Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men,
A tradition of men, such as the one mentioned in Scripture, would be the doctrine of Scripture alone, which gives all individuals the right to interpret Scripture any way they want. Thus, invalidating the God given rule that one must obey those He has put in charge of our souls, in the Church.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Those who follow the erroneous doctrine of Scripture alone, replace God’s authority with their own and make Scripture say what they want it to say, rather than what God wills. Therefore, they claim that attending the Mass is unnecessary. Whereas, Scripture says that missing the Mass intentionally makes one God’s enemy:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
And that is just one of the traditions of men, or should I call them, errors of men, that Protestants follow and whereby they replace God’s Commandment with their tradition.
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.
Ivan Latham, on the “Road to Damascus”, oh, wait! that was St. Paul. I mean, on the “Notes from Damascus”, points out the irony of casting out the Word of God in Sacred Tradition and replacing it with private interpretation. He says:
The One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church came before the Bible as we know it. So this actually shows up the fallacy of a sola scripture approach, where everything has to be validated according to whether it is mentioned in the sacred text. Jesus did not say, ‘Go and write a book about everything I have said.’ No, rather He commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to all nations. Initially this instruction was fulfilled via the Jewish scriptures, and the oral tradition. The Biblical canon was only approved much later. And yes, of course the sacred text is vital to the life of faith. It is far too neglected, and prayerful study of the Bible yields much spiritual fruit in the life of the faithful Catholic. However, parallel to Sacred Scripture runs the stream of Sacred Tradition which preceded it (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
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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.