Tagged: Deposit of faith

What is Sound Doctrine?

Scripture says:

Titus 2:1
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; …

What is this “sound doctrine” to which the Apostle makes reference?

Doctrine means Teaching. Strangely enough, so does Tradition. Yes, Tradition means Teaching. Let me show you.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 King James Bible (KJV) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditionswhich ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

2 Thessalonians 2:15New International Version (NIV)

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

So, holding on to sound doctrine means to hold on to sound tradition.

What does “sound” mean? Sound can mean many things depending on the context. It can mean “noise.” Or “vocalization”. Or other things, depending on the context. Let’s look at the context in which it is used in the Bible when paired with doctrine.

2 Tim 4:3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

So, sound doctrine is not necessarily what one wants to hear.

Titus 1:9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Sound doctrine is a “trustworthy message which has been passed down according to how it has been taught.”

So, no deviations. And, must it be passed down by Scripture?

1 Thessalonians 2:13New International Version (NIV)

13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

You heard from us. Therefore, these were taught by word and not by reading it for themselves.

And it says “from us”. Therefore, there is a select group from which one must learn the Teachings. As Scripture says elsewhere:

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Therefore, in order to receive a faithful and trustworthy message, one must learn it from the Sacred Traditions which are passed down by their leaders in the Church.

Sacred Tradition is that Sound Doctrine to which the Apostle makes reference.

 

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Romans 10 vs Protestants

On the Greenbaggins blog, I had the following exchange:

De Maria said,

November 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Kevin Failoni said,
November 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

DeMaria, roberty bob, Romans 10:4 ” Christ is the END of the law FOR righteousness to all who believe. He is the end of the law because He fulfilled the law. ….

Kevin, Romans 10 describes the Catholic Church. Read it with understanding. You are reading it with the presuppositions instilled in you by the followers of Calvin. Listen.

Romans 10

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

That compares the OT to the Sacraments of the NT. Christ is the end of the Law because it is in the Sacraments that we are saved, if we believe in Christ.

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

This tells you that the Law of Moses is still efficacious, for those who obey God.

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

These two verses destroy the false doctrine of presumption of salvation.

Here in 6, St. Paul says not to judge yourself or anyone saved. For, in so doing, you are putting Christ down. You are usurping His Role as Judge of Mankind.

7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

Here, in 7, St. Paul tells you not to condemn any man to hell. For in so doing, you are usurping God’s Role. You are exalting yourself as though you have the power of life and death.

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This is describing what we do in the Sacraments. We profess our faith in Christ and God pours into our hearts the grace of the Holy Spirit.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek because those who hear the voice of God and believe will obey and do His works:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

That doesn’t say, “pick up the Bible and read for yourself”. That doesn’t say, “pass out bibles and figure it out for yourself.”

That provides the Catholic Teaching which says that we learn our faith from our Priests. They are the ones who preach to us the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes from hearing. Not from reading the Bible. From hearing the Church which is the infallible Teaching of the Wisdom of God:

Ephesians 3:10King James Version (KJV)

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

On private interpretation

 2 Peter 1:20 … no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation

On the GreenBaggins blog,  he asks,

“I do want to ask formally this question: if the RCC has a monopoly on the interpretation of the Bible, how come they have not come out with an inerrant commentary on the Bible? “

My answer is this:

The New Testament is the inerrant commentary on the Doctrines of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the thing, you look at salvation history differently than do we. You put an emphasis on Scripture because you, apparently, think that Jesus Christ wrote the Bible and therefore, you set aside the Church and follow your own interpretation. Or someone’s whom you prefer (2 Tim 4:3).

We understand that Jesus established an infallible Church, and commanded her to teach His Doctrines. The Church then wrote the New Testament based upon those Doctrines. Therefore, in order to understand Scripture, we look to the Teaching of the infallible Church which Jesus established. Because we understand that this is what the New Testament is expounding.

We are more concerned with the infallible interpretation of the Word of God because that includes Sacred Tradition and Scripture.  And because the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth, there will be no definitive interpretation until God says so. In the meantime, the Church will continue to get a deeper and fuller understanding of the Deposit of faith passed down by Jesus Christ through the Church.

That is why, Catholics approach the Word of God (that includes the Bible) in a manner fundamentally different than Protestants. We approach the Word of God in the manner which Scripture recommends. We learn the Word of God from our teachers (Heb 13:7). We learn the Word of God in Sacred Tradition and in the Sacred Writings (2Thess 2:15). When we do focus upon the Scriptures, we don’t neglect the spiritual meaning of the Word (2 Cor 3:6).

And most importantly, as Catholics, we understand that we are fallible. We also believe that God has established an infallible Teacher of His Wisdom (Eph 3:10). Therefore, we don’t go around re-interpreting what the Church has already explained. Since it is the Church which is called the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15), when it comes to Scripture, we believe the Church.