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Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)

The underlying idea behind the protestant reformation is the idea that the bible alone is the only rule of faith. The bible does not support this belief.
Also see Same book? and On Bible Translations
Not everything is in the Bible Jn 21:25
Paul speaks of oral tradition as authoritative 2 Thess 2:15; 2 Tim 2:2; 1 Cor 11:2; 1 Thess 2:13
Early Christians followed apostolic tradition Acts 2:42
Specific references where Jesus speaks or is quoted as revealing truth which is not in Scripture Matt 2:23; Acts 20:35; James 4:5
The great commission by Christ was to preach not to write Matt 28:19; 20

Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Martin Luther, wanting to avoid the responsibility of doing good works, promoted the idea of faith alone as a means of salvation. The Church has always taught that faith, hope, and love (charity) are required for salvation. The only time the expression "faith alone" is mentioned in the bible is in James 2:24, where the author says Abraham was NOT saved by faith alone.

What good is faith without works? Jas 2:14-26
Must avoid sinHeb 10:26
"Earning" forgiveness Jas 5:20
Must do will of GodLk 6:46; Mt 7:21; Mt 19:16-21; 1Tim 5:8
Paul disciplines himself to avoid losing salvation 1Cor 9:27
Works have meritPhil 2:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:6; Mt 25:32-46; Gal 6:6-10
Keep commandments1Jn 2:3-4; 1Jn 3:24; 1Jn 5:3

Deuterocanonicals (The Protestant "Apocrypha")

See Deuterocanonical books for a brief history of these books.

Deuterocanonicals were used in New Testament:
2 Mac 6:18-7:42Heb 11:35
Wisdom 3:5-61 Pet 1:6-7
Wisdom 13:1-9Rom 1:18-32

Septuagint (Greek, w/ Deuterocanonicals) version of Old Testament quoted in New Testament, noticeably different from Hebrew version:
Is 7:14Mt 1:23
Is 40:3Mt 3:3
Joel 2:30-31Acts 2:19-29
Ps 95:7-9Heb 3:7-9

Baptism of Infants

Suggests baptism of all, entire household including children Acts 2:38-39; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; 1 Cor 1:16
Necessity of baptismJn 3:5
Circumcision (normally performed on infants) replaced by baptism Col 2:11-12


"It is easier to believe that God made one person infallible than to believe that he made fifty-one out of every one hundred infallible." -- G. K. Chesterton
Also see The Early Church and the Papacy
Peter always mentioned first, as foremost apostle Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13; Lk 9:32
Peter speaks for the apostlesMt 18:21; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69
Pentecost: Peter who first preached Acts 2:14-40
Peter worked first healingActs 3:6-7
Gentiles to be baptized revealed to Peter Acts 10:46-48
Simon is Cephas (Aramaic: Kepha for rock) Jn 1:42
"on this Rock I will build my Church; Peter given keys to Kingdom; Given power to bind and loose" Mt 16:18-19
Keys as symbol of authorityIs 22:22; Rev 1:18
"feed my sheep" Jn 21:17
"Simon strengthen your brethren" Lk 22:31-32
"Vicars" of Christ Lk 10:1-2; 16; Jn 13:20; 2 Cor 5:20; Gal 4:14; Acts 5:1-5
The Seat of Moses as teaching authority Matt 23-2
Built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets Eph. 2:20

Brothers of Jesus?

Traditional Christianity held that Jesus is Mary's only son. The references to Jesus' brothers refers to other family members, and in some cases to his disciples.


"The saint is one so attuned to the spirit and heart of Christ that he is compelled to answer the demands of love by a love that matches that of Christ." Thomas Merton
Not God of the dead, but of the living Mk 12:26-27
Body of Christ 1 Cor 12:25-27; Rom 12:4-5
Intercessory prayerEph 6:18; Rom 15:30; Col 4:3; 1 Thess 1:11
Veneration of angels united with God Mt 18:10; Jos 5:14; Dan 8:17; Tobit 12:16
Saints also united with God1 Cor 13:12; 1 John 3:2
Deceased Onias and Jeremiah interceded for Jews 2 Mac 15:11-16
Moses and Samuel's intercession Jer 15:1
The Saints rose at the Resurrection and wandered around Jerusalem Eph 2:19; Matt 27:52
The warning is not to communicate with the Dead, Saints are not dead they are alive as all are alive to God Deut. 18:10
The Tranfiguration, were Moses and Elijah dead? Matt 17, & Mark 9


God commands images to be made Ex 25:18-22; Num 21:8-9
Solomon builds his temple with statues and images 1 Kings 6:23-29; 35; 7:29

The Early Church on the Papacy

Often people argue that there is no historical precedent for the primacy of Peter and the papacy. Here are some short quotes showing what the early Christians believed about the papacy.

Clement of Alexandria

"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the pre-eminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? `Behold, we have left all and have followed you'" [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28] (Who Is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3-5 [A.D. 200]).


"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]).


"[T]he Lord said to Peter, 'On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven' [Matt. 16:18-19] . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you shall have bound or you shall have loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed" (Modesty 21:9-10 [A.D. 220]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: 'I say to you,' he says, 'that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . .' Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

Pope Damasus I

"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ' [Matt. 16:18-19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

St. Jerome

"'But,' you [Jovinian] will say, 'it was on Peter that the Church was founded' [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

St. Jerome

"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).

Pope Innocent I

"In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope], and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the Apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged" (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).


"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear 'I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).


"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is 'I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ's enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415])


"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).

Council of Ephesus

"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: 'We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you . . . you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessednesses is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the Apostles, is blessed Peter the Apostle'" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).

Are you saved?

Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1Cor 10:12

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