Apologetic letter to Prominent Protestant Pastor on the assumption of Mary and the Authority of the Bible.
The main reason I disagree with the idea that it is "assumed" that Mary was a virgin her whole life, is because Protestants use the tactic that if it's not specifically written inside scripture, they it "must" have never happened. However, there are many things scripture references that were taught, such as Paul asking people to keep the "traditions" he passed to them as methods of teaching, which were never detailed inside the scriptures specifically. I can give close to 50 scriptures that prove or talk about things outside of scripture itself as scripture not holding everything or proving itself to not be the authority(see bottom of article). It's a fallacy to assume that simply because it isn't specified in detail inside the Bible, that it never took place. The truth is that as Jesus never references scriptures inside the “Bible”, and anytime the Bible does, it's not talking about the New Testament or Bible at all, it’s talking about past letters. The Bible was not completely put together and the canon closed until close to 400 AD, and it was the Catholic Church that did it, proving they ultimately had authority over the Bible as they chose the included and excluded books that did or did not work together, not the other way around (more on the canon below). The word Protestants translate as "brother" to Jesus, actually also means cousin. Simply because it can be translated as “brother” also, does not suddenly mean that it “must” be that and the Church has passed down lies for centuries. This is also a fallacy. Also, the church has other writings outside of the Bible itself to show and reference that it was generally accepted by all believers all the way back as early as pre-fourth century. To early scholars and until the reformation, it was never debated. This would seem to show that as only more recent scholars have taken issue after the reformation, as a means for Luther to justify marrying and serving the church. Much like a former king disbanded from the Catholic church to create the Church of England so he could have a divorce, and many children rebel against their parents to live “how they chose”.
In reality, you can be a priest and married under certain conditions in the Catholic faith, but the reason they have stuck to not doing so is to allow for certain issues to not be forced upon the laborers of God at the same time. Meaning, people should not have to worry about the various aspect of leading a home and church at the same time, while dealing with the issues that one poisoned seed in one of those wells effecting the other, e.g. common issues you’ve seen among Protestant pastors are good examples. Having the extra time to focus solely on the Lord, allows you more in depth time for various services and devotions to him, and his Word.
It's as Paul says clearly up front, if you can be like me, serve and be with only the Lord, but if you cannot and (essentially) must contain your lust, it is good to be with one woman, so you can be righteous with the Lord. However, in being with a woman you must then also always be worried of the things of this earth (directly reflecting Adams curse to till the earth and eves curse to desire to rule over her husband/bear children pain, due to the fact that as a man or woman solely with God, you concern is not things of this earth, but only of heaven, which is why the priests/nuns take the various vows). As Paul also clearly dictates, if this were followed, there would not be as many issues with particular priests in the priesthood as more recent times have shown us.
I hope this helps you a bit. The most important thing I wanted to draw you from was the difference in your long hair analogy (that people can read silly things into scripture like long hair being evil when it’s not relevant to your soul) and the "assumption" of Mary. The long hair thing is a rationalization of scripture to interpret what you want out of it (which I've expressed many preachers do sometimes unknowingly as that's what they were taught or discern themselves), and the thing about Mary is not. It's actually a rationalization that because it's not specifically mentioned, that it was not the case, taught, etc. Hence, a fallacy to assume that it "must" be true, much like Jesus "must" have had brother, not cousins.
I've added here references from a letter once written by a former pope that you may have at one time read in part, as many Protestants quote Catholics and popes in part to justify things, like the current video online where people are unknowingly spreading false info about the current pope stating that the personal relationship with Jesus won't save you, but the church will, which is an outright lie, and not specifically what the man said. The Pope said that you cannot have a true relationship with God without the church, in the sense that without guidance of any means, or practically seeing others and growing with others in the faith in how they practice it, that you can interpret scriptures in a vaccine to mean anything you want almost. Every pastor I know will agree, even if they disagree on what the scriptures mean, that you need proper guidance, however they usually agree that it should be from their church or them. I suggest reading the entire letter, and it will help upon understanding the importance of discipleship and the magisterium over discerning scripture on your own.
Having trouble finding it completely, but it basically states that man alone led to determine and interpret the Bible as he sees fit will always drift either to his own way for God to fit his need or justify his own behavior, or to justify any evil. In truth, where all men are bound to disagree upon interpreting things on their own, where they will find common ground is that you must agree with them or you don't understand and are not true. This, played out in fullness of the body of Christ, would only and could only lead to both mass confusion of who to believe, follow, learn from, but also only lead to pride of oneself as to who has the truth. In truth, I believe Jesus didn’t write things down for a reason, because you can’t really understand something until you do it. Studying it doesn’t mean much, as you know. You will learn more the first 6 months on a job than you typically will in school, and it is very hard to learn to fish only from a book, but easy as someone shows you and explains how.
There is no unity or common ground inside a man who ultimately makes himself the authority of how to interpret who God is as he agrees to it and how things took place, when he scoffs at those who would say that you can only be taught as it's passed down and the Bible itself was only one tool to aide in doing so, not as an authority. So in man making the actual book the authority, he leads himself into darkness of his own effort because he has made any interpretation he gives it to be his God, which is actually an ever changing God as his understanding changes. He considers God revealing himself, rather than to consider that God already came and revealed himself fully through Christ Jesus, and that he said himself that his church would never falter or be overcome, where he could have had peace the entire time and no new revelation would be necessary, as I believe it states in Galatians. The man interpreting God for himself will have many frustrations and struggles rather than peace, as he will constantly need to learn from his own mistakes as he interprets them and comes to agreement with others on how his new understanding is the "truth", while he cannot face the problem that he ultimately believes the Bible is the authority over the church, not the church over the Bible. Claiming he has authority in the understanding of the Bible and others who do not agree with him do not, makes it so you must learn from him. This makes “his” church the authority over what is to be taught in the Bible, usurping the Catholic Church only to mimic it as he sees fit, while also condemning that perspective.
Here is the Catholic answers version to why the church changed and has authority to change the sabbath, which was the concern of the letter I mentioned by Pope Pius XI: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/changing-the-sabbath
I'll send the good articles I've been detailing out for you tomorrow, but here is a couple good ones for you on similar subjects of rationalizing scripture through interpretation rather that passing down authority through discipleship.
This is also a conversation I started on several forums that I never got a direct answer from any Protestant that answered the question:
‘“And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven."”
Matthew 16:18-19 CPDV
Please answer what they keys are, and why only Peter received them in scripture? Why did Matthew put it in his Gospel, if it is not an important fact that these keys were handed specifically to Peter?
This is a genuine question for my Protestant brothers and sisters. I am seeking genuine response and dialogue. Responses that cannot be civil and offer genuine direct responses to continued dialogue may be ignored. Please do respond while outdoing each other with honor. Christ did not die for us to crucify each other.’
Here is the only genuine response a got:
That the keys were specifically meant to be given to all.
My response was why did Matthew years later, write specifically that the keys were handed to Peter alone, and not everyone, in a time that anyone could have disputed it? Only to later in scripture also say that faith was for everyone? Did Matthew lie that Peter alone was given the "keys" to the kingdom, or is he saying Jesus lied about it? The "keys" I've only heard to be rationalized as opening doors, which is for everyone. However also when you purchase a car or house, the first thing they give you when it's yours is the keys, when you are presented with authority over them. People offered the Greek tells the answer regarding the term "little pebble", so I found this article below regarding Matthew actually being originally written in Aramaic not Greek, and asked if they understood how the translated Greek changed original meaning. I then questioned them if they have ever passed down a company or anything before, and told them it is always common practice for people to pick their own successors they trust the most to do so. Everyone also knows you naturally have a leader to handle disputes and that even when the rules don't change, everything else still does, such as technology, etc., and people need guidance on how to adapt the same laws Christ gave to the changing conditions of the world, at all times. This is the role the Pope plays, he cannot actually change scripture or the teachings, as the Magisterium was created as a “checks and balances” to assure that.
The response I got was why would Jesus trust someone he called the devil two lines later, and again I said it's not a video recording, but written 30 years later, and he records it with no one disputing it at the time, and that he called the words coming out of Peter as false, not Peter himself, who was still an apostle.
Peter and the rock (real explanation from original Matthew writing in Aramaic):
Was Paul anti-catholic:
The canon was originally 73 books for the Catholic canon, but shortly after the Catholics came out with a canon, about 100 years later, so did the Jews. They left out seven books from the Christian canon, and the Catholic Church adopted that canon for some time, making the full bible 66 books. Later the Catholic Church realized that they should not have left the books out of the original canon as the Jewish people did not consider Christ in consideration of their canon. So the decided to reinstitute the books as Jesus and the disciples reference them in different areas. The Protestant church follows and accepts the Jewish canon, claiming the Catholic Church added these books later, which are all actually in the Old Testament, not the New Testament. Most protestants I find are not even aware that the additional books are in the OT when they regurgitate their bitterness for the Catholic Church and its “evil” doings. Many times I find that when you are able to confront one thing they were wrong on, they may then slam you with every bitterness they have on the church, and it would take so long to unpackaged each one, that they claim a sort of victory, but in truth, they have actually just overwhelmed you and expected you to submit to work through every issue they have immediately, or you “must” be wrong on all of them. This is another fallacy and bitterness, gossip, and slander passed down. Also, as all scripture is good for teaching and instruction, so are other things, such as the Mass, worship music, Jesus taught by building houses, etc., People learn in different ways and teach in different ways, it does not mean there is only one way to teach. We teach manners, through practically sitting at a table, which many could argue being tradition in many respects. I’ve never heard a Pastor in any church not used some sort of real life or personal example in their sermons.
Here is a great article on "the rapture" or the book of revelation, that you will also like. Very cool cool stuff! The term "rapture" you will not actually find in scripture, and as a student of biblical theory history, I will tell you that every generation since Christ who has gone on their own interpretation of scripture, always interprets revelation as happening now in different ways. In part they are not wrong, and in part they are doing what most people error with on the Mayan calendar, which is putting things within however they "seem" to fit like a fortune cookie to justify their interpretation as real. In reality, revelation, tends to happen so many times overtime, and are really just more principles to learn from that continually play out practically. In truth, we do judge the living and the dead by Christ's terms as good or bad, and the Pharaohs were not wrong in burying their gold with them as when we dug them up and judge them as we do others today in digging them up, the more treasure they had buried with them, the more noted they are in our history books today. They will live on forever! Today Jesus's kingdom has no end, and eventually as we grow we will leave earth through space shuttle as we follow his principles, and those who serve God and his will the best will ultimately be most revered and regarded throughout all of history, and the greatest houses built will be for those who make the greatest impacts on the lives of those here. Passing our eternity down through those we meet and serve, which is ultimately Christ passed down and Glorifies him. See article below:
Remember that the Kingdom of Heaven is Upon Us, At Hand, and Within You! Those who have it are at Peace and full of Joy! Those who have given themselves over to God, but still working through their sins and false understandings are in purgatory, paying for their deviations from God, the truth. Once reconciled with God, the truth, the become at peace, and their souls do as well. It's deviation from God, or sin, that makes us ashamed, confused, or blind to certain things due to pride, etc. As proverbs states, where there is strife, pride exists. As we know where there is peace, confidence exists. It is in following the biblical principles and the leading of the Spirit to have God's will, that we find Peace and Joy as the good book describes. Later generations see with greater insight of the impact of all of our sins overtime, so does the scriptures regarding that we come to full understanding of the impact we had, as so we can also with greater hindsight do today. Scripture applies to our lives practically, and it is through the understanding that it is for practical use and application, hence good for instruction, that we can become free of the bondage that sin offers us. Heaven, to us, has nothing to do with how much money we have, etc. It is merely if we are trapped into focusing on the things of the flesh and earth, or whether or not we are addressing things that come our way per the principles God laid out. Deviation from such principles, will ultimately lead us from peace and Joy. Hence, there is nothing we cannot handle while also with God, and being okay with whatever His way might be for us, being content in all things, thankful at all times, and letting His will be done. Thus, as we fight with any parent to get our way and try to control Him over letting Him lovingly guide us, then we end up having a rough time. However, upon listening and obeying, we always find praise and joy to be found, not shame. This is how our fruit, children, pass down who we are. Judge lest ye be judged, condemn lest ye be condemned, is a practical point that the moment you judge someone or condemn them even in a simple conversation, that they immediately react the same way typically towards you, and this is how all fights/arguments break out. More will come in the next letter.
I did not write this last part, and the author is unknown:
Scripture alone disproves bible alone
- Scripture Alone Disproves "Scripture Alone"
Gen. to Rev. - Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God's Word. Scripture also mandates the use of tradition. This fact alone disproves sola Scriptura.
Matt. 28:20 - "observe ALL I have commanded," but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. This disproves "Bible alone" theology.
Mark 16:15 - Jesus commands the apostles to "preach," not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. There is no evidence in the Bible or elsewhere that Jesus intended the Bible to be sole authority of the Christian faith.
Luke 1:1-4 - Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they "realize the certainty of the teachings you have received." Luke writes to verify the oral tradition they already received.
Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 - these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us.
Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures.
Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God.
1 Cor. 5:9-11 - this verse shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul is again appealing to a source outside of Scripture to teach the Corinthians. This disproves Scripture alone.
Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. There is nothing ever about obeying Scripture alone.
Col. 4:16 - this verse shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul once again appeals to a source outside of the Bible to teach about the Word of God.
1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us..” How can the Bible be teaching first century Christians that only the Bible is their infallible source of teaching if, at the same time, oral revelation was being given to them as well? Protestants can’t claim that there is one authority (Bible) while allowing two sources of authority (Bible and oral revelation).
2 Thess. 2:15 - the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say "letter alone." The Catholic Church has the fullness of the Christian faith through its rich traditions of Scripture, oral tradition and teaching authority (or Magisterium).
2 Thess 3:6 - Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition. There is no instruction in the Scriptures about obeying the Bible alone (the word "Bible" is not even in the Bible).
2 Tim. 2:2 - Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations, but he says nothing about all apostolic traditions being eventually committed to the Bible.
2 Tim. 3:14 - continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. Again, this refers to tradition which is found outside of the Bible.
James 4:5 - James even appeals to Scripture outside of the Old Testament canon ("He yearns jealously over the spirit which He has made...")
2 Peter 1:20 - interpreting Scripture is not a matter of one's own private interpretation. Therefore, it must be a matter of "public" interpretation of the Church. The Divine Word needs a Divine Interpreter. Private judgment leads to divisions, and this is why there are 30,000 different Protestant denominations.
2 Peter 3:15-16 - Peter says Paul's letters are inspired, but not all his letters are in the New Testament canon. See, for example, 1 Cor. 5:9-10; Col. 4:16. Also, Peter's use of the word "ignorant" means unschooled, which presupposes the requirement of oral apostolic instruction that comes from the Church.
2 Peter 3:16 - the Scriptures are difficult to understand and can be distorted by the ignorant to their destruction. God did not guarantee the Holy Spirit would lead each of us to infallibly interpret the Scriptures. But this is what Protestants must argue in order to support their doctrine of sola Scriptura. History and countless divisions in Protestantism disprove it.
1 Sam. 3:1-9 - for example, the Lord speaks to Samuel, but Samuel doesn't recognize it is God. The Word of God is not self-attesting.
1 Kings 13:1-32 - in this story, we see that a man can't discern between God's word (the commandment "don't eat") and a prophet's erroneous word (that God had rescinded his commandment "don't eat"). The words of the Bible, in spite of what many Protestants must argue, are not always clear and understandable. This is why there are 30,000 different Protestant churches and one Holy Catholic Church.
Gen. to Rev. - Protestants must admit that knowing what books belong in the Bible is necessary for our salvation. However, because the Bible has no "inspired contents page," you must look outside the Bible to see how its books were selected. This destroys the sola Scriptura theory. The canon of Scripture is a Revelation from God which is necessary for our salvation, and which comes from outside the Bible. Instead, this Revelation was given by God to the Catholic Church, the pinnacle and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
About the Author
Keith serves as a support to global serial entrepreneurs. He specializes in business consulting in strategy and intelligence, but also has vast experience in other areas of expertise. Keith started studying Christian Apologetics as a way back into the faith in 2006 and has been teaching since 2010. His studies have been with a focus on the practical application of scripture, and the division of churches, teams, families, other groups. He came back to the Catholic Church in April 2017, and chose the Saint name Paul, in honor of how he and Paul similarly learned the practical application of faith principles. You can learn more about Keith on his LinkedIn profile: http://linkedin.com/