Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Questions for Protestants

Being a practicing Roman Rite Catholic, I am naturally at odds with quite a bit going on in the world (see the Gospel of John, Chapter 15). This is unfortunately not limited to a lot that takes place in Christendom. The startling lack of unity among Christians, particularly in the United States, is a sad thing indeed – so much so that Christ Himself, upon the eve of His Passion, prayed to avoid the dissension (see John 17).

Yet, we endure it.

How come her Bible says something
different than his Bible? 
It makes me wonder where and how these differences arise. For example, take the Eucharist. As a Catholic, I look at John 6, Matthew 26, 1 Corinthians 10, and a whole host of other verses and it is plain as day – at communion, the bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of Christ.
How Protestants (or “non-Catholics”) miss this and call it “symbolic” I will never understand. After all, they are Sola Scriptura, right? And there it is – right in the Bible.

So, Protestants, how do you read John 6, Matthew 26, 1 Corinthians 10 & 11?

This is just one of many questions I have for Protestants. More after the jump.

In no particular order:

Where in the Bible does it say that faith can be acquired from the Bible alone? I noticed John 21:25 where it is clear that what is in the Bible is not complete – that Jesus did and said many other things. Also, there’s 2 Thessalonians 2:15, where Paul says to hold fast to both written AND oral traditions. So, where are those oral traditions now that were so very important to Paul, and the things Jesus did and said that John saw fit to mention?

If Sola Fide (salvation by faith alone) is true, then why does St. Paul say that love is greater in 1 Corinthians 13:13?

And if Sola Fide is true, then how do you explain James 2:24 (“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”)?

Many Christian groups believe differently about many things. Take, for example, the Eucharistic verses from earlier in this post. If the Bible is all we need for salvation, how come people interpret the Bible differently, including what it says about salvation?

In other words, how can a reading of the Bible create several variations on what is true about salvation? If Jesus is THE way, truth, and life (John 14:6), how can there be many, which goes against the will of Jesus that we all be one (John 17)?

If the prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16), but none are righteous (Romans 3:10), then who’s prayer is it exactly that avails anything?

After Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter (Matthew 16:19), what happened to them? Does the Bible record Jesus taking them back?

"Yeah, I'll need these back before dinner next Passover...."

In the Epistle of Jude (Jude 1:14, to be exact), the author quotes from a non-canonical book, the Book of Enoch. If this was circulating at the time of early Christians, who decided, and why, and under what (or whos’) authority, that it was not part of the Bible (Enoch, that is)? And who decided that Jude, in quoting non-canonically, IS part of the Bible?

That’s it for now. Of course, I have my own answers (as does the Catholic Church, which, really, are where my answers come from), but I’m very curious how non-Catholics would answer one or all of these questions.


  1. Well, the starting question for me is always... where did that Bible in your hands come from? It didn't magically fall from heaven, it was written over thousands of years and by many authors. So who had the authority to put it together with those particular books? After all, St Paul wrote 4 letters to the Corinthians (that we know of) so why are only two in the Bible today? All these answers hinge on the Catholic Church's claim that it alone has the authority-- through the Holy Spirit-- to compile these particular letters into the book we call the Bible today. Without the Church's authority to do that, you're stuck. You would have to go back to all original sources of writings during that time and somehow seek God's inspiration yourself on which books you should accept or not. Good luck doing that! I prefer to trust that God would not leave us stranded without an authoritative church on earth to guide us on something so basic as to which words we can trust are inspired by Him. If we toss out the Church's authority to determine the canon, then we open a whole Pandora's box of problems and end up with 26,000 denominations all claiming they are the only ones who follow the Bible.

    I'll bring the alcohol and the hubby next month for further chats :)

  2. Sara, I could not have said that any better. Looking forward to it! :)