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Origins of the Bible (letter)

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 Contents - Aug 2005AD2000 August 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Liturgy: opportunity for bishops to take control - Michael Gilchrsit
What the Church can teach the secular world - Archbishp Barry Hickey
News: The Church Around the World
Campus Life: Cardinal Pell's program for a Catholic culture at Sydney's universities - Stephen Lawrence
International poll underlines growing secularist challenge - Michael Gilchrist
Media: Our Lord's name: responding to media blasphemy - Andre Van Der Linden
Feminist translation: Inclusive language and the Trinity: the latest from Brisbane - Michael Apthorp
Benedict XVI's pontificate: the possibilities - Damian Thompson
London's Balham parish, 'an icon of liturgical hope' - Joanna Bogle
John Paul II: a Jewish appreciation
Anglican update: an orthodox fight-back - Fr Christopher Seton
Letters: Dissenter's manifesto (letter) - Imelda Aslett
Letters: Origins of the Bible (letter) - George Simpson
Letters: Lay-led liturgies (letters) - M.T. Kennedy
Letters: An Islamic Holland? (letter) - Henk Verhoeven
Letters: Sacrifice (letter) - M.A. Ross
Letters: Abortion breast cancer link (letter) - Dr Tim Coyle
Letters: Real Presence (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Small Catechisms available (letter) - Fr Edward P. Evans
Letters: Stem cells (letter) - Brian Harris
Letters: Government review of RE in State Schools (letter) - Maureen Federico
Letters: Brisbane Archbishop bans weekday Latin Mass (letter) - Tom King
Letters: The Mass (letter)
Letters: Appreciation from Nepal (letter)
Poetry: A Heavenly Surprise
Books: More Catholic Than the Pope, by Patrick Madrid and Pete Vere - Fr Glen Tattersal FSSP (reviewer)
Books: More Good Reading from AD Books
Reflection: How we will overcome the shortage of priests - Fr John O'Neill PP

In his excellent article "Why many Catholics join fundamentalist sects" (July AD2000), Dr Frank Mobbs mentions the belief of some that the Bible stands alone as the revelation of God's word.

Ignorance of the Bible's origin probably contributes to this false belief. In the early Church, there was no universally accepted collection of sacred writings into one book. Some writings were universally regarded as authentic and others were accepted in some places and rejected in others. Still others were almost universally rejected.

Pope St Siricius, therefore, called the Council of Carthage that, after careful and prayerful consideration, decided the canon of the Divine Scripture in 397AD. The deliberations relied heavily on Tradition, but more heavily on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Pope, as successor of St Peter, had to review this decision and make a final judgement. A second Council of Carthage was called in 419AD and it confirmed the conclusion of the previous one. This conclusion was presented to Pope St Boniface I, who proclaimed the Bible soon afterwards.

To accept the Bible, therefore, is to accept the authority of the Catholic Church. Any claim that the Bible is the sole source of Christ's teaching fails because:

1. The Bible itself is based on Tradition. There was no Bible for nearly the first four hundred years of Christianity.

2. The Bible states that it is not the sole source of Christ's teaching: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the whole world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John. 21:25). St Paul wrote: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle (2 Thess 2:14).

North Blackburn, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 7 (August 2005), p. 15

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