Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #8: “Scripture Makes the Man of God Complete”

Today, we continue our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist continues his five-part section on Scripture and Tradition with this next chapter countering Protestants’ arguments against Catholicism’s “Sacred Traditions” by which Protestants argue that, “Scripture Makes the Man of God Complete.”

capture30

As we discussed last week, Catholics believe that their “Sacred Traditions” are as authoritative as the Bible. Evangelical Protestants believe only the Bible is authoritative; the principle of Sola Scriptura. Broussard states that Protestants use 2 Timothy 3:16-17 to defend their position;

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 

Broussard counters by arguing that the passage by itself doesn’t necessarily discount tradition. He agrees with the passage that, yes, Scripture is “profitable,” but not altogether sufficient. He devalues the word, “complete,” in this passage by using an analogy of a stamp collector seeking one specific stamp to “complete” her personal collection, although it’s understood that millions of unique stamps have been issued that are outside of her particular collection. Broussard then points out that Paul is necessarily referring to the Old Testament in his letter to Timothy because the New Testament had not been compiled when the epistle was written. He posits that Protestants are confounded in their own argument of Biblical exclusivity because they rightly accept the New Testament as authoritative in addition to the Old Testament Scripture that Paul is referring to.

God’s Word attests of itself that it is “God breathed” and divinely authoritative. Nowhere in the Bible do we find anything vindicating specious traditions as “God breathed” and equal to Scripture. As we discussed last week, the Pharisees had elevated their traditions (later to be collected as the Talmud) above Scripture, a practice which Jesus had condemned. Roman Catholicism has done the same with its “Sacred Tradition.” To Broussard’s point that Paul in the passage was referring only to the Old Testament, I would argue that the Holy Spirit, the divine Author of all Scripture, certainly had the entire Bible “in mind” when He inspired Paul to write this passage. The Bible attests of itself that Paul’s letters were inspired (2 Peter 3:15-16). Therefore, Timothy could be complete and equipped with the Old Testament Scripture he had available at the time, and the Lord has provided us in our era with the entire canon of Scripture so that we are able to be even more thoroughly equipped in doctrine. Praise God!

By untethering itself from the sole authority of Scripture, the Roman Catholic church has systematically introduced teachings and practices under the umbrella of “Sacred Tradition” that either defy or subordinate God’s Word. We’re all aware that most of the major cults appeal to an extra-Biblical source as an authority equal to Scripture (e.g., the Book of Mormon, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the writings of Ellen White, etc.), and Catholicism has done the same with its “Sacred Tradition.”

As with his previous section on Church Hierarchy and Authority, Broussard has as yet made no mention of how pope Francis and his allied progressive prelates are reforming various “Sacred Traditions” in defiance of the teachings of previous popes and prelates to the dismay and disdain of conservative and traditionalist Catholics. By demonstrating that Catholicism’s “Sacred Traditions” are not inviolable, Francis undermine’s Broussard’s and other Catholic apologists’ arguments that they are authoritative. Broussard unscrupulously conceals the current crisis within the RCC over Francis’ papacy to his readers.

Should Catholic tradition have equal or greater authority than the Bible? – Got Questions
https://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-tradition.html

Next up: “The Noble Bereans”

23 thoughts on “Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #8: “Scripture Makes the Man of God Complete”

  1. LOL at Broussard’s sophistry. Verse 17 of 2 Tim 3 says “that the man of God may be COMPETENT, equipped for EVERY good work”. If this isn’t plain enough to declare sufficiency, he should turn to his infallible guide……..ahem…Francis. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, SB! Yeah, Francis’ has stated that their conscience is all atheists needs to follow to merit Heaven so it’s difficult to understand why Broussard even bothers getting into these debates over authority.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The fathers contradicted each other and contradicted themselves even. But if there was one thing they were almost unanimous on, they had a very high view of Scripture. I am confident that they would be quick to rebuke Broussard on his claims.

    Athanasius (297-373): Therefore, since such an attempt is futile and a surplus of madness, let no one ask such questions any more, or else learn only what is in the Scriptures. For the symbols (paradeigmata, παραδείγματα) in the Scriptures which pertain to these questions are sufficient and adequate. Khaled Anatolios, Athanasius, Ad Serapion 1.19 (New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 217.

    Athanasius (297-373): Since, therefore, such an attempt is futile madness, nay, more than madness!, let no one ask such questions any more, or else let him learn only that which is in the Scriptures. For the illustrations (paradeigmata, παραδείγματα) they contain which bear upon this subject are sufficient and suitable. C. R. B. Shapland, trans., The Letters of Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit, Ad Serapion 1.19 (New York: The Philosophical Library, 1951), p. 108.

    Augustine (354-430): : However, if you inquire or recall to memory the opinion of our Ambrose, and also of our Cyprian, on the point in question, you will perhaps find that I also have not been without some whose footsteps I follow in that which I have maintained. At the same time, as I have said already, it is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place NPNF1, Vol. I, Letters of St. Augustine,, Letter LXXXII, Chapter 3, Sections 24–25, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, p. 799

    Augustine (354-430): : On such terms we might amuse ourselves without fear of offending each other in the field of Scripture, but I might well wonder if the amusement was not at my expense. For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writing I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the Ms. is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine. I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error. Far be such arrogance from that humble piety and just estimate of yourself which I know you to have, and without which assuredly you would not have said, “Would that I could receive your embrace, and that by converse we might aid each other in learning!” (NPNF1, Vol. 1, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter LXXXII, Chapter 1, Section 3). Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, p. 786

    Augustine (354-430): For the reasonings of any men whatsoever, even though they be Catholics, and of high reputation, are not to be treated by us in the same way as the canonical Scriptures are treated. We are at liberty, without doing any violence to the respect which these men deserve, to condemn and reject anything in their writings, if perchance we shall find that they have entertained opinions differing from that which others or we ourselves have, by the divine help, discovered to be the truth. I deal thus with the writings of others, and I wish my intelligent readers to deal thus with mine (NPNF1, Vol. I, Augustin, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter 148, Section 15). Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, p. 1076

    Augustine (354-430): : I do not want you to depend on my authority, so as to think that you must believe something because it is said by me; you should rest your belief either on the canonical Scriptures, if you do not see how true something is, or on the truth made manifest to you interiorly, so that you may see clearly (Fathers of the Church, Vol. 20, Saint Augustine Letters, Letter 147,Chapter 2, p. 171).

    Augustine (354-430): : This Mediator, having spoken what He judged sufficient first by the prophets, then by His own lips, and afterwards by the apostles, has besides produced the Scripture which is called canonical, which has paramount authority, and to which we yield assent in all matters of which we ought not to be ignorant, and yet cannot know of ourselves. NPNF1, Vol. 2, Augustin, City of God 11.3, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Pg 472

    Augustine (354-430): We do no injustice to Cyprian when we make a distinction between his epistles and the canonical authority of the divine Scriptures. Apart from the Sacred canonical Scriptures, we may freely pass judgment on the writings of believers and disbelievers alike…For that reason Cyprian’s epistles, which have no canonical authority must be judged according to their agreement with the authority of the divine writings. Thus we can accept from Cyprian only what agrees, and safely reject what does not agree, with Scripture. De Cresconium 2.39–40. Cited by A.D.R. Polman, The Word of God According to St. Augustine (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961), p. 65.

    Basil of Caesarea (Ad 329-379): You could find many passages of this sort in the writings of the evangelists and the Apostle. Now, then, if a command be given and the manner of carrying it out is not added, let us obey the Lord, who says: ‘Search the Scriptures.’ Let us follow the example of the Apostles who questioned the Lord Himself as to the interpretation of His words, and learn the true and salutary course from His words in another place. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 9, Ascetical Works, On Baptism, Book 2, §3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1950), p. 399.

    Basil of Caesarea (AD. 329-379): Rule Twenty–six: That every word and deed should be ratified by the testimony of the Holy Scripture to confirm the good and cause shame to the wicked. (Fathers of the Church, Vol. 9, Ascetical Works, The Morals, Rule 26, Cap. 22, pp. 106).

    Basil of Caesarea (Ad 329-379): They are charging me with innovation, and base their charge on my confession of three hypostases, and blame me for asserting one Goodness, one Power, one Godhead. In this they are not wide of the truth, for I do so assert. Their complaint is that their custom does not accept this, and that Scripture does not agree. What is my reply? I do not consider it fair that the custom which obtains among them should be regarded as a law and rule of orthodoxy. If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this, we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favour of that side will be cast the vote of truth. NPNF2: Vol. VIII, Letters, Letter 189 – To Eustathius the physician, §3.

    John Chrysostom (349-407): Verse 11. “For we which live are also delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in us in our mortal flesh.” For every where when he has said any thing obscure, he interprets himself again. So he has done here also, giving a clear interpretation of this which I have cited. ‘For therefore, “we are delivered,”’ he says, ‘in other words, we bear about His dying that the power of His life may be made manifest, who permitteth not mortal flesh, though undergoing so great sufferings, to be overcome by the snowstorm of these calamities.’ And it may be taken too in another way. How? As he says in another place, “If we die with him, we shall also live with Him.” (2 Timothy 2:11.) ‘For as we endure His dying now, and choose whilst living to die for His sake: so also will he choose, when we are dead, to beget us then unto life. For if we from life come into death, He also will from death lead us by the hand into life.’ NPNF1: Vol. XII, Homilies on Second Corinthians, Homily 9.

    John Chrysostom (349-407): Anyhow, in case by wanting to make a display of these people’s stupidity we, too, find ourselves induced to utter unseemly remarks, let’s have done with their folly and turn aside from such idiocy; let us follow the direction of Sacred Scripture in the interpretation it gives of itself, provided we don’t get completely absorbed with the concreteness of the words, but realize that our limitations are the reason for the concreteness of the language. Human senses, you see, would never be able to grasp what is said if they had not the benefit of such great considerateness. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 74, Homilies on Genesis 1-17, 13.8 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986), p. 172.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SB, thanks for the good references. Yes, if authority is placed in the hands of men untethered to Scripture (as happened with the RCC), then any and every doctrine can be claimed to be authoritative under the guise of orally transmitted “sacred tradition.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cyril of Jerusalem would definitely give Broussard a harsh rebuke:

    Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386): Have thou ever in thy mind this seal , which for the present has been lightly touched in my discourse, by way of summary, but shall be stated, should the Lord permit, to the best of my power with the proof from the Scriptures. For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. NPNF2: Vol. VII, Cyril of Jerusalem´s Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IV:17, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Pg 136-137

    Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386): Now do not fix your attention on any skill of language on my part, for perhaps you may be deceived; unless you get the testimony of the prophets on each point, do not believe what is said. Unless you learn from the Holy Scriptures regarding the Virgin, the place, the time, the manner, “do not receive the witness of man.” For one who is now present and teaches may be open to suspicion; but what man of sense will suspect him who prophesied a thousand years ago and more? If then you seek the reason for Christ’s coming, go back to the first book of the Scriptures. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 61, Catechesis XII.5 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, Inc., 1969), p. 229.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops, botched the formatting.

      Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386): Have thou ever in thy mind this seal , which for the present has been lightly touched in my discourse, by way of summary, but shall be stated, should the Lord permit, to the best of my power with the proof from the Scriptures. For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. NPNF2: Vol. VII, Cyril of Jerusalem´s Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IV:17, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Pg 136-137

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just landed here! For everyone else’s blog I’m three days behind. Thanks for the update for your job search. I am not going to pretend to know what you are going through. I only have seen in ministry how hard it is in this season. So know I am praying much brother for you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 👋🏻 Thanks for all your prayers, brother! I’ll just keep plugging along – and tone down the whining! Fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord are experiencing circumstances as challenging as this and more so. We actually do our best learning when we’re out of our comfort zone and the Lord has our full attention. Hey, I appreciate your reaching out when you’re behind on so many other blogs. Just don’t pull an all-nighter trying to catch up on all your reading. 🦉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s crazy he wrote this book in 2019 and yet these kind of arguments against scripture’s ultimate authority for the alternative of authority of the Magistrate in Rome is the exact crisis that Rome face today with this present pope, as you pointed out

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “To Broussard’s point that Paul in the passage was referring only to the Old Testament, I would argue that the Holy Spirit, the divine Author of all Scripture, certainly had the entire Bible “in mind” when He inspired Paul to write this passage.” Well said! Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s