Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Understanding the Bible

From Scott Eric Alt:
Or a Protes­tant might say, If it is true that the Mag­is­terium is needed for you to prop­erly inter­pret the Scrip­tures, then why has it not given an infal­li­ble inter­pre­ta­tion of every verse?

Such a ques­tion in fact begs the ques­tion, in that it assumes sola scrip­tura with­out prov­ing it. The per­son who asks seems to think the only pur­pose of an infal­li­ble Mag­is­terium, if such a thing exists, is to give the defin­i­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of Scrip­ture. Once it has done that, it has no fur­ther pur­pose and may recede and leave Chris­tians to the Bible alone.

But that is not the pur­pose of the Mag­is­terium. Its pur­pose is to main­tain the integrity and unity of the faith, and to keep Chris­tians united in one body. That does not require it to inter­pret all 31,000-plus verses of Scrip­ture. In a few cases it does do so, as with Matthew 16:18. Or it tells us that the woman clothed with the sun (Rev­e­la­tion 12:1) is Mary. But its real pur­pose is to define faith and morals such that the unity of the Church is pre­served. To that end, it need not bind scrip­tural exe­ge­sis in tight chains; it need only keep it within cer­tain bounds. It tells us not how Scrip­ture must be inter­preted so much as how it may not be inter­preted. You may not inter­pret Romans 3:28 to deny the neces­sity of works in sal­va­tion. That is the dif­fer­ence: A Catholic dri­ves within the lanes; a Protes­tant is on a road with­out lanes, get­ting into wrecks. (Read more.)

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