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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Confessional Protestantism

A friend of mine sent me this email which I post here so it can be discussed amongst other people (should a few trickle in by chance):
 'To best understand where protestants are coming from, please take time to read their confessions - Augsburg & Concord also Heidelberg Cathechism/ Belgic Confession or the London Baptist/Westminster Confessions of faith. Interacting with modern day evangelical may be fruitless because most evangelicals are non-confessional. I know they are anti-catholic but one of their weakness is that they are non-confessional. I noticed that you a comfortable with evangelical protestants who became RC, however, my observation is that they are mostly non-confessional in background. That is, their upbringing did not include systematic cathechising and their churches did not conform to a confessional standard( by enlarge). As a test, ask a modern evangelical if they know the difference between Law and Gospel. Ask them what is justification and sanctification as understood by Lutheran & Reformed. If they tell you they are born-again that is good, that is the result of the gospel but I am sorry being born again is NOT the gospel we are called to preach. Most non-confessing evangelicals have a lot in common with RC except that they do not have the sacraments and no bells and incenses as well as saints. For example their view of man is the same as RC, man has a free will that can at any moment can turn to God if man so pleases. That free-will according to most evangelicals is sovereign , that is, God will never alter that will and will hold it in respect for the rest of eternity. For them man can create faith at any moment in time, it can decide to believe. This is quite intuitive but confessional protestant view it different that is why for them the preaching of the Law and Gospel is very important because that is how God creates faith.'
One of the realizations I've had in my interaction with Evangelicals was that they operated on a completely different paradigm, with its own ontology. I drew a diagram several months ago shortly after I realized this and came up with four levels : Scriptures > Reformer's Confession > Pastor > Evangelical. Strangely enough, it also applies to Reformed Protestants, except that the latter are more explicit about the confessions they follow. Evangelicals don't necessarily subscribe to this or that confession but are nonetheless heavily influenced by specific Reformers, e.g., Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, etc. Personally, as a Catholic, my faith system also involves four levels: Deposit of Faith > Tradition/Catechism > Bishop/priest > me. Deposit of Faith to a Catholic is the totality of what St. Paul tells us as traditions "by word or letter" which he tells us to hold fast to. Indeed a great mass of such traditions were eventually written down in what is our New Testament, but a great portion was not. As Rev. Henry Graham writes in Where We Got the Bible, the New Testament works were not meant to codify everything. The epistles in particular were written in response to specific situations -- exactly in the same way that dogmas of the Catholic Church are developed as the need arises. You may have seen this money quote before: "the dogma is the drama," apparently written by Dorothy Sayers. I've also seen, I believe, a variation of this as "the drama is in the dogma." I have to end right here, but I do expect some colorful reactions to my impressions on how faith systems of Evangelicals/Protestants and Catholics are layered in similar structures. How dare this Catholic upstart compares his papist faith system with that of the faithful Christians of Reformed/Evangelical confessions? Indeed I do, but I am only being honest in what I perceive.

14 comments:

L P Cruz said...
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L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

I do not know if the layers signify anything. It may be a good description.

In my blog I found it strange that the RCC has something in common with LDS in terms of authority and claims to church infallibility.

For the LDS it is like this
Angelic Revelation to J Smith> Book of Mormons > Mormon Prophets> LDS Member.

For Budhist it will be like this
The Budha > Traditional Teachings > Monk > Budhist.

With RCC, I am just puzzled why between tradition and scripture, tradition wins. For example, the imaculate conception of Mary or praying to Mary, scripture does not attest to this. I guess my point is that tradition is allowed to contradict Scripture.

Jeff Tan said...

He he.. nice try.. but there's a diference between the Catholic Church and the ones you've mentioned: there's a valid (at worst arguably feasible) basis for the teaching authority the Church Magisterium claims. Not only is this basis valid (at worst arguably feasible) from history and Tradition, that also holds true from a Scriptural perspective. From the institution of the Church from the confession of St. Peter in Ceasarea Philippi, to the commission to him to feed the sheep of the Lord's flock, through the obvious authority wielded by St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Jude and St. John in their epistles:

Matt 16:19 to Peter: "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" -- also, in general to the twelve, Matt 18:18

Luke 10:16: "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me"

Matt 18:17: "If he refuses to listen even to the church"

1 Tim 3:15: "the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth"

Of course you would object to the Catholic Church claiming this authority. But in the context of the LDS and the Buddhists, you as a Christian would have to grant that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church at least claims a valid concept of teaching authority that is evident in Tradition and Scripture.

As for Scripture not attesting to certain dogmas of the Catholic Church, I must give in to temptation and cite something that you believe which is not in the Bible: the canon of Scripture is not listed in the Bible. So how do you know, among all the ancient gospels, proto-gospels, apocalypses, epistles and what-nots, that the ones we have in the New Testament today are indeed inspired and inerrant? Catholics have a quick answer: "because, by the authority that Christ gave to his apostles, and by the authority they delegated to their successor bishops, we believe what the Councils of Carthrage and Hippo have said about the New Testament canon that we have today, as ratified then by Pope St. Damasus in those Councils."

The Marian dogmas of the Catholic Church share this one quaint but wholly acceptable aspect (acceptable to Catholics) with the canon of the New Testament: none of them are explicitly given in Scripture.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

Have you read my blog on similarity? I hope you do.

My point is that this is argument by authority. You simply believe the claim between two claims. As a protestant, I also believe in tradition we just differ. I believe in the tradition that scripture is infallible, you believe that the church is infallible.

At least for Protestants, we can go back to scripture and see if any doctrine can be substantiated. If I was a sceptic, why should I accept RCC's claim to infallibility rather than Iglesia ni Christo? The scripture you sited is also sited by Iglesia ni Christo, simply because they call themselves the church. INK claims that they are the church mentioned in scripture. You might find this strange if you are not familiar with the claims of that church. They will be glad to tell you that they are the true church, preserved by God too.

I beg to say that "feasibility" is a vague concept, is neither here and there and when people are making religious claims you are talking about actuality because the claims are serious and can affect one's eternal destiny. Both INK and RCC claim salvation by belonging to their Church

Jeff Tan said...

'you believe that the church is infallible'

No, the church is not infallible. It is the papacy that exercises papal infallibility when making a universal teaching on faith and morals (a very strict limitation) and the ordinary Magisterium that exercises a different sort of infallibility.

Infallibility is nowhere near what Scriptures possess: inerrancy and inspiration. It is distinct from inspiration and revelation. There's a big difference. We do not and cannot consider the pope and the ordinary Magisterium to be inerrant nor their teaching to be inspired.

'At least for Protestants, we can go back to scripture and see if any doctrine can be substantiated.'

The Church does this also. Have you seen the Catechism of the Catholic Church? The encyclicals of the Church? They are shot through with Scripture.

'I beg to say that "feasibility" is a vague concept,'

True, but there is some criteria by which you test the spirits, is there not? Perhaps I should simply say that the claims of the INK or the Mormons are not as orthodox as those of the Catholic Church.

'Both INK and RCC claim salvation by belonging to their Church'

False. While the Catholic Church proclaims that 'outside the Church, there is no salvation,' please read that in the context of the Catholic Church proclaiming this Church they refer to as the Bride of Christ written about in Scripture. Now what would we say if we go 'salvation belongs to the bride of Christ' -- does that go down better?

How come the Catholic Church warns its members to remain in a state of grace, avoiding rebellion against God through mortal sin? Precisely because to rebel against God leads to death -- even to Catholics. Therefore it is not precisely membership in the Church that one is saved. The Catechism states:

1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism: [Rom 3.22; cf. 6:3-4]

'But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.' [Rom 6.8-11]

1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself: [Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15.1-4]

'[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature.... For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.' [St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1, 24: PG 26, 585 & 588]


1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." [Mt 4.17] Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man. [Council of Trent (1547): Densinger 1528]

1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God’s merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life: [Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529]

'But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.' [Rom 3.21-26]

.
.

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. [Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4]

The Church does not teach that membership by itself saves the Catholic.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

I am sad it appears you did not read my blog. Things could have been a lot clearer.

Here is what RCC Catechism says...
point 2051
"The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed"
.

By the fact that you have the Magisterium and we do not and by the fact that you have that infallibility states that your church is infallible effectively.


If one is not saved by being in the Catholic church and we are saying the same thing effectively for Protestants only say we are saved through faith in the work of Jesus, then we do not have to continue our discussion. We are dancing to the same tune. I am a Protestant and you are saying I can be saved without being a member of RCC, so case closed. On the otherhand if you say I can be in the Catholic church and still not be guaranteed salvation then cased closed again. It buys me nothing.

The JW says the same thing we are the true church but when you become a member of our church we do not guarantee salvation and so it should because only God can justify and treat one righteous. So I say to them and to you, so what goodnews are you trying to give me? In my thinking ...none.

As to orthodoxy well Jeff, the big ticket items like the trinity and the divinity of the Lord we do not have a problem with the RCC it is with the small ticket items the most fundamental we disagree it is the Gospel. Lutheran and Reformed -defined orthodoxy by this - is salvation by the Grace of God alone through faith alone for the sake of Christ alone according to Scripture alone?

With fond respect

Lito

Venerable Aussie said...

These are great comments guys. Very illuminating and very respectful.

It's a bit of an irony though that lp cruz actually believes in - although to acknowledge it would be anathema for a Protestant - an infallible exercise of Magisterial authority. Why? Because it was this same Magisterium which decided - without ANY REQUEST FROM JESUS - that there (a) needed to be written scriptures, and (b) the criteria for selecting these into a canon.

So the Sola Scriptura argument can not be made without acknowledging the Catholic position on Scripture and Tradition. But to acknowledge this effectively scuttles Sola Scriptura.

It's just so funny when you think about it.

Venerable Aussie said...

In other words, to be a Protestant means to acknowledge the authority of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, ie the Catholic Church.

I just mentioned this to my teenage son while dropping him off to a friend's house, and he thought about it for a while, and then the penny suddenly dropped and he said "WOW! Of course! It's so obvious!"

L P Cruz said...
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L P Cruz said...

Venerable,

Protestants went back to the time before the papacy arose. They retained tradition that can only be substantiated from Scripture so in this sense Protestants are catholic although NOT ROMAN. Catholic means - "universal". It does not mean that when the word catholic is mentioned in the apostle creed when a Protestant recites it, he means he believes in the Roman Catholic Church. Far from it.

With what you said to your son, you just misrepresented the Protestant position if you meant by word catholic - you meant Roman Catholic. I feel sorry that you are indoctrinating your son inaccurately. He will recent it when he find the real truth what protestants believe in, and may drive him away from your church.

I am shocked that you misunderstand me and you are putting words which I am not saying. You miss the presentation of my arguements.

What I am saying is that effectively Jeff does not seem to appreciate the import of his RCC teaching. Effectively the RCC teaches it is infallible, this is the conclusion that can be made by the RCC claims. But that is the RCC claim and I do not believe it is a valid claim, because its authority is simply itself. Why should I believe it? Why should a skeptic not believe instead the LDS or INK? They make the same claims to authority of their prophet and the RCC claim falls in the same footing too. The point is that claiming infallibility for a human organization is not new it is naive.

Confusius teaches the same teaching as honoring our fathers but why should I believe it, is it because any group of Magisterium teaches it?

As I Prot, I believe the teachings of Scripture not the teachings of your Magisterium. I believe in honoring our parents because God says so in scripture not because my church says so. So you misunderstood the syllogism I was making.


You said "Because it was this same Magisterium which decided - without ANY REQUEST FROM JESUS - that there (a) needed to be written scriptures, and (b) the criteria for selecting these into a canon"

Again, this is circular reasoning, in your system, you are saying that in order for scripture to be infallible, an infallible church must first be believed to be so to declare it to be so, correct? This is what you believe right?

So I say, ok prove to me why I should believe your magistrium to be infallible...

Please go back to your RCC catechism and see if there are valid scriptural references for the claim for the teaching of 2051. I find none, so point me in scripture that says your magisterium is infallible. Please let me see scripture for this teaching.

Also you said... "So the Sola Scriptura argument can not be made without acknowledging the Catholic position on Scripture and Tradition. But to acknowledge this effectively scuttles Sola Scriptura"

Can you please define for me what you understand by what we mean as Sola Scriptura? Are we talking about the same thing as found in one of our confessions like Belgic article 7?

We do not believe in sola scriptura because the RCC says they are scripture! You might find this astounding so you do not know what we Protestants confess. Please go to the Belgic confession see Article 5.

In fact we can prove our doctrine of Sola Scriptura from Scripture itself.

This is where you do not understand the Protestant position. I doubt if you have studied our confessions to which I would like to point you to such as the 2nd Helvetic and Belgic Confesions of Faith as well as Heidelberg Catechism to name a few.


But can RC prove that their Oral Tradition is inspired by God according or as stated by Scripture? I hope you can show me a saying of the apostles or of Jesus that is not in scripture and is to be taken as valid because tradition says so and and that tradition is inspired.


You see you believe in some traditions that can not be substantiated by Scripture for example Mary's bodily assumption to heaven.

You'd better believe in an inspired tradition (if I were you) because if your tradition is not inspired , then that is to be in a shaky position (in my book)

I invite you to post in my blogspot and we can interact from there more fully...http://extranos.blogspot.com

Lastly, one blogger stated that the Reformation is proof positive that the Magisterium is not infallible. The point is this ...Reformation succeeded. You will find this statement not easy to swallow but when you think deep, he has a point.

Thanks,

Venerable Aussie said...

Just one last comment Jeff for lp cruz. Sorry about the length.

Imagine if you heard this:

"And Jesus said: Here take this Bible and go forth and interpret it according to your own reading of it, and when you can't agree split off and establish another church and keep doing this so that by the year 2005 there will be over 30,000 such separate churches each claiming that their version of the Truth is correct. NOT!"

Now THAT's my idea of a wall poster!

I'm just grateful to God that I am a young member of the First Full-Gospel Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ Unreformed. (ie the Catholic Church)

lp cruz, I feel you are just complicating things. The whole issue of various confessions are just not relevant (and believe me, I know far more than you think about them). I know you want to argue from the authority of your Traditions but I want to take another tack.

It's really very easy.

I've just been reading Surprised by Truth, testimonies of former protestants who have come back home to the Church founded by Christ.

For all of them, one day the penny dropped.

1. The Church founded by Christ - ie the Catholic Church - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit decided that it should gather together writings about Christ, (writings which were written in the context of the traditions of the institutional Church established by Christ), sift them and test them, and present them in the form of a book. I thank God daily for this. For the Church presented us all with the gift of the Bible.

2. To accept this wonderful gift is to accept that the gift-giver (ie the Church established by Christ) had the authority of Christ to present it to all of humanity. It is also to LIVE the tradition of gift-giving.

3. But to subsequently say that the gift-giver has no authority to give gifts, or to use the gift to attack the gift-giver, or to refuse any other gifts, or to fail to understand why the gift was given in the first place, well these just turn back upon the recipient and are a denial of the authority of Jesus Christ (as per point 2).

Just keep meditating on this and one day, God-willing, perhaps in the long dark night of the soul, it will all become clear for you. I will pray for this.

You have much enthusiasm. And I praise God for that.

In deference to Jeff I won't post on this again, but if you have any nagging queries, check out the great tracts at catholic.com (most written by former protestants who have come home).

God Bless.

Jeff Tan said...

Actually, the logic is quite linear and chronological. It's probably a matter of talking past each other though.

To Catholics and Orthodox, the authoritative nature of the canon of Scripture, by which we know which books and epistles are inerrant and God-breathed, comes from the fact that the Church did indeed authorize that canon back in the councils of Hippo and Carthage. True, it wasn't just the Roman Catholic Church (the west), but rather the Catholic Church before the Eastern Catholics (Orthodox) split. Nevertheless, the point is valid: how does one know to trust any specific part of the Bible without an external tradition that gave it its table of contents?

Asking us to line up the Catholic Church with the Bible is not wrong nor is it a problem, at least not for most Catholics for the last 2000 years. It's a matter of interpretation, though, as is obvious by the fact that sincere, learned Christian men and women of various Protestant churches beg to differ from Catholic and Orthodox interpretation. It's just the fact that we don't have a problem with extra-Biblical dogmas like the Immaculate Conception or the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin. If we did have a problem with extra-Biblical sources of revelation then we'd have a problem, since the canon of the New Testament scripture is extra-Biblical -- it's not in the Bible!

BTW Lito, I did read your blog. I think it's just a matter of talking past each other that you think I didn't. We don't see the similarity with Buddhists or LDS simply because we believe in orthodoxy -- that little thing that rides on history to tell us that we are where the apostles were almost 2000 years ago. Apostolicity, not just in what some of them wrote in what we now have in the New Testament, but whatever else they taught that was "by word" and not "by letter." And Apostolic succession through the bishops, an unbroken line of laying of hands to ordain new bishops by whom Apostolic authority remains with us today. We believe Christ who told the twelve "whoever hears you hears me, and whoever rejects you rejects me." It's not authority vs. authority per se but Authority vs. authority. To Catholics, such Authority transcends the Bible because it was there before the canon of the Bible was decided and by that Authority was the canon decided. And this is not a man-made Authority, nor an angel-made Authority (vis a vis the LDS story). This was the Authority that was conferred by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the head of the Church, to the apostles.

On the other hand, you believe this Authority to come down to the church today through Scriptures alone. We're pointing out something that should be considered, not brushed away: the very question of what books and epistles the Bible consists of is a question of what Authority decides what the Bible consists of. Add to that the fact that the Bible itself that we believe talks about the pillar and foundation of the truth only once, and in that it refers to the Church of the living God, not Scripture. I'm not saying that the Church is greater than the Bible. I'm pointing out a picture that makes more sense: just as the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, and the Bible is the word of God delivered through 2000 years to us today, consider how it got here: on the foundation of the Authority in the Church through the bishops of the councils of the Church, who were sent in turn by the Apostles who were told by Christ "whoever hears you, hears me."

Finally, make no mistake about what infallibility does not mean. It does not mean impeccability. It does not mean immaculate sinlessness. We have had sinful popes and bishops. The Church is human, so it is made up of fellow sinners, too. But the infallibility that we trust is not human. There is no way that we believe in Paul's sinlessness as the basis for believing what he wrote. Nor is it Peter's humanity that we trust in what he wrote. Every scrap of Scripture and doctrine that can be believed comes only from the power and holiness of God Himself, who, through Jesus Christ, promised the Apostles "whoever hears you hears me" and "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven." That was not a power given to the twelve because of their holiness. That was a magnificent gift given to the Church so that the beloved sheep of the flock will not be led astray in such a magnitude.

What does the Catholic Church offer you, a Protestant? It's what we call fullness of Truth. If we are right about ordination, or the canon of the Old Testament, or the seven sacraments, then what indeed is a Protestant missing out? With far too many Protestants considering the Eucharist to be merely symbolic, or baptism merely symbolic, or marriage merely secular and an outward sign, or love inferior to faith or certitude of salvation, what indeed is being missed out? And if we are right about the visible Church on earth as what the Lord intended in his priestly prayer for his followers to be one in John 17 --- then, for 500 years, what devestation has been wrought to this body of Christ and his intentions for one, Catholic and Apostolic Church to preach a gospel of one family of sons and daughters of God?

L P Cruz said...

Firstly to Venerable,
Peace be with you...

Thanks for your prayers, I will be praying for you too, that you might find Scripture and Christ sufficient. You do not have to add anything. No tradition and no self righteous works. I respect your faithfulness to your church, I was a Zealot RC too and I managed to convert back fundamentalist baptist and methodist friends of mine to Rome . I even managed to make them devote to Mary even though I was never her devotee. All this happen until one day, God's mercy came to me.

If you know more than I do about our confessions then you would have seen that the Belgic Confession Article 5 says this...


Article 5: The Authority of Scripture

We receive all these books and these only as holy and canonical, for the regulating, founding, and establishing of our faith.

And we believe without a doubt all things contained in them-- not so much because the church receives and approves them as such but above all because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God.


For even the blind themselves are able to see that the things predicted in them do happen.


This means we do not have to have a infallible church to declare something infallible.

Just follow this logic, i declare God to be infallible. Do you not agree that God is infallible? By your declaring it, does it entail that you have to be infallible too so that God might truly be infallible? Carry this reasoning to the way RC is reasoning.

I am also reading the works of former Catholics who became Protestants, should you be interested to know.

Jeff,

I am sorry but I guess the point I am making is that RC are reasoning like cultic groups each time they assert their own authority.

Your claim that RC is orthodox does not buy anything, it is irrelevant to the argument Jeff, for the issue is authority, that is the crux.

See you in next post

Jeff Tan said...

'We receive all these books and these only as holy and canonical, for the regulating, founding, and establishing of our faith.'

I think the contention was that precise identification of "these books" is itself not in Scripture (they are not listed) so they are extra-Biblical and must appeal to an external authority.

'because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God.'

I get the feeling that very few Protestants go through the exercise of sifting through all the candidates to the canon of the New Testament so as to be certain which books are inspired and which ones are not. Luther may have tried this in part, resulting in his exclusion of the deuterocanonicals and the epistle of St. James. I doubt that he went through what was already considered apocryphal New Testament works, e.g., the epistle of St. Barnabas, the epistle of St. Clement to the Corinthians, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, etc.

Let me be clear: I'm not knocking the inerrancy of Scriptures. I do submit to the inerrancy and canonicity of the books and epistles in your Bible, although I also accept the deuterocanonicals.

'For even the blind themselves are able to see that the things predicted in them do happen.'

And yet the same can be said, for example, of the book of Wisdom, which includes such poignant lines like Wisdom 2:18-22:

[18] for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. (Mt.27:43).
[19] Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.
[20] Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
[21] Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them,
[22] and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls;

'RC are reasoning like cultic groups each time they assert their own authority.'

I guess you refer here to the LDS assertion that their church 'was not taken out of the Bible.' Is the catholic (small 'c', Protestant concept of invisible) Church taken from the Bible? If it was established after the canon of the Bible was authoritatively decided in the 4th century, then yes, the catholic (small 'c') was taken from the Bible.

But wait.. there was a Church before the canon of the Bible was decided. In fact, it was the Church that decided in council. Moreover, it was the Church who, through oral and living Apostolic Traditions, wrote the Bible over several decades of development.

'This means we do not have to have a infallible church to declare something infallible.'

The problem lies in the lack of an authoritative canon in Scriptures themselves. Nothing in the Bible tells us and tests for us what its contents should be. Without any authoritative certitude in that regard, how are we sure which books and epistles to believe, and which ones not to believe, as inerrant and inspired? In such lack of certain revelation, how are we to possess the right rules and doctrines of faith?

It's nice enough to stop at a certain point and say "this" is where one draws the line as to one's sure source of divine revelation, but is it the one that was intended by Christ?