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Evangelicals, Catholics discuss nature of authority, Scripture

.- Evangelical and Catholic scholars in the United States have gathered for a fifth time to discuss the nature of authority, especially in Scripture, and the interplay between Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement just last week regarding the Oct. 6-8 meeting, held at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

According to the USCCB press release, the 16 participants discussed the papers presented by Fr. Michael Keating of the University of St. Thomas and Dennis Jowers of the Faith Seminary, Tacoma, WA, at length.

Fr. Keating highlighted the development of a historically based religion and discussed development in Scripture as well as in the early Church. He focused on John Henry Newman's theory of development and related it to the rise of liberal Christianity, the eclipse of reason in the contemporary world, and its consequence for Christianity.

Jowers focused on the doctrine of formal and material sufficiency of Scripture, that is, the idea that all things necessary for life and salvation are taught in Scripture. He reviewed differences of Scriptural canons and the evangelical reasons for rejecting the Old Testament books not in the Hebrew canon, the Apocrypha. He also reviewed the doctrine of perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture.

Members of the two faith communities asked each other questions, seeking clarification and elaboration. For example, Evangelicals asked: "Why was Sacred Tradition put before Sacred Scripture in Dei Verbum?" Catholics asked: "In Scripture, apostolic authority is given by Christ to the apostles. Why is this not continuing in the life of the church specifically in the pastoral office?"

Participants explored the foundational areas of agreement as well as the differences in canon and sufficiency of Scripture.

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