In his letter 'Caution on apparitions' (The Sunday Times, May 27) Joseph Mizzi, as a Bible stylist and true to his sectarian secret agenda common to so-called 'Bible Christians', came out with one of the sects' favourite capers, that "...the Bible is sufficient for the purpose of showing us the way to salvation".
Nothing new - just old tags with new labels, rehashing Martin Luther's doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which even modern Lutherans have discarded but conveniently taken on by latter-day sects like the Baptists and other 'Bible Christians', also known as Fundamentalists.
A stylist is a person who has all the external styles of a Bible teacher who lacks the substance of a true Bible student or scholar. Dr Mizzi falls into this category.
His recent letter is an eloquent example seeking to impress the unprepared. If he denies this then he has another agenda, another motive in always attacking Catholic teachings found in the Catholic Church in Malta. As everyone in Malta knows, even those not familiar with the Scriptures, that the apostle Paul brought to Malta the faith the majority profess within the Catholic Church instituted by Jesus (Mt. 16. 13 ss).
There is no shred of evidence of the existence of any other religion or church since St Paul's evangelising the Maltese, which subsists in the Catholic Church.
The apostle St Paul calls the Church "...the house of the living God ...the pillar and foundation of truth". (1 Timothy 3, 15).
Is the Baptist Bible Trinity Church, which is of purely human origin with no connection whatsoever with the Church Jesus instituted, trying to improve on the Church Jesus instituted and brought to Malta by the apostle St Paul ?
These so-called Bible-believing churches multiply by division, some 25,000 in the US alone.
Only one is the true Church Jesus instituted - as it is his body. There is only Jesus, hence only one his Church.
He is its head with his visible representative (vicar on earth) in St Peter and the Popes. An adequate understanding of Mt 13 ss will lead you to the full truth. As one recent convert to Catholicism from an Evangelical background told me, these Bible-believing churches appear to have the menu but it is only the Catholic Church that can deliver the goods.
Dr Mizzi cautions Catholics about "apparitions" and he must have experienced not quite a few leading him precisely to where he warns the readers of ending up, in the clutches of the Devil.
He has made him believe that the Bible is the sole rule of faith "sufficient for the purpose of showing us the way to salvation". Hence the fallacy of his statement leading him and others like him into error - the lie.
People like Dr Mizzi believe that all questions relating to faith or morals can be answered completely from the written Word of God as found in the Old and New Testaments, as contained in the books from Genesis to Apocalypse. That being the case, there is no need for any other rule to guide the Christian, whether it be Apostolic tradition, teaching authority, philosophy or nature. These, in their truncated understanding of the Bible, inhibit a Christian's path to salvation.
However a 'Bible only' approach when applied logically runs into immediate and numerous problems. For example, can a Bible held in the hand of any Christian answer the following questions: How do I know that my Bible was correctly translated? Does the Bible have the correct number of Books in both the Old and New Testaments? Is the interpretation of this or that verse the correct one?
Ordinary Christians lacking an extensive knowledge of languages, cultures and history of the Holy Land and its surrounds would be hard-pressed to answer any with certainty, with or without the Bible.
Does the Bible actually teach what Dr Mizzi (and Bible Christians) purport that the Bible is the sole rule of faith, salvation? In his inadequate understanding of the Holy Scriptures, Dr Mizzi says it does and he selected as proof 2 Timothy 3: 15.
This quote is one of the cornerstones of most non-Catholic churches' arguments. Yet there are no words such as "alone", or "only" used with regard to the Scriptures. No one who claims to be a Christian, least of all the Catholic Church, denies that the Scriptures are "inspired" and "profitable" to perfect "a man of God".
But it is certainly different to assert that the Scripture is sufficient, as Dr Mizzi wrongfully asserts. And we are not quibbling over words as sufficient is not used by St Paul in 2 Tim. 3; 15 as quoted by Dr Mizzi.
St Paul uses the Greek word "ophelimos" which translates as "useful" or "profitable", and not as "sufficient".
Other Protestants might argue that "profitable" means "sufficient". If so then they would run into difficulties with Titus 3, 8 which says: "The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply to themselves to good deeds: these are excellent and profitable to men."
Would then Dr Mizzi or any other Protestant assert from this verse that good works are sufficient to get to heaven, thus rendering faith in Christ unnecessary.
Where is Dr Mizzi's consistency in his stated belief that the Bible is sufficient? Why the added creeds of your denomination? Why the Baptist church at all?
Dr Mizzi's belief that the Bible is sufficient is not a teaching found in the Bible, rather it is expressly denied by it.
The Scriptures we have at hand expressly state that they do not contain everything (John 20, 30: 21, 25) or that they give us an account of all that Christ has said or did (John 16, 12). We also know that there existed other sacred writings now lost, such as an earlier letter of St Paul to the Corinthians mentioned in 1 Cor. 5, 9: "I wrote to you in my letter... but now I am writing to you."
Also missing is St Paul's letter to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4, 16)
Nevertheless the fact that there are parts of the written word of God missing is no fatal consequence to Catholics. This is so because the Catholic Church maintains that the Divine Revelation is fully contained in its Magisterium (body of teaching) comprised of both the written Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, not merely the tradition of men, and ranks equally with the written word to complete Divine Revelation which does not contradict it.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us