ichael Scheifler of Bible Light
submits the following…
Take note, first of all, that the above is represented as a "foolproof argument", and a "Pickle" of a dilemma for Protestants, which is presented as ironclad support for Catholic oral Tradition. The only recourse left for the sadly misguided Bible Only Protestant, we are told, is to prove Paul to be teaching error. Could anything be more fatuous? Let's remove the blinders of Catholic Tradition and quickly make relish of this alleged pickle.
Paul, in chapter two of his second epistle to the Thessalonians, is addressing a false teaching that had apparently arisen among that congregation:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)
This sets the context for the chapter, which is the second coming of Christ.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Paul makes clear in this letter to the Thessalonians, that the second coming is not imminent, that first there must arise a "man of sin" in the church. Anyone teaching that the return of Jesus was near, was teaching error, a deceiver, not to be believed.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
So, in context, what is Paul referring to in verse 15? My, what a pickle! Is Paul reminding the Thessalonians of his orally preaching the Assumption of Mary? The Immaculate Conception of Mary? Mary Mediatrix of all grace and Coredemptrix? Papal Infallibility? How about Purgatory? Obviously not, when context is taken into account.
So, just what did Paul teach orally when he was in Thessalonica? Do we have a clue?
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:5)
What things? In context again, had Paul orally taught the Thessalonians a "foolproof argument" for the the Assumption of Mary? The Immaculate Conception of Mary? Mary Mediatrix of all grace and Coredemptrix? Papal Infallibility? How about Purgatory? Any of the doctrinal oral Traditions of Catholicism? Clearly, no, in context he had not done any such thing. The context of the chapter clearly demonstrates that the subject of Paul's epistle, and his oral teaching as mentioned in verse 15, and verse 5, was the second coming of Jesus - that it must be preceded by apostasy and the rise of antichrist in the church, and that the Thessalonians should hold fast to that teaching, and not be so easily misled by anyone into believing that Jesus' return was imminent.
So much for this "Protestant Pickle", and supposedly "foolproof argument" for unbiblical Catholic Traditions.
opefully now, those who have read the latest submission can see clearly enough to recognize that Mr. Scheifler's answer is NO
answer at all but instead a typical dodge of the real issue at hand. The fact of the matter is that St. Paul explicitly says in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that we are to hold to BOTH written and oral traditions. Are you denying this, Mr. Scheifler? The legitimate Protestant Pickle question didn't ask WHAT
the traditions were or weren't. It asked whether the Bible states that at a later time, only written traditions were to be adhered to. Are you implying that all these oral traditions which Paul referred to were at some point written down? If so, please show us this teaching from the Bible
Mr. Scheifler makes a point of stating that we must not take verses out of context. He is correct. And like most Protestants, he believes that the Bible must interpret itself, one verse shedding some light on another verse. But who sets the bounds for context and who declares if one verse has anything at all to do with another? Do we go one verse before the one in question, one paragraph, one chapter? To truly take a verse in context, it must be understood in light of the entire Word of God which includes the living Tradition of the Church. Without this environment, you are no better than the blind leading the blind. So just what are these traditions (plural) St. Paul speaks of? I really don't think you have to go further than the preceding verse! It is here where St. Paul specifies that these traditions make up the gospel itself! And I think Mr. Scheifler would agree that the gospel comprises much more than the subject of eschatology alone.
…whereunto he called you through our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours. (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15)
Mr. Scheifler needs to tell us why he accepts 2 Thessalonians as inspired and the Word of God in the first place. To claim that Paul wrote it, isn't sufficient. On what grounds can any Sola Scriptura believer make this assertion? Paul warns in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 that there were fraudulent letters being passed around claiming to be written by him. So how was a person to know for sure that a letter truly was from Paul? 2 Thessalonians 3:17 tells us how:
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
Has Mr. Scheifler or anyone else seen with his own eyes any of the original parchments written on by Paul? No. So how does he know for certain that Paul wrote it and it isn't one of the spurious letters written by a phony? He doesn't.
Mr. Scheifler asks if anything could be more fatuous? I believe trying to interpret the Bible in a vacuum as Mr. Scheifler does is much more foolish and witless.
June 10, 2005