The Roman Catholic Church began an aggressive AD campaign a few weeks ago. The goal is two-fold. First, they desire to get Catholics who are non-practicing to become active in their local parish. Second, they desire to reach non-Catholics and convert them to the Roman Catholic faith. As a stated in a previous post the AD is well-made and the website connected with the AD campaign is also very well made.
In the first post in the series our attention was focused on the claims of societal impact the AD touted. We agreed that the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in many activities that have helped numerous people. Our argument, though, was that this alone does not make the Roman Catholic Church worthy of support (read the rest here). In this post I want to focus on the claim made by the AD that the Roman Catholic Church gave us the Bible.
Did the Catholic Church give us the Bible?
The AD states the Roman Catholic Church gave us the Bible. This has long been a claim of the Roman Catholic Church. Without them, they argue, then we would not have the Scriptures today. Allow me state why I believe this claim is inaccurate.
First, let’s remember that well over half of our Scripture was written and collected long before any Christian church was established. What we call the Old Testament today was written and collected before Jesus walked the earth. In fact, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament and recognizes the collection of the 39 books we have today as being from God.
Second, historically speaking the Scriptures were given to us before the Roman Catholic Church existed. While the Roman Catholic Church claims to be the church “established by Jesus.” This is just not the case. (In our next post I will explain why). The Bible was collected before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence. Therefore, they could not have given us the Bible.
Third, the Bible that we have was determined by God not man. God determined what books would be in the Bible. He did this by inspiring certain men. These men, inspired by the Spirit, wrote the very message of God down (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). A book, therefore, only became a part of the Bible because it was inspired by God. Man did have a role in the process. Man had a role in the writing of the letters, gospels, and accounts of Scripture and man had a role in recognizing what God had inspired.
However, there is a difference between determining and recognizing. Determining puts the authority behind Scripture based upon what men have decided. This is what the view of the Roman Catholic Church leads to, which fits within their dogma concerning the importance of Church Tradition and the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is specially lead by the Holy Spirit. Recognition, on the other hand, puts the authority of Scripture squarely in the hands of God. It states man does not determine which books were inspired by God, rather we recognize those book God inspired as being authoritative.
The claim that the Roman Catholic Church gave us the Bible falls once more closely examined. It falls because historically the Old Testament, which composes more than half of God’s Revelation to man is prior to any Christian church. It falls because the Bible was written and collected before the Roman Catholic Church was established. Finally, it falls because no man determines the Bible, rather men recognize as authoritative what God has inspired.