Friday, October 5, 2007

Stephen K. Ray Responds to the Belief by the 'Bible Alone'

Catholic Author Stephen Ray responds in a letter to a man strictly defining his belief by the Bible alone. .

“In a recent letter to a man who said it was just “me and the Bible”, I wrote the following challenge: “You say you have not time to read other books, only the Bible. You say when you read the Bible it is just you and the Holy Spirit. Very cozy, but are you correct? No. Little do you realize – maybe because you don’t read and study widely – that even in your intimate moments with the Bible and the Holy Spirit, you are utterly dependent on the Church. Deny it though you may, it stands irrefutable. Between you and the Bible is the Church! If you were given the original inspired writings from the pen of the apostles, the original autographs of the New Testament, you wouldn’t have a clue as to what they said. Your first problem would be the fact that the hundreds of writings before you are in an ancient foreign language. Can you read minuscule Greek and Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic? You forget that the Bible did not just drop into bookstores prepackaged in English and leather. Even if you did know Hebrew or Greek, it wouldn’t have been the Holy Spirit who taught you, but a man, a Catholic scholar, no doubt.
“Of the hundreds of documents before you, would you have known which were inspired and which were not? Would you be adequate for the task of discernment? No, again you are dependant upon the Church and her bishops. Next, how did that nice Bible get into your hands so you can enthrone it in your heart? It got there through the agency of the Church! More precisely, from Catholic monks. Who translated it meticulously by hand in candlelight? Who copied it into the many languages of the world? The Catholic Church preserved and protected the Bible, with a scribe’s loyalty and dedication, so that it would make it through the darkness brought on by the barbarian hordes from the north. How many of these Fathers and their flocks gave their lives to preserve the Bible so you can read it today? And what if you were in another country? Would you be able to read, since the vast majority of people have always been illiterate? Before the printing press, would you have been able to afford the three years’ wages to buy your own personal copy? And if you couldn’t have your own copy, or were illiterate, how would you have known the Scriptures? From the Church, right? Right. The Church would have read it to you during Mass.
“Do you read the Bible with an unbiased purity of mind, or are you influenced by certain doctrinal presuppositions, and where did they come from? So, there you sit reading your Bible and thinking it is only you and the Holy Spirit, but there is much more involved, brother, and it would behoove you to remove your head from the sand and acknowledge the Catholic Church that gave you the book. You sit with translators and traditions on your right and on your left. The less you know of history, the original languages, the culture of the biblical times, the traditions of the Jews, the teaching of the Fathers, the formulations of the creeds and councils, etc. ., the more vulnerable you are to misunderstanding, deception, oversimplification, unnecessary complication, and heresy.”

[1] Stephen K. Ray. Crossing the Tiber. Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. Publisher: Ignatius. Pgs. 62-63

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