Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Whose Book Is It?



In discussions here about Catholicism and on other blogs/forums that I visit, it never seems too long in a discussion with a Roman Catholic before the following statement is made in some form or other: “The Catholic Church gave you your Bible”.

No matter how many times I hear it, it still makes me cringe. Not only is the statement inaccurate, but the arrogance that often permeates that statement makes me fearful for the person saying it. I wonder if any Catholic would dare say such a thing when standing before the judgment seat.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It will be seen, therefore, that though the inspiration of any writer and the sacred character of his work be antecedent to its recognition by the Church yet we are dependent upon the Church for our knowledge of the existence of this inspiration. She is the appointed witness and guardian of revelation. From her alone we know what books belong to the Bible.


(Church = Roman Catholic Church, not the invisible body of believers)

Actually, that statement is pretty mild compared to what I have heard out of the mouths of laypeople, but misleading nonetheless.

As I have time I will search around for some of the comments I have seen online that have made me shudder…but in the meantime let me just clear up the general confusion. God wrote the Bible, it is HIS book.


Example comments:

“The church came before the bible. The church wrote the bible, then the church decided which books belong based on tradition.” source

“I'm not sure why you laugh when the Catholic Church gave the Bible to the world.” source

“As I and others have often said, the Catholic Church did not come out of the Bible; rather, the Bible came out of the Catholic Church! Jesus didn't leave us an instruction book; He left us a Church as our teacher. The Church produced the Bible and is its only rightful interpreter.” source

4 comments:

Elena said...

God wrote the Bible, it is HIS book.

This is your strawman to fight. Catholic's don't dispute this. God wrote the bible. He wrote it through inspired writers. He collected the books via the authority He gave the church. That is all historical fact. I would have no problem saying that on judgement day.

Timothy said...

As you haven't offered any alternative history of how the Bible came to be, you seem to have consented to the Catholic viewpoint by your silence.

Long before Jerome assembled the first Bible, there were about 30 Gospels in circulation among the early Church. How did those 30 become pared down to just the four that we have today in our Bible?

Ditto for all the epistles. Why the Epistle of James and not the Protoevangelion of John? Why not the Didache? Who decided the canon of the Bible or did God provide an inspired table of contents?

When I look at Church history I find councils of Bishops at Hippo and Ephesus deciding these matters. I was unaware that these bishops were Baptists, Pentacostals and/or even non-denominational Protestants.

This non-Catholic Christian stated the situation best:

"Amid the general jubilation over the three hundredth anniversary of the appearance of King James’s version of the Bible, I think it would be a pity if we did not make mention of that great Church to which, under God, we owe our possession of the sacred Scriptures – I mean of course, the Roman Catholic Church. Without striking one single jarring note, I hope, in the universal chorus, yet I feel it would be rather ungenerous, and indeed historically unjust, did we not turn our eyes at least in passing to that venerable figure standing in the background surveying our celebrations, and, as it were, saying, ‘Rejoice over it, but remember it was from me you got it.’ As a Scotsman, who cannot forget that it is the Bible that has made Scotland largely what she is today, I yield to no one in veneration of the inspired Scriptures and in admiration of the incomparably beautiful Authorized Version. Still, honor to whom honor. We shall only be awarding a just meed of praise and gratitude if we frankly and thankfully recognize that it is to a council (or councils) of the R.C. Church that we owe the collections of the separate books into our present Canon of the New Testament, and that to the loving care and devoted labor o the monks and scholars of that Church all through the ages we are indebted, not only for the multiplication and distribution of the sacred volume among the faithful when as yet no printing press existed, but even for the preservation of the Book from corruption an destruction. It is, then, undoubtedly true to say that, in the present order of Providence, it is owing to the Roman Catholic Church that we have a Bible at all. And no one will be a bit the worse Christian and Bible-lover if he remembers this notable year that it is to the Mother Church of Christendom he must look if he would behold the real preserver, defender, and transmitter of the ‘Word that endureth forever.’ – Henry Grey Graham (Glasgow Herald, 18th March, 1911)"

God bless...

Carrie said...

As you haven't offered any alternative history of how the Bible came to be, you seem to have consented to the Catholic viewpoint by your silence.

Thanks Tim.

When I make up my list of poor tactics that Catholic e-pologists use in discussions with Protestants I will be sure to add this one.

Elena said...

When I make up my list of poor tactics that Catholic e-pologists use in discussions with Protestants I will be sure to add this one

If we are wrong on this Carrie, then please correct us. How did the bible come to be without the Catholic church?