Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 13 - Interpretive Authority

Page 95: At the root of the endemic divisions within Protestantism lies the absence (and by definition, the impossibility) of an interpretive authority for Scripture above that of the individual Christian. Protestants cannot accept that any person or group has this power, because the Bible itself has to be the ultimate authority. Ideally, Protestants would be united in their interpretation of the Bible; but as we have seen, from the beginning of Protestantism this has not been the case. This lack of unity leads inevitably to the principle of private judgment, which makes each believer’s interpretation will be at least partly wrong, because no believer is infallible.
Note: God gave individuals to help Christians grow in the Christian faith through love.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16.
Note: Abiding in Jesus Christ will help eliminate false doctrines by deceitful men.

Pages 95-96: A valid question to ask a Protestant is: How do you know that your interpretation of the Bible is correct, against the (perhaps contradictory) interpretation of any other Protestant? The short answer is, he doesn’t know for sure. And he would probably consider it dangerously cult-like to claim otherwise. But why would the Holy Spirit guide different Christians to different interpretations?
Note: Christians should interpret Scriptures in context comparing like verses.
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15.
Note: Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ or a “magisterium”?

Page 97: The solution proposed by most Protestants is that sin or human depravity causes even Spirit-guided Christians to misunderstand God’s Word. But, as we have seen, they argue that since most Protestants have come to generally similar beliefs on most important issues, the Holy Spirit has managed to create a basic consensus amid the confusion. Imagine many arrows being shot at a target. Though the archers may not have perfect aim, the Spirit corrects their shots in mid-flight and they mostly cluster around the target. We’re resigned to personal interpretation, and that interpretation will be fallible, but God makes sure that together we get the big questions right in the end.
Note: False interpretations have been a problem from the beginning for Christians.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14.
Note: Abiding in Jesus Christ will help eliminate false doctrines by deceitful men.

Page 98: We can’t put the Bible on the witness stand and tell it to give us the whole truth and nothing but. In Protestantism, who is that “someone” who reads and interprets the Bible with authority? Mathison says it’s “the Church.” And “the Church” is found wherever the gospel is accurately proclaimed. But Protestants determine the meaning of the gospel through their own (fallible) personal interpretations of Scripture, creating a circular argument: The Church has authority over the individual to interpret Scripture, and you find the Church by first finding the gospel, but you find the gospel through individual interpretation of Scripture. And since all Protestants concede the fallibility of their interpretations, the whole scheme is built on thin air and must come crashing down.
Note: The exercise of authority by Christians over Christians spiritually is ungodly.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28.

Page 99: A Catholic can certainly agree that, regardless of whether an infallible interpreter exists, having an inerrant book is better than having an error-filled book. An infallible interpreter, one that can be asked questions and that can clarify its statements, is far superior – especially when dealing with passages of Scripture that produce conflicting interpretations. And that is exactly what we have in the Catholic magisterium.
Note: The Catholic magisterium has changed like shifting sands over time.
The debate concerning the Magisterium, papal primacy and infallibility, and the authority to teach in general has not lessened since the official declaration of the doctrines. Instead, the Church has faced contrary arguments; at one end there are those with the tendency to regard even technically non-binding papal encyclicals as infallible statements and, at the other, are those who refuse to accept in any sense controversial encyclicals such as Humanae Vitae and who consider the dogma of papal infallibility to be itself a fallible pronouncement. The situation is complicated by changing attitudes toward authority in an increasingly democratic world, the new importance placed on academic freedom, and new means of knowledge and communication. In addition, the authority of theologians is being revisited, with theologians pushing past the structures laid out for them by Pius XII and Paul VI and regarding themselves purely as academics, not in the service of any institution. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 99: Christ founded the Church, established the apostles as its rightful leaders, and promised to send his Spirit to guide them until his return. Even in the first century we see the apostles acting with authority, interpreting Scripture and binding the faithful to their decisions. Only if they had been established by divine authority would they have the right to do this; the New Testament records that they did have that right. This magisterium is found today in the Catholic Church, having continually exercised the authority Christ gave it. Since the Church is fully protected from error by the power and grace of God, the faithful can fully assent to it, trusting that it accurately teaches God’s saving truth.
Note: The Apostle Paul chose not to exercise authority over Christians.
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9.
Note: The exercise of authority by Christians over Christians spiritually is ungodly.