James White’s most popular argument against (mainly) Catholic arguments for tradition (and positively: Protestant arguments for sola scriptura) is that 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says that “the scriptures” are “God-breathed” (theogneustos). It does not say that tradition is “god-breathed;” ergo, Scripture is superior to Tradition.
Several problems with this argument:
- It is a rather bald example of the argument from silence fallacy.
- If the argument stands, it proves too much and refutes the Protestant case. “Theogneustos” only qualifies the Scriptures that Timothy knew from childhood, which is the Old Testament scriptures. Therefore, if the argument stands the Protestant must abandon the New Testament canon as uninspired. If the Protestant says that the NT is also “theogneustos,” he is assuming what he is trying to prove.
- Interestingly, this is another example of oppositions in Western culture: Scripture against Tradition (the NIV translation is probably the best and most crass example).