Hi, I haven't posted in awhile but am hoping you all will be able to help me. I need some assistance in a kind but informative response to a protestant friend's post. I linked the recent video by Fr. Barron about Protestantism and Authority, and titled it "a must-see for my Catholic fb friends". My friend David is a fairly knowledgable protestant and I will be in over my head if I attempt to give my own responses, so any assistance would be helpful.
Here it is:
Jen, you didn't say this was a "must-see" for me, but I saw it, and have a response for you to consider.
Fr. Barron quotes John Henry Newman saying "There has to be a living voice that can determine the truth of things..." - as Barron puts it, an "umpire" of sorts or "referee".
Hebrews 4:12 says that the Bible - the Word itself - is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Psalm 119:105 says "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my Path".
But that's not good enough for the Catholic Church?
Jesus himself, in John 14-16 talks about how the Helper - that is the Holy Spirit - the Trinity Himself in Spirit form - will be our guide.
It seems to me that God already put in place the "umpire" or "living voice". And it has always been part of His plan. Check this out:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." - John 1:1-4
Fr. Barron even says that there is a place where the umpire/referee analogy breaks down, but that's covered under this "guarantee of the Holy Spirit". The "guarantee of the Holy Spirit" idea is totally new to me. Is he really saying that one person's spoken word must be taken literally as the very Word of God? Yet he also says that the church can overuse its authority. Is that his way of saying the church (and I take by inference he means Catholic leadership) can be wrong? Isn't history full of occasions when the Catholic church has changed a position previously spoken into authority by a Catholic leader? How does that work? Was the previous guarantee not really a guarantee, or is the guarantee of the new leader the fake one?
I go back to Hebrews 4:12 and 1 John 1 as my answer. God already initiated a plan that includes a true Umpire who will never be wrong, who is always guaranteed to be right. It's Him - in the flesh, in the Word, and in Spirit Form. And He is accessible to all. Or at least that's the way He puts it in John 3, Jeremiah 29, and all throughout scripture.
In the new testament, Jesus describes himself as the word. So 'the word' we should be listening to is not by definition the scripture. Its Jesus who is the word, he himself says. John 1:14 identifies him as the word. When the old testament, Hebrews, talks about The Word, they are talking about The Decalog, The Ten commandments..... Protestants often misinterpret 'the word' as the bible, a book that was not invented until Guttenberg, completely bypassing what the new testament says the word is........Jesus, the source of the teaching....... Unless she thinks there was some floating bible over the waters in the first day of creation. As for the John 14 to 16, Jesus is talking exclusively to the apostles, in foreshadowing of Pentecost..... He was in an enclosed room NOT talking to any Tom Dick and Harry in the street........