Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How can the Church teach things not explicitly in Scripture?

Question- If purgatory isn’t explicitly biblical where does it come from and why do we believe it to be absolute truth?

Answer The Trinity is not explicitly biblical either. The idea that something has to be explicitly biblical came from Luther, because he didn't believe the Church was inspired the same way the Bible is. The problem is, the Bible was never written to teach us everything we could know about God, and the idea that everything would be in the Bible is not in the Bible, so it is actually self contradictory!

Catholics do not believe that all of revelation is explicitly in scripture. That would actually pose major problems- for example, where in scripture does it tell you which books belong in scripture? It doesn't- someone needed to decide that! (There were other books written about Jesus in the time of the apostles that did not make the cut, for example.) Because the Catholic Church is inspired, and can't make mistakes, it chose the books which are now in the Bible. By the time they did so- 300 years after Jesus- people were already arguing about stuff like the Trinity. However, it should be noted that stuff like purgatory and the honour of Mary and the true presence in the Eucharist were already well established!

So, in short-

The authority of the Bible does not make sense without the authority of the Church who gave us the Bible. The authority of the Church also taught us about purgatory.

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