Presuppositions on the Church

  1. Christ established a physical, visible body of believers.  While there is a mystical element to it and perhaps even an “invisible” one (though it is best not to speak of that at all), it is primarily physical.
  2. While the Church is not a continuation of the Incarnation, per se, it cannot be separated from it.  To separate Church from Incarnation is to divide the Body of Christ, which is Nestorianism.
  3. Christ did not give a “Bible” to the Church when he founded it, but rather the fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  4. If Christ only established the Church once, and all sides agree he gave order for its maintenance, which would be the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2), and if the Church is visible and physical (Premise 1), then there has to be a visible leadership and a visible continuation.
  5. Is the Church infallible?  This is almost always used as a late Western mode of thinking.  What is infallibility?  The ability to non-err in speaking and authority.  However, the locus of an institution/person/object’s infallibility is always outside that institution.  This is where infallibility arguments become self-eating.   To prove one’s highest authority one must reason only in terms of that highest authority (cf Wittengenstein, Greg Bahnsen).  For to prove one’s highest authority by something other than one’s highest authority is to create a new highest authority.

    On this line of reasoning, then, one immediately sees how difficult “proving the Bible” to be self-attesting et al really is.  You cannot prove the Bible, especially justifying its contents, simply by using the Bible (e.g., the canon of books).   Does this same line of reasoning hold true for the Church?  Many Roman Catholic apologists argue in precisely this way, and the same arguments would apply to them.

    Is there another way?  As one might have noticed, the above illustrates the difficulty with “Tradition vs. Scripture,” for both sides have an element of truth to them.   The Roman does elevate Tradition alongside Scripture and has a hard time explaining why the former doesn’t always trump the latter.   The Protestant can’t prove Scripture without tradition and thus has a hard time justifying his ultimate authority.

    But most the two be in tension with one another?   It is more helpful to see tradition as the ministry of the Holy Spirit within the Church, and to see the Bible as a subset of Tradition.  This puts the Bible where it should be:  as an icon of Christ pointing to Christ.  There is no longer a duality of Scripture and Tradition, but rather one harmonious whole.

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One comment on “Presuppositions on the Church

  1. Nathan says:

    You sound like someone who would enjoy Narnia Invaded in the latest Touchstone Mag.

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