say, "we are the church, we have the Holy Spirit to guide our interpretation", but "as we understand it". He also says that the natural reading of scripture is enough. Why do the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches think that what they write is understandable with "ordinary reason", but what God writes is confusing to all unless you are the Pope? If non-Catholics cannot understand the Bible apart from "God's organization", because the scripture is veiled to the common man, why would they expect the common man to understand their defense of doctrine? Yet Orthodox and Catholic defenders think they are better skilled at writing religious literature than God! For only in their writings can man understand truth!
- "And it is obvious that these dissensions concerning the faith result from a distorted mind, which twists the words of Scripture into conformity with its opinion, instead of adjusting that opinion to the words of Scripture." (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 4)
Notice how different Hilary sounds from Catholics and Orthodox: They want heretics to adjust their views to the traditions of the church, or whatever the Pope or the priest teaches, but Hilary pointed them straight to scripture and expected the Bible to be the final authority.
The fact remains that this is exactly what Christians did: they refuted by scripture!
"Now one might write at great length concerning these things, if one desired to go rate details respecting them; for the impiety and perverseness of heresies will appear to be manifold and various, and the craft of the deceivers to be very terrible. But since holy Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us, therefore recommending to those who desire to know more of these matters, to read the Divine word, I now hasten to set before you that which most claims attention, and for the sake of which principally I have written these things." (Athanasius, To the Bishops of Egypt, Ch 1, 4)
Ignorance of prophetic diction and unskillfulness in interpreting Scripture has led them into a perversion of the point and meaning of the passage (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35
"Proponents of sola Scriptura often point out that the early Church Fathers appealed to the Scriptures for authority during the doctrinal controversies of the early centuries, What they usually neglect to mention, however, is that the heretics also appealed to the Scriptures. A classic example of this is the Arian controversy which ultimately resulted in the doctrinal definitions affirming the doctrine of the Trinity." (THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, Clark Carlton, 1997, p 102)
How heretics quote scriptures: Homosexuals today quote scriptures, but even a plain reading of a child will prove them wrong. Both Clement and Tertullian highlight the fact that the heretics, specifically the Gnostics, did not use the whole canon and rejected a great deal of the scriptures as Marcion did. So the Roman Catholic and Orthodox claims that the early church did not use the scripture, because she found herself in a stalemate, and therefore appealed to tradition, is wholly false. The Heretics rejected the very scriptures the church used against them as inspired.
- "And if those also who follow heresies venture to avail themselves of the prophetic Scriptures; in the first place they will not make use of all the Scriptures, and then they will not quote them entire, nor as the body and texture of prophecy prescribe. But, selecting ambiguous expressions, they wrest them to their own opinions, gathering a few expressions here and there; not looking to the sense, but making use of the mere words." (Clement of Alexandria, book 7, ch 16)
- Now this heresy of yours does not receive certain Scriptures; and whichever of them it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and diminutions, for the accomplishment of it own purpose; and such as it does receive, it receives not in their entirety; but even when it does receive any up to a certain point as entire, it nevertheless perverts even these by the contrivance of diverse interpretations. Truth is just as much opposed by an adulteration of its meaning as it is by a corruption of its text. Their vain presumptions must needs refuse to acknowledge the (writings) whereby they are refuted. They rely on those which they have falsely put together, and which they have selected, because of their ambiguity. (Tertullian, the Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter XVII.-Heretics, in Fact, Do Not Use, But Only Abuse, Scripture. No Common Ground Between Them and You)
By Steve Rudd
Go To Start: WWW.BIBLE.CA