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The Final Authority

From: Michael
Sent: October-10-18 6:38 AM
To: Victor Hafichuk
Subject: Catholicism

 

Hi Victor

I know this letter may one day end up in your website. But that is fine by me.

I read through your testimony and how Jesus has indeed has changed your life and i am happy for that.

But there were certain things that I found which I can’t quite comprehend.

Authority of the Scripture

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NRSV)

This was the verse that you quoted to to say that Scripture has the ultimate authority. But there are several problems with using this verse to prove the doctrine of ‘Sola Scriptura’.

  1. By scripture, Paul is not talking about the Bible, as the Bible was not yet compiled by the Church. He is rather mentioning about the OT. This is clear from the fact that he is talking about the ‘sacred writings’ that Timothy has read in his childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). Therefore, if the doctrine of ‘Scripture alone’ is based on this verse, then we would have to restrict ourselves to OT alone.
  2. Paul wrote this letter in 66 AD. Eight of the books were written after this time period. These included 2 Peter, Hebrews, Jude, John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation. So even if he knew about the rest of the NT books being used by the early Christians, and was also talking about them, he could by no means have meant these eight books.
  3. Even if he did mean the entire NT, the problem would be that, the verse doesn’t say that it is the only way to teach, for reproof, to correction, e.t.c., but rather that it is ‘useful’.
  4. As we are in the path of assumption, let us also assume that the verse does support ‘Sola Scriptura’. Then the problem would be which all writings of the First Century writers should be considered as Scripture (as there were many). Without the Church using her authority (given by Christ himself) to discern which books should be included into the Scripture and which not, there would not have been the book in our hands which we consider as the ‘Word of God’.

As St. Augustine said:

“But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.”

Even Tertullian wrestled with this idea of ‘Scripture Alone’, and he concluded as follows:

“Our appeal, therefore, must not be made to the Scriptures; nor must controversy be admitted on points in which victory will either be impossible, or uncertain, or not certain enough. But even if a discussion from the Scriptures should not turn out in such a way as to place both sides on a par, (yet) the natural order of things would require that this point should be first proposed, which is now the only one which we must discuss: With whom lies that very faith to which the Scriptures belong. From what and through whom, and when, and to whom, has been handed down that rule, by which men become Christians? For wherever it shall be manifest that the true Christian rule and faith shall be, there will likewise be the true Scriptures and expositions thereof, and all the Christian traditions.”

So as you can see this verse can not support the doctrine of Scripture Alone.

The authority lies with the Church not he Scripture.

Scripture is only a part of the tradition handed down to us by the Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

I am indeed thankful to God to have given you the grace to overcome your vices. May God bless you abundantly.

Victor replied:

Hello, Michael!

I believe I will have this letter posted. I treat it as an opportunity to share the Truth with the world. You say you don’t mind, and as one who professes faith in Jesus Christ, you shouldn’t mind, not for a second. Many write and argue with me as though they had true knowledge by genuine faith in Christ, yet they object to having their words made public. This only demonstrates that their faith is not genuine, certainly not stable.

But because you’re willing to have your letter posted doesn’t necessarily mean you have the genuine faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me ask you a simple question: Has Jesus Christ changed your life? Has He brought you from a state of known darkness into the light? Has He broken your chains of bondage to sin and brought you into the freedom of a new life? Have you heard His Voice? Do you commune with Him? Do you know Him personally? Does He know you?

I happen to know the answers to those questions, so I’m not asking them for my sake but for yours and those who need to know these things if perchance God has granted you to seek after Him with all your heart and chooses to use my ministry to draw you to Himself. You’re here, aren’t you? We’ll see how your visit affects you in the long run, won’t we?

You err in your understanding of what I teach, and you confess you don’t understand, though you aren’t directly asking me for an explanation. Perhaps it’s to be assumed that I would answer your concerns. In any case, I answer.

Nowhere will you find me teach that the Scriptures are the Final Authority. True, I absolutely do recognize Them as Authoritative, even as Jesus Christ and the apostles treated Them as God-inspired and Authoritative. You can’t argue against that Biblical record. Jesus quoted Them and declared They can’t be broken. He and His disciples quote the Scriptures against arguments of darkness. Nobody can rightly argue that They aren’t Authoritative.

But “Final Authority”? No. Jesus Christ, Lord of lords, Almighty God, the Alpha AND the OMEGA (that’s quite final, isn’t it?) is the Final Authority.

It wasn’t the church that saved me. It wasn’t the Bible that saved me. It wasn’t doctrine that saved me. It was Jesus Christ Who reached down and saved me, according to my experience, testimony, and the Word of Jesus Christ Himself.

The Scriptures Paul the apostle preached did not save Saul of Tarsus. The Pharisee denomination didn’t save him. His Hebrew pedigree didn’t save him. His good works didn’t save him. His keeping of sacraments didn’t save him. His High Priest couldn’t save him. His sacrifices and devotion didn’t save him. He made it plain the keeping of the Law couldn’t save him.

On his way to Damascus, as an official of the Sanhedrin appointed to stamp out supposed heresy, Saul of Tarsus was instantly turned around. He was converted. How? Jesus Christ appeared to him, gave him a command, he obeyed, and was saved by faith in Christ.

So then, is it “sola fide”? No. Yes, we’re saved by faith but not without fruits proving and produced by faith. The book of James is an excellent Spirit-inspired record of that Truth.

Is the Catholic Church the “final authority”? If so, why was I perishing while a baptized and devoted member in it? Why was I, as a Catholic, in slavery to sin and without hope? Why couldn’t anyone in my congregation, the minor seminary, or any Catholic messenger able to help me on the road of salvation? Some authority!

But in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ appeared to me in 1972, drew me to Himself, and I’m now His, in fellowship with Him, and the Catholic Church had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I was saved despite the darkness of Roman Catholicism, which is SOOO anti-Biblical.

Jesus Christ is your Only Hope, Michael. You need to repent before God. Confession of sin to a priest wasn`t enough for me and it will never suffice for you.

Victor Hafichuk

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