This begins a series of posts showing that Roman Catholicism denies the sufficiency of both the person and work of Jesus Christ. Throughout this series of posts and in plain language I want to show how Rome’s sacramentalism and unbiblical tradition are built on the foundation of Christ’s work being insufficient.
For starters, I want to show that the Word of Christ (the Bible) is insufficient according to Rome, thus they add to it both tradition and the magisterium.
The underpinnings of the 16th century reformation was the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the formal principle. This doctrine states that all truth necessary for both salvation and godliness is to be found in Scripture. It is the understanding that Scripture is sufficient and contains all the revelation God has provided to His church. Though the believer may find other sources like commentaries, historical theology, the writings of the church fathers and so on to be tremendously helpful in his study, the sole authority is the Bible.
Rome denies this blessed doctrine of Sola Scriptura, unashamedly so. The Bible has been relegated to one of three legs on he stool. Roman Catholicism teaches that in addition to the Scriptures, the church has been provided tradition and the magisterium. The traditions are taught as being those unwritten and orally transmitted traditions from the early apostles. The magisterium is the teaching authority of the church. It is the magisterium that is the “prime, God-given means of finding the truth” according to William G. Most. He also states this regarding where the church’s final authority rests, “Now in Catholic theology, the correct method is to study the sources of revelation, but then give the final word to the Church.” Thus, the Bible becomes subordinate to oral traditions and the magisterium, what you might call Sola Ecclesia.
Is this three-legged stool the apostles doctrine of Acts 2:42? Did the apostle Paul consider himself to be a part of the magisterium in the first century? Are Rome’s oral traditions θεόπνευστος (2 Timothy 3:16), God-breathed? Are these authorities a part of the Gospel that Paul preached (Galatians 1:8-9)? These are the questions every reader of this post (and future posts in this series) should consider and answer.