*BEST OF DTB #22* The Catholic Defender tackles "The Five Solas"

Posted by John Benko - May 31st, 2013

The Five Solas are:
1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)

2. Sola Fide (faith alone)

3. Sola Gratia (grace alone)

4. Sola Christus (Christ alone)

5. Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone)

All of the above were the rallying cry of Protestantism during the time of the Reformation.

Since then they have mutated and adapted to different varying forms of Protestantism, but this is the basic tenant of what these “Five Solas” are founded. Let’s take a look at these Solas one at a time.

Sola Scriptura:

Sola scriptura is the basline belief that the bible is the only authority and inspiration of God’s word. No doctrines are accepted without the Bible’s definition or foundation. From the Catholic response to this, all doctrines are either explicitly or implicitly found in the bible. But it is deeper than that.

The Protestants were rejecting the Catholic authority directly opposing the Papacy, redefining the Sacraments even calling them “ordinances” thus denying their relevance. When looking at the history of God’s people, Sola scriptura did not exist either in the Old Testament nor the Apostolic Tradition.

The Old Testament and the Jewish history verify the Catholic position perfectly, namely; Scripture has always required an interpreter. From Moses to Pope Francis, God’s people have always held an office of “teacher”. That is what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is, the office of “Teacher”.

The Jewish oral law is very simular to Catholic development of dogma and historical growth. The Jewish oral teaching was stored in the Mishnah that became the baseline for the Halakhuh (legal teaching). This was practical due to the Palestinian and Babylonian talmuds:

“The Talmud (התלמוד) is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish laws, ethics, customs, legends and stories. It expands on the earlier writings in the Torah and Mishnah, and is the basis for all later codes of Jewish law). The Talmud is a combination of a core text, the Mishnah and a later commentary, called the gemara (“completion”). There is only one Mishnah, but there are two distinct gemaras, the Yerushalmi and the Bavli. Both gemaras were developed by many rabbis over a few centuries.”

The “Halakhuh” for the Jewish tradition is comparable to the Canon Laws for Catholic Authority and tradition. So the Old Testament analogy is closely in line with Catholic traditions and foundations. The Catholic Church is based from Scripture. Consider how the Old Testament books were processed in time.

The Torah was written by Moses, prior to Moses, the Genesis story was maintained through oral tradition. The “Pentateuch”, the “Torah” are the first five books of Jewish and Christian scriptures, these books were gathered 500 years after King David. During this time, God moved through the authority of Moses, the Priesthood of Levi, the judges, the prophets, and the Kings. In comparison, the Catholic Faith was founded by Christ, His Apostles, the Priesthood of Christ.

It took nearly 370 years before the Catholic Church finalized the New Testament Canon of Scripture (393-396 Council of Hippo). Tradition played a major role in handing down truth through all generations. St. Paul states (2 Thessalonians 2:15), “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter”.

St. Paul also wrote St. Timothy (2 Timothy 1:13-14), “Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us”.

This primarily had to be carry out orally as it would take the Church nearly 400 years to comprise the New Testament. The Holy Spirit was imparted to the Catholic Church on Pentecost, which by the Time St. Paul wrote this letter, would have been about 40 years. Taking a look at Jewish Tradition, Christ and His Apostles recognized the Jewish oral tradition raising some of it literally to the level of written revelation. Here are some examples:

Matthew 2:23 says, “and he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene”. This prophecy was passed down orally rather than from scripture. It is not in the Old Testament.

Matthew 23:2-3 says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice”. The seat of Moses is not found in the Old Testament, but it is found in the “Mishna“. This is clearly the teaching succession from Moses on down. Christians today have “Apostolic Succession” which is the legitimate authority of Christ passed down through the Catholic Church.

1 Corinthians 10:4 says, “…and all drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ”. The movement of the “Rock” is not found in the Old Testament, it is through Jewish tradition that St. Paul was speaking from making his point.

1 Peter 3:19 says, “…in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison”. St. Peter is describing Christ’s journey to “sheol” (prison) is not in the Old Testament writing, it is taken from the Jewish apocalyptic book 1 Enoch (12-16).

Jude 9 says, “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgement upon him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you”. The issue of the body of Moses is not found in the Old Testament.

Jude 14-15 says, “It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, ‘behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgement on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him”. This is not in the Old Testament, but refers to 1 Enoch 1:9.

There are more, but I wanted to show that the new Testament writings literally placed into writing Old Testament traditions not found in the (OT) Scriptures. These were placed to the order of divine scripture.

Sola Scriptura cannot and did not have a place in any God’s teaching authority. The Jewish authority was centered from Moses, the “lawgiverLevitical Priesthood carried down the “ordinances” of the Lord which were a “type” of the New Testament authority.”, David, the household of David’s kingship and Elijah, the prophets. The

Jesus fulfills Moses, David, and Elijah as He is the Priest, Prophet, and King. The Priesthood of Christ carries the Sacraments of grace centered in a new Covenant.

One last case against Sola scriptura, coming from the biblical text itself:

2 Peter 1:18-20 says, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”.

2 Peter 3:14-17 says, “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without blemish, and at peace. And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this, as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability”. This is exactly what “lawless men did in creating these “Five Solas“.

Martin Luther, the founder and “Father” of Protestantism, refereed to Sola Fide as the doctrine that the Church stood or fell. Since he placed such importance on this and contemporary Protestants continue Sola Fide’s belief system, let’s take a look at it.

Sola Fide

Protestants declare we are ‘being declared right by God”, and they assume this means salvation. Faith is the means by which we are justified by God. Martin Luther once said “sin valiantly, but believe more valiantly”, this is not exactly what the scriptures or the tradition of the Church.

Galations 5:21 St. Paul warns, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things (sin) shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. St. Paul exposes Luther’s example above as what “lawless men” have processed in the doctrine of Sola Fide. Taking a look at the scripture, what does it say referring to “faith alone”?

Martin Luther referred to the book of James in the New Testament as a “gospel of straw”, that James had “no backbone” because it differed from Luther’s “Sola Fide” doctrine. James wrote, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone”.

Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus clearly states, “out of my sight, you condemned, into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels… As often as you neglected to do it to one of these least ones, you neglected to do it to me. These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life”.

As important as faith is, Jesus doesn’t speak to that issue, He is speaking of works that He fully expects His people to conduct. The Lord hears the cry of the poor, we become His hands when we seek to do His will! The real issue is the Protestants rejection of the Sacraments and the work that God does through them. The Sacraments could not be “life saving” or “necessary” because they would be the products of “works”!


Philippians 2:16 states, “As I look to the day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose. Even if my life is to be poured out as a libation, over the sacrificial service of your faith. I am glad of it and rejoice with you”.


St. Paul also says (Philippians 2:12), “So then, my dearly beloved, obedient as always to my urgings, work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation…”


I’ve made this point before, if you are studying for a test and the teacher during review stomps his foot or pounds his hands on the desk to insure you get the point, what should you do? You should take note of the essential information! Well, what does God tell us about Judgement? Our finals, the test we should all want to pass!

Jesus states, “But he who ACTS in the truth comes into the light, to make clear that his DEEDS are done in God (John 3:21)”. Romans 2:5 states, “In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for that day of wrath when the just judgement of God will be revealed, when He will repay every man for what he has DONE…”

1 Peter 1:17 says, “In prayer you call upon the Father who judges each one justly on the basis of his ACTIONS. Since this is so, conduct yourselves, reverently during this sojourn in a strange land”. Hebrews 13:21 states, “Furnish you with all that is good, THAT YOU MAY DO HIS WILL. Though Jesus Christ may carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him. To Christ be the glory forever! Amen.”

Revelation 22:12 states, “Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward that will be given to each man as his CONDUCT DESERVES.” John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever DISOBEYS the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him (Romans 5:9)”.Scripture after scripture tells us we will be held accountable to our deeds. We must do the will of the Father! If you KEEP His Commandments, you SHOW you love Him! The Catholic Church recognize that we must be obedient in faith. The skull has what we call “infused joints” that keeps our brain protected and intact. We need each part for it to function properly. Likewise, faith and good works are infused, both are essential. Jesus tells us to “store up heavenly treasure that no one can steal”.

Our faith must produce fruit! Don’t take your faith and bury it in the backyard (Matthew 25:24-28). Faith is a gift! Good works are the product of our response to that gift. Salvation is not earned so that we can punch our own ticket, but good works that pleases God and are God ordained makes that ticket complete. “The harvest is plenty but the workers are few”!

Sola Gratia

The Protestants development of this new gospel says that grace is always ‘efficacious” without the cooperation of man. That salvation comes by God’s grace alone. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast”.

Grace is a free gift of God not merited by man. The Catholic Church maintains that a person must “cooperate” and accept the free gift from God. Grace and faith must be nurtured, fed or it will die. To live in sin is to live in bondage. That is in essence, throwing God’s gift right back at him. We should never place our selves in that position, but the Lord is forgiving and merciful. That to is grace from God!

Continuing with Ephesians 2, when you get to verse 10, it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Again, we must “cooperate” and accept this free gift and nurture it with love, with devotion, with the Sacraments which God imputes grace, He showers His grace upon us. The Protestants use their theology of Sola gratia as a way to show the Sacraments are not necessary.

Solus Christus

Catholic and Protestants can agree who Jesus is, but there is major disagreement over Christ’s teaching and authority. The basic question is: “Is the Catholic Church the one true Faith founded by Christ, commissioned by Christ and sent by Christ to go to all the nations with the true Gospel or are the Protestants correct in rebelling against it? It all boils down to that!

Through Christ establishing the Catholic Faith, all the systems of the Faith, the Sacraments, the liturgies, the Scriptures, the traditions, are governed by an authority Christ gives the Church. Protestants will challenge you why you need to go to a priest when you can go to Christ “alone”.

They fail to realize that it is in obedience to Christ that we go to “Confession”or “The anointing of the Sick”! Christ established the Papacy giving us a visible head, a chief steward in holding fast to the “Deposit of Faith” entrusted by Our Lord to His Apostles.

This includes Mother Mary and the Saints as well. Jesus is the mediator between God and man and it is through this mediation that the Saints in heaven can pray for us here on earth. Mary is not competing with Jesus, she is leading people to Him! The Saints are not declared ‘god’s', they are given for us as role models, the Catholic ‘Hall of Fame” as their lives point the way to Jesus.

Tom T. Hall, a Country singer, use to sing, “Me and Jesus have our own thing going, me and Jesus, got it all worked out”. That is not the Church of the New Testament.

Soli Deo gloria

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, But as it is written, ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man concieved, what God has prepared for those who love him”. Rich Mullins, in his journey to the Catholic Faith recognized that his Protestant foundations were beginning to crack when he discovered that the Catholic Church did not overrate the Saints. He recognized that his upbringing did underrate the Saints and this was a revelation to him. Jesus is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords and there is none besides him. Yet, he offers us a crown of immortality forever with him in His Father’s house. When we honor Mary, the Saint’s we are really honoring God!

In closing, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses marked with the sign of faith who are praying for us, pulling for us, loving us as they intercede for us. “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…”



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*BEST OF DTB #189* The Catholic Defender: Pentecost

Posted by John Benko - May 19th, 2013

Pentecost, the Greek name for “Fiftieth Day“! It takes place 50 days from Easter! In Hebrew,(חג השבועות Hag haShavuot or Shevuot known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Pentecost also marks the 1980th birthday of the Catholic Faith. Some might say Ascension Thursday is the birth of the Papacy, regardless, this is when we were sent out by the coming of the Holy Spirit!

This was the event the Lord called for his Apostles and disciples to wait in Jerusalem. This was the event that would change the world forever.

In the Old Testament, the work of the Holy Spirit was shown through powerful signs and wonders among the Israelites.

“So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. Gathering seventy elders of the people, he had them stand around the tent. The Lord then came down in the cloud and spoke to him. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, he bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses aide, said, “Moses, my lord, stop them”. But Moses answered him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets? Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all”(Numbers 11:24-29)!

Think of what Moses just said, “Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all”? The Lord had this in mind all along. This was why Jesus instructed the Apostles to wait upon the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.

This would become the first Novena of the Catholic Church as they awaited for the glory of the Lord. Unlike the Old Testament when the Spirit of God would come upon the Lord’s people through His Ministers, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit 24/7.

“When he reached Lehi, and the Philistines came shouting to meet him, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (Samson): the ropes around his arms became as flax that is consumed by fire and his bonds melted away from his hands. Near him was the fresh jawbone of an ass; he reached out, grasped it, and with it killed a thousand men. Samson cried out to the Lord, “You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Must I now die of thirst or fall into the hands of the uncircumcised? Then God split the cavity in Lehi, and water issued from it, which Samson drank till his spirit returned and revived” (Judges 15:14-19).

The New Testament, Jesus states, “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you”(John 14:25-26).

John 16:13 Jesus says, “But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you”.

Jesus Said he would build his Church and the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus through his Catholic Church.

The Holy Spirit declares the truth to the people of God. This is important because many false prophets have come and they give the Holy Spirit credit for their interpretations and opinions. That is dangerous and the Catholic believer must be aware of this.

With Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord), we have seen the glory of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and Disciples along with Mother Mary, in the form of tongues of fire.

The Holy Spirit filled them all as they spoke in different tongues to the people. As the Holy Spirit scattered the people building the Tower of Babel with diverse languages (Genesis 11:7-9), the Lord was bringing the people to the Church through languages (Acts 2:5-12).

With the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost, the Catholic Church is enabled by the Lord to accomplish his will to take the gospel to all the nations. Praise the name of the Lord! Veni Creator Spiritus!


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*BEST OF DTB #142* The Catholic Defender: Spirit of the Soveriegn Lord

Posted by John Benko - May 6th, 2013

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

We see this scripture fulfilled at the baptism of Jesus. It is at this point that Jesus begins His public ministry.

The Gospel of Matthew records what happens, “The Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased “ (Matthew 3:13-17).

This is a most important connection that St. Matthew reveals because Jesus is truly the Messiah that Isaiah bore witness to.

This scene in Matthew is also important because we see a glimpse of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We will again see this image at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). After the Resurrection, Jesus will send the Catholic Church to go to all the nations to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

This is important for all of God’s people because we have the means to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through our own Baptism (Acts 2:38) and receive the power of the Holy Spirit through the “laying of hands” (Hebrews 6:2).

St. Paul instructs St. Timothy, “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone, and do not share in another’s sin. Keep yourself pure (1 Timothy 5:22).

Why do we see this caution from St. Paul? St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is key!

He writes, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:24-29).

St. Paul is instructing us to prepare our converts, preparing them to receive the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. St. Timothy is instructed not to “lay hands” too readily.

They must be prepared and instructed in the Faith.

St. Paul says “The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

 Regardless if you are a catechuman, a candidate, or you are a life long Catholic, the Church calls us to take self inventory.

Jesus was tempted, He began His public Ministry being “led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

The 40 days has a symbolic meaning for Christians. We see the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Jonah warned the Ninevites that God would destroy the great city in 40 days (Jonah 3:4) and the people responded by covering themselves with sackcloth and ashes.

God spared them because of their repentance. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a 40 day season of the Church.

It is at the Easter Vigil that millions around the world are be recieved into the Catholic Faith. Catechumans are baptized and along with the Candidates, are confirmed into the Catholic Faith.

They will receive the Eucharist and share at the Table of Plenty with the whole Church!

Ascension Thursday is so important because it is the birth of the Papacy. 

Daniel 7:13-14 states, “As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”

Consider what Jesus Promised to St. Peter, “Blessed are you Simon son of Bar-Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter (Kapa), and upon this rock (Kapa) I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

Consider Jesus, the Son of Man, giving the keys to his “Royal Stewart” once He received this dominion at the appointed time with the Ascension of Jesus. 

Jesus is the stone that destoys the great statue of Babylon.  “In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destoyed or delivered up to another people”.

Ascension Thursday is a very important feast of the Church!


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