Sola Scriptura or Prima Scriptura?

Excerpts from

Sola Scriptura or Prima Scriptura?

(The Bible Alone or the Bible First?)

What Scripture Alone Testifies Concerning the Church as the Body of Christ Expressing Himself in Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium

The Biblical Basis for the Early Church’s Formal Repudiation of Heretics, Which Is the Biblical Basis for Refuting Modern Doctrinally Liberal Christianity Which Likewise Rejects or Doubts Traditional Christian Faith and Morality

Internet Edition 1.0


Peter William John Baptiste, SFO

Full Contents & Links to Published Excerpts

Forward (This section Published – click to go to the complete Forward)

Christian Unity in Diversity in the Early Church and How Much Still Exists Today:
Acknowledging the Vast Common Christian Faith Shared by (Western) Protestant/Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox and (Eastern and Western) Catholic Christians Before Discussing this Area of Difference, for the Sake of the Loving Christian Witness to the Unbelieving World (John 13:35, John 17:21-23).  We Must Always Acknowledge Our Vast Common Ground Before Discussing Our Differences

  • Jesus’ Prayer for Christians Obligates Us to Seek Unity in Love with Each Other So That the World May See Jesus in Us
  • The Traditional Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy in Which We Are Already United
  • The Nature of Christian Unity of Faith in Diversity of Faith Expressions in the Undivided Early Christian Church of the 1st Millennium
  • The Early 2nd Millennium Challenges to Christian Unity in Diversity Which Were Overcome in the 1439 17th Ecumenical Council
  • The 1453 Muslim Conquest of the East and the 1472 Forced Separation of East and West, Ultimately Destroying the 1st Millennium Christian Unity in Diversity
  • The Early Church-like Christian Unity in Diversity Which Still Exists Today Despite Our 2nd Millennium Divisions and the Importance of Developing it Further
  • This Essay on One of Our Few Significant Differences is Offered to Aid Mutual Understanding in Christian Brotherly Love

Introduction to Sola Scriptura or Prima Scriptura? (This Section Published in this and the following links)

  • Overview of this Book: The Body of Christ and “Tradition and Magisterium” Scriptures as the Early Church Understood Them Are the Best (And Only Long Term) Defense Against Doctrinal Liberalism and Heresy

Sacred Tradition Is the Bride of Christ Dancing with Him Throughout History. Scripture and Tradition Are So Interdependent That the Bible Might Be Regarded as “Tradition Written Down” and Tradition Might Be Regarded as “The Bible as Lived in Christian History.” Tradition Is the Life of the Living Body of Christ the Church Passed on Through History (Including the Orthodox Interpretation of the Scriptures)

The Magisterium (Teaching Office) – the Apostolic Authority to Settle Christian Disputes over Interpretation Passed on in the Living Body of Christ the Church in Order to Preserve the Original (often originally less explicit) Sense of the Apostolic, Orthodox Interpretation of the Scriptures through All the Changes and Developments of History. Officially Clarifying Interdependent Scripture and Tradition (and Part of How the Tradition is Passed on Ever-more Precisely), the Magisterium is the Only Reason There is a Standard Christology of Jesus as Fully God and Fully Man at All (This Formula is Not from the Bible Alone), and that There is a Fixed 27-book Canon of the New Testament at All. The Magisterium of Ordained Overseers at the Early Councils, Including the Patriarchs and the Chief Overseer the Pope, Following the Holy-Spirit-Guided Acts 15 Council Example, Gradually Settled a Series of Major Christian Disputes About Just How the Bible MUST be Interpreted in Order to Correctly Describe their Relationship with Jesus the Living Word as Passed on in the Church Since Apostolic Times (325-451 AD), and These Overseers Fixed the Canon of the New Testament Between 367-405 AD.

  • The Magisterium Was Necessary In the Early Church to Precisely Define the Common Essentials of Christian Orthodoxy against the Many Early Heretical Interpretations of the Bible Alone
  • The Composition of the Magisterium of Ordained Overseers (Local Bishops or Eparchs; Metropolitan Archbishops; Patriarchs of Entire Eastern and Western Sister Churches; and Popes advised by Cardinals)
  • The Pope – the Head of the Magisterial College of Christian Overseers/Bishops Who Succeeded the Apostles, and Integral to the Historical Process of the Living Body of Christ the Church Clearly Defining and Declaring the Fundamentals of its Saving Faith
  • Final Considerations of Just What the Magisterium Is and Does In Support of Sacred Scripture

Closer Than We Think: Catholic Prima Scriptura in Relation to Protestant Sola Scriptura: The Bible First though Not Alone (The Bible First, Supported by the Living Tradition and Living Magisterium of the Living Body of Christ the Church which Guards the Apostolic Interpretation of the Bible Through All the Challenges of History)

How Scriptural Testimony Is Used: Finding Biblical Principles

The Testimony of the Scriptures and the Principles Which Follow

[This main part of the essay is not yet published on this website.  Its subsections are listed below]

Scriptural Testimony Part I:  Scripture’s Witness to Tradition

Biblical Principle: Authoritative Apostolic New Covenant Oral Tradition Exists Alongside Written Scripture.

Biblical Principle: Authoritative Old Covenant Oral Tradition Exists Alongside Written Scripture.

Biblical Principle: God Himself Approves of Authoritative Oral Tradition and Magisterial Authority.

Conclusion of Part I: Scripture’s Witness to Tradition

Scriptural Testimony Part II:  Scripture’s Witness to Magisterium

Biblical Principle: Apostolic Magisterial (Teaching) Authority Is Guided by the Holy Spirit into All Truth (John 16:13)

Biblical Principle: Apostolic Authority Is Passed on to the Overseer/Bishop/Eparchs in an Apostolic Succession Which Is Guided by the Holy Spirit.

Biblical Principle:  There is a Pinnacle of Apostolic Authority in Peter, the Chief Apostle.

  • The Scriptures Clearly Testify Peter was the Chief Apostle
  • The Scriptures Testify the Chief Apostle Is Given Authority Greater than That of the Other Apostles
  • Peter, Cephas, Kepha (Rock) – The Office of the Rock on Which Jesus’ Church is Built
  • The Biblical Significance of the Keys which Jesus Gave to Peter
  • Protestant Concerns about the Magisterial Church Offices (Especially the Petrine Office of the Papacy) and Why They Are Unfounded
  • The Secondary Doctrines (Especially Marian Doctrines) the Papacy Has Supported Do Not Compromise the Common Christian Fundamentals as Protestants Fear;
  • “Papal Infallibility” Does Not Mean What Protestants Fear it Means: the Pope Instead Is Accountable to Uphold and Defend the Traditional Christian Scriptures and Fundamentals Against All Challenges Throughout History and Infallibility Helps Him Do This

Biblical Principle: Spirit-Guided Apostolic Authority is Collegiate and Hierarchical while Scripture’s Authority is that of an Authoritative Witness

Biblical Principle: God-Given Authority is Legitimate Regardless of the Personal Human Character of Leaders, Even If They Are Sinful.

Biblical Principle: The Church, the Living Body of Christ, Is “the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), Not the Scriptures, Which Are Subject to Misinterpretation without the Church – Such That “No Prophecy of Scripture Is a Matter of Private Interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20)

Conclusion of Part II:  Scripture’s Witness to Magisterium – A Scriptural Reflection Upon The Mystery of Christ and His Bride and Body the Church (Ephesians 5:32)

Principles Which Do Not Follow from the Testimony of the Scriptures

The Principles Regarding Authority and Scripture Which Consciously or Unconsciously Underlie All Protestantism as a Basic Foundation Cannot Be Drawn from Scripture Alone

The Canon of Scripture Itself Cannot Be Drawn from Scripture Alone, but Is a Product of the Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Living Body of Christ the Church

  • The Formation of the New Testament Canon
  • The Formation of the Old Testament Canon


Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium Together Within the Body of Christ the Church Is the Complete and Integrated Testimony of the Scriptures Alone Regarding the Authoritative Sources of the Christian Faith – Recognizing Anything Less Leads Ultimately to Heresy or Doctrinal Liberalism

Appendix I:  Uncertain or Unorthodox Liberal Protestant Christianity Is the Mature Flowering and Natural, Logical Result of the Protestant Doctrine of Scripture Alone

  • “Scripture Alone” Describes the General Approach to the Scriptures of the Early Heretics
  • Luther, the Protestant Reformers, and Today’s Conservative Protestant Christians All Rely Unconsciously upon the Catholic Sacred Tradition They Were Raised with When They Interpret the Bible in Orthodox Manner – When this Catholic Interpretive Tradition Is Consciously Recognized, and Rejected as Authoritative in Conformity with Protestant “Scripture Alone” Doctrine, Liberal Protestantism Results
  • The “Hermeneutic of Faith” – The Bible Cannot Be Properly and Consistently Interpreted Except within the Context of the Prior Living Faith of the Still-Living Body of Christ the Church Which Produced, Collected, and Canonized the Bible
  • Any “Bible Before Body of Christ the Church” Approach Results in Multiple Contradictory Interpretations, as in the Early Heresies, Liberal Protestantism, and Conservative Protestantism’s Huge Inconsistency in Secondary Doctrines
  • Putting the Body of Christ the Church First Yields Consistency and Certainty about Traditional Fundamental Christian Orthodoxy and New Testament Canon; Putting the Bible First Ultimately Yields No Certainty of Any Kind

Appendix II:  The Dismembering of the Canon of Scripture by More Extreme Liberal Protestant Christians Today Is Also Naturally Protestant

  • Protestant Christians Who Reject Portions of the Bible as Inspired or Authoritative Are Following Luther’s Example with James Which Directly Contradicts Luther’s Doctrine of Justification (“Faith Alone”)
  • Both Conservative and Liberal Protestant Theology and Doctrine, Following Luther’s Example, Generally Selectively “Proof-text” Instead of Seeking Any Serious Synthesis of the Entire Revealed Biblical Testimony
  • The Catholic Doctrine of Justification (“Grace Alone” Through “Faith Working in Love” [Galatians 5:6]) Is Much More Biblical, Synthesizing the Entire Revealed Biblical Testimony and Rejecting None as Authoritative as Did Luther
  • Catholic Theology and Doctrine Is Generally Much More Fully Biblical, and thus Much More Consistent,  than Protestant Theology and Doctrine

Appendix III:  Not Even Marital Monogamy Can Be Sustained as a Requirement of Christian Morality on the Basis of Scripture Alone(Luther Himself Conceded This and Allowed Phillip of Hesse to Polygamously Marry a Second Wife)

Appendix IV:  On the Meanings of the Terms “Christian,” “Catholic Christian,” “Protestant Christian” and Why “Doctrinally Conservative” Protestant Christians Are “Catholic at Heart” While “Doctrinally Liberal” Catholic Christians Are “Protestant at Heart”

  • Catholic Christians Believe in the Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy Because They Are the Biblical Interpretation of the Body of Christ the (Catholic) Church’s Sacred Tradition and Magisterium
  • Protestant Christians Do Not Necessarily Believe in the Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy Because Protestant “Scripture Alone” Doctrine Means the Biblical Interpretation of the (Catholic) Church’s Sacred Tradition and Magisterium Has No Authority
  • Thus Unorthodox Catholic Christians Are “In Name Only” Nominal Catholic Christians, While Unorthodox Protestant Christians Are True, Even the “Truest” Protestant Christians
  • Why “Doctrinally Liberal” Christians (Protestant or Catholic) Are “Protestant at Heart” and “Doctrinally Conservative” Christians (Catholic or Protestant) Are “Catholic at Heart”
  • “Catholic at Heart” Conservative and Evangelical Protestant Christians Who Currently Still Affirm the Traditional Christian Fundamental Biblical Interpretations of Catholic Sacred Tradition Are Still Vulnerable to Liberalism Because They Also Still Affirm That “Scripture Alone (Not Tradition) Is Authoritative”
  • Although the Christian Unity in Diversity on the Basis of Common Faith “For the World’s Sake” Promoted in the Forward Does Not Require Formal Church Reunification in the Ancient Catholic (Universal Christian) Communion of Sister Churches, Protestant/Evangelical Christians Would Gain Certain Long-term Protection Against Liberalism from Such Formal Reunification, and the Catholic Communion of Sister Churches Would Be Enriched by Their Presence


© Peter William John Baptiste SFO

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