What truths do we find in Romanism and how do we apply them? (continued)
4. Church tradition is important in understanding our faith, growing our faith, and expanding our understanding of the Scriptures.
While they are not in any way an authority or replacement for the Holy Scriptures themselves, the creeds, confessions, catechisms, and declarations given by various councils throughout the church age have been and should continue to be revered as important. While it is necessary to check them all against Scripture for truth and accuracy, it is important to recognize the work of those in the faith that have gone before us in order to defend the faith and to declare the truth of the word of God.
Many of these “traditional items” share the results of countless hours of study and reveal the truth of Scriptures harmoniously spread throughout the Bible into individual statements and declarations. They do not take away from the Scriptures or take authority over the Scriptures, but they do help in clarifying the position in which one stands when they claim to be “a Christian”. However, many Christians today don’t know the context of most of these creeds, confessions, catechisms, or declarations. It is something that is truly missing in our discipleship process in the Church today.
Maybe the most important reason these items should be considered essential to our walk as believers and to our discipleship process is to battle the extremely opposite position from that of the RCC’s position of papal interpretation. That is the position of “my bible and me” and the misunderstanding of the idea of the “priesthood of all believers.” Both can have major issues if not properly corralled into healthy understanding and wisdom from the scriptures.
The “my Bible and me” approach to studying and understanding Scripture is obviously contrary to the teaching we find in the word of God. It goes against the necessity that the Scriptures place on us to teach and preach and admonish one another in the word. The confessions, creeds, catechisms, and councils help us recognize how the Scriptures have been understood historically to help guide us in rightly dividing the word.
The “priesthood of all believers” has been understood throughout history in the Church and the Scriptures alike to be a calling out of those claiming to have faith to be in service to the Church, to the Scriptures, and to the lost. This is evidenced in the way we are to intercede for one another with prayer, teach and preach the word of God to one another for growth and discipleship, and proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world for salvation and bringing into the fold and submission to God.
The “priesthood of all believers” is not and was never intended to be understood as a position of authority or individualism of believers. It was always meant as a plurality of believers under and serving the priesthood of our one true High Priest and Savior Yeshua. It was also never intended as a positional reckoning for which to argue the authority of church leaders set over us.
5. There is a standard concerning the word of God. However, that is not determined by church authority, rather, it is determined by the original texts which God inspired.
We need to set aside the idea that we have the authority to determine which Bible another can read and only take a stance against versions or translations which are known and proven to pervert and distort the truth of the word of God. While we can have preference for which translation we read, we do not have the right to condemn or authorize any translation of the Scriptures. Only the original texts (or copies thereof) can determine the accuracy of truth concerning any book claiming to be God’s word. If it is aligned with the original, it is a valid text. If it violates the original in any way, it should be viewed as heresy and declared as such.
- In what ways can we recognize flaws in how Romanism views the Bible?
- How can we reveal truth to those who follow Romanism?
- In what ways do we find ourselves following or not following Romanism?
- How do we balance submission to the authority of the local church and submission to the authority of the Scriptures?
- What confessions, creeds, catechisms, and councils are you familiar with? What ways can we better use our church history to positively affect our understanding of Scripture and strengthen our faith?
There are several other topics we could discuss concerning the RCC and its theology, organization, and operation of the church which directly oppose the truth of God’s word. We could discuss papal tradition and authority, apostolic succession, veneration of the saints, a multitude of issues with Mary mother of Jesus, penance, purgatory, transubstantiation, faith plus works salvation, indulgences, and a continued list about a mile long. These and many other issues with the RCC are found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is trained and engrained in members at as early an age as possible. However, addressing all these points is not the purpose of this study. So, we will end our discussion here concerning this topic as we have achieved our goal of addressing the issues of Romanism and its view of the Scriptures.