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So That You May Believe: Scripture, Tradition, Revelation.

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Presentation on theme: "So That You May Believe: Scripture, Tradition, Revelation."— Presentation transcript:

1 So That You May Believe: Scripture, Tradition, Revelation

2 So what is Scripture for? Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. -John 20:30-31 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:14-16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." -Romans 1:16-17

3 For showing forth Jesus... That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. -1 John 1:1-4

4 Choose your Jesus!

5 Christ... According to the Scriptures For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures... -1 Corinthians 15:3-4 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" -Mark 1:1-3 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. -Luke 24:27 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. -John 5:46 The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. -Vatican II, Dei Verbum § 15 (1965)

6 Showing us how to love... The teaching of St. Augustine Suppose we were wanderers who could not live in blessedness except at home, miserable in our wandering and desiring to end it and to return to our native country. -Saint Augustine (354-430), On Christian Doctrine 1.4.4 Moreover, since we are on a road which is not a road from place to place but a road of affections, which was blocked, as if by a thorny hedge, by the malice of our own past sins, what more liberal and merciful thing could He do when He wished to lay down Himself as a means for our return than to forgive all our sins, after we turn to Him, and to tear away the firmly fixed prohibitions preventing our return by being crucified for us? -Saint Augustine (354-430), On Christian Doctrine 1.10.10 It is to be understood that the plenitude and the end of the Law and of all the sacred Scriptures is that love of Being which is to be enjoyed and of a being that can share that enjoyment with us…That we might know this and have the means to implement it, the whole temporal dispensation was made by divine Providence for our salvation. -Saint Augustine (354-430), On Christian Doctrine 1.35.39

7 The Scriptural Christ... When we gather together everything which is reported about Jesus, we shall see that everything which was written about him is considered to be divine and worthy of wonder: his birth, his education, his power, his resurrection, all these took place not merely at the time indicated but are still working on us today. -Origen, Homilies on Luke 7.7 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -Hebrews 13:8 The Contemporary Christ... Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus... -Philippians 2:5 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church… -Catechism of the Catholic Church §79

8 But why do we need Christ scripturally? The divine scriptures then are in the habit of making something like children’s toys out of things that occur in creation, by which to entice our sickly gaze and get us up step by step to seek as best we can the things that are above and forsake the things that are below. -Saint Augustine (354-430), The Trinity 1.2 The scriptures employ no manner of speaking that is not in common human usage—they are, after all, speaking to human beings. -Saint Augustine (354-430), The Trinity 1.23 For the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father, when He took to Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men. -Vatican II, Dei Verbum § 13 (1965)

9 Apostolic Scripture The teaching of St. Irenaeus We have learned from no others the plan of our salvation than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith...Matthew issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish the Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. These have declared to us that there is one God, Creator of heaven and earth, announced by the Law and Prophets; and one Christ the Son of God. -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 3.1.1-2 Such is their hypothesis which neither the prophets preached, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles handed down. They boast rather loudly of knowing more about it than others do, citing it from unwritten works; and as people would say, they attempt to braid ropes of sand. They try to adapt to their own sayings in a manner worthy of credence, either the Lord’s parables or the prophets’ sayings, or the apostles’ words, so that their fabrication might not appear to be without witness. They disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures and, as much as in them lies, they disjoint the members of the truth. They transfer passages and rearrange them; and making one thing out of another, they deceive many by the badly composed fantasy of the Lord’s words that they adapt. -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 1.8.1 When, however, they are confuted from Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures as not being correct, nor of authority, and that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be derived from them by those who are ignorant of tradition...But, again, when we refer them to that tradition from the apostles which is preserved through the successions of the presbyters in the churches, they object to the tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth...Therefore it comes to this, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition. -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 3.2.1-2 The Church...though disseminated throughout the world, carefully guards this preaching and this faith, which she has received, as if she dwelt in one house. She likewise believes these things as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; she preaches, teaches and hands them down harmoniously, as if she possessed one mouth...Neither will any of those who preside in the churches, though exceedingly eloquent, say anything else (for no one is above the Master); nor will a poor speaker subtract from the tradition. For, since the faith is one and the same, neither he who can discourse at length about it adds to it, nor he who can say only a little subtracts from it. -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 1.10.2 I would not believe the gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so. -Saint Augustine, Against the “Foundational Letter” of the Manichees 5.6 (354-430)

10 Tradition... The Church proclaiming the Scriptural Christ I have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told... -John 16:12-13 At the same time, we must recognize that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual. For no prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them. -2 Peter 1:20-21 Concerning the teachings of the Church, whether publicly proclaimed or reserved to members of the household of faith, we have received some from written sources, while others have been given to us secretly, through apostolic tradition. Both forces have equal force in true religion. No one would deny either source—no one, at any rate, who is even slightly familiar with the ordinances of the Church. If we attacked unwritten customs, claiming them to be of little importance, we would fatally mutilate the Gospel, no matter what our intentions—or rather, we would reduce the Gospel teaching to bare words. -Saint Basil the Great (330-379), On the Holy Spirit 27.66 The one aim of the whole band of these enemies of sound doctrine is to shake the faith of Christ down to its foundations, by utterly leveling the apostolic tradition to the ground. They clamor for written proofs and reject the unwritten testimony of the Fathers as worthless...But we will never surrender the truth; we will not betray the defense like cowards. The Lord has delivered to us a necessary and saving dogma: the Holy Spirit is to be ranked with the Father. -Saint Basil the Great (330-379), On the Holy Spirit 10.25 Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age. -Catechism of the Catholic Church §80 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." -Catechism of the Catholic Church §78

11 But what keeps it all together? The tradition I handed on to you... The Rule of Faith The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess” to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory. -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 1.10.2 We have realized that the will to excellence is not enough; it is essential to study obediently. Obedience to the Word whom we have named our instructor means faith in him without opposing him in anything. How could anyone oppose God? Knowledge is one with faith, and faith one with knowledge, through a mutual succession derived from God. Even Epicurus, who set much more store on pleasure than on truth, supposed faith to be a preconception of intelligence. He expounds “preconception” as a close attention directed to a clear object and a clear concept of the object. He said that it is impossible to conduct an investigation or pose a problem or even have an opinion, or even refute another, without this “preconception.” -Saint Clement of Alexandria (150-215), Stromateis

12 Tradition Scripture Rule of Faith The Living Christ

13 Scripture and the Church... It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God. -Vatican II, Dei Verbum § 12 (1965) Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held in constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary in that case to follow the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? -Saint Irenaeus (d. 202), Against Heresies 3.4.1 When investigation reveals an uncertainty as to how a locution is should be pointed or construed, the rule of faith should be consulted as it is found in the more open places of the Scriptures and in the authority of the Church. -Saint Augustine (354-430), On Christian Doctrine 3.2.2 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome. -Catechism of the Catholic Church §85

14 An interpreting authority.......under scriptural authority The authority of Scripture in this matter is greater than all human ingenuity. -Saint Augustine (354-430), On the Literal Meaning of Genesis 2.5.9 There is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. The authority of these books had come down to us from the apostles through the succession of bishops and the extension of the Church, and from a position of lofty supremacy claims the submission of every faithful...mind. -Saint Augustine (354-430), Against Faustus 11.5 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith." Catechism of the Catholic Church §86

15 The Purpose of Scripture... The vision of Jesus And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" -Luke 24:25-32 And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen... -Saint Justin Martyr (d.165), First Apology 62 In the Mass... They are a poetic narrative of all things and they enable everyone who participates in a godly spirit always to receive and to pass on the sacrament of the hierarchy. When these sacred hymns, with their summaries of holy truth, have prepared our spirits to be at one with what we shall shortly celebrate...It gives them the introductory food of scripture which shapes them and brings them toward life. Later, when their being has been brought to fullness and to the divine birth it acts for their salvation and, following the rules of order, it allows them to enter into communion with that which will illuminate them and which will bring them to perfection. -Pseudo-Dionysius (5th/6th c.), The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 3.3.4-6

16 The vision of Jesus... Seeing all things new I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, "Write what you see... -Revelation 1:9-11 Rather, the Christian should see two realities at once, one world (as it were) within another: one world as we all know it, in all its beauty and terror, grandeur and dreariness, delight and anguish; and the other world in its first and ultimate truth, not simply “nature” but “creation,” an endless sea of glory, radiant with the beauty of God in every part, innocent of all violence. To see in this way is to rejoice and mourn at once, to regard the world as a mirror of infinite beauty, but as glimpsed through the veil of death; it is to see creation in chains, but beautiful as in the beginning of days. -David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea, p. 61. What Christian thought offers the world is not a set of “rational” arguments that (suppressing certain of their premises) force assent from others by leaving them, like the interlocutors of Socrates, at a loss for words; rather, it stands before the world principally with the story it tells concerning God and creation, the form of Christ, the loveliness of the practice of Christian charity—and the rhetorical richness of its idiom. Making its appeal first to the eye and heart, as the only way it may “command” assent, the church cannot separate truth from rhetoric, or from beauty. -David Bentley Heart, The Beauty of the Infinite, p. 4 Blandina was hung on a post and exposed as bait for the wild animals that were let loose on her. She seemed to hang there in the form of a cross, and by fervent prayer she aroused intense enthusiasm in those who were undergoing their ordeal, for in their torment with their physical eyes they saw in the person of their sister him who was crucified for them, that he might convince all who believe in him that all who suffer for Christ’s glory will have eternal fellowship in the living God. -Acts of the Christian Martyrs (c. 177) 41 Seeing like the martyrs In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature. -Vatican II, Dei Verbum §2 (1965)


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