Archive for the ‘Self-Authentication’ Category

Baptista Mantuanus on Scripture’s Self-Attesting Authority

August 30, 2011

Baptista Mantuanus (17 April 1447 – 20 March 1516), lib. de Patientia, cap. 32, 33 (as found in the Works of John Own, Volume 18, in A Vindication of Animadversions on Fiat Lux, Chapter VII).

Saepenumero,’ saith he, ‘mecum cogitavi, unde tam suadibilis esset ista Scriptura, ut tam potenter influat in animos auditorum; unde tantum habeat energiae, ut non ad opinandum sed ad solide credendum omnes inflectat.’

‘I have often thought with myself whence the Scripture is so persuasive, whence it doth so powerfully influence the minds of the hearers; whence it hath so much efficacy, that it should incline and bow all men, not to think as probable, but solidly to believe, the things it proposeth.’

Non,’ saith he, ‘est hoc imputandum rationum evidentiae quas non adducit, non artis industriae et verbis suavibus et ad persuadendum accommodatis quibus non utitur.’

‘It is not to be ascribed unto the evidence of reasons, which it bringeth not, neither to the excellency of art, sweet words, and accommodated unto persuasion, which it makes no use of.’

Sed vide an id in causa sit quod persuasi sumus earn a prima veritate fluxisse.’

‘But see if this be not the cause of it, that we are persuaded that it proceeds from the prime verity.’

He proceeds, ‘Sed unde sumus ita persuasi nisi ab ipsa, quasi ad ei credendum non sua ipsim trahat authoritas. Sed unde quaeso hanc sibi authoritatem, vindicavit? Neque enim vidimus nos Deum conscionantem, scribentem, docentem; tamen ac si vidissemus, credimus et tenemus a Spiritu Sancto fluxisse quod legimus: Forsitan fuerit haec ratio firmiter adhaerendi, quod in ea veritas sit solidior quamvis non clarior. Habet enim omnis veritas vim inclinativam, et major majorem, maxima maximam. Sed cur ergo omnes non credunt Evangelio? Respondeo quod non omnes trahuutur a Deo.’ And again, ‘Inest ergo Scripturis sacris nescio quid natura sublimius, ‘id est inspiratio facta divinitus et divinae irradiationis influxus certus.’

‘But whence are we persuaded, that it is from the first verity, but from itself? its own authority draws us to believe it. But whence obtains it this authority? we see not God preaching, writing, teaching; but yet, as if we had seen him, we believe and firmly hold that which we read to have come from the Holy Ghost. It may be that this is a reason of our firm adhering unto it, that the truth in it is more solid, though not more clear’ (than in any other way of proposal),’ and all truth hath a power to incline unto belief; the greater the truth the greater its power, and the greatest truth must have the greatest power so to incline us. But, why then do not all believe the gospel? I answer, Because all are not drawn of God. There is then in the holy Scripture somewhat more sublime than nature, that is, the divine inspiration from whence it is, and the divine irradiation wherewith it is accompanied.’

What Does the Self-Authentication of Scripture Mean?

February 16, 2010

Roman Catholic blogger at Catholic Champion, Matthew Bellisario, has responded to a post from Jeff Downs (link to Jeff’s post) which featured a video from Dr. Tony Curto (video below this introductory paragraph) introducing the topic of the self-authenticating nature of the Bible (link to Bellisario’s post).

Mr. Bellisario doesn’t interact directly with any Reformed arguments on the subject, but he does pose what he seems to view as a challenge for the position:

Well, I would just love to stick this Doctor in a room with all of the ancient manuscripts that we have including the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Apocryphal books with no punctuation, no labeling of the manuscripts, mix them all together with texts that were rejected and see if the brilliant doctor can put together the Canon of Scripture. We will see how self authenticating the text is.

One wonders if Bellisario really thinks it works that way – as though self-authentication were a sort of glow that the documents give off under an ultraviolet (UV) light or something like that.

Bellisario should read up on the doctrine of the self-authentication (also called the self-attestation) of Scripture. Greg Bahnsen has written an article worth reading on the subject (link to article). Some of Dr. Bahsen’s explanation is as follows:

Throughout the history of redemption God has directed His people to find His message and words in written form. Indeed, God Himself provided the prototype of written revelation when He delivered the tablets of law upon Mount Sinai. And when God subsequently spoke by His Spirit through chosen messengers (II Peter 1:21), their words were characterized by self-vindicating authority. That is, it was evident from their message that they were speaking for God — whether the claim was explicit (e.g., “Thus saith the Lord…”) or implicit (the arresting power or demand of their message as a word from the Lord of the covenant: e.g., Matt. 7:28-29).

Moreover, their messages were of necessity coherent with each other. A genuine claim to inspiration by a literary work minimally entailed consistency with any other book revealed by God, for God does not lie (“…it is impossible for God to lie,” Heb. 6:18) and does not contradict Himself (“But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no,” II Cor. 1:18). A genuine word from God could always be counted upon, then, to agree with previously given revelation — as required in Deut. 13:1-5, “If there arises among you a prophet…, saying `Let us go after other gods…,’ you shall not hearken unto that prophet….You shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice….”

Hopefully the reader can see that this kind of self-authentication or self-attestation isn’t a matter of simply sorting through a bunch of manuscripts. That kind of picture would be a caricature of the doctrine, not an accurate representation of the doctrine.

– TurretinFan

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