Question: It seems to me that Karl Keating, in The Usual Suspects, demolishes...the major foundation of the Reformation and Protestantism, “sola scriptura.” He points out, as did Cardinal Newman more than 100 years before, that “for Timothy, Scripture was [only] the Old Testament....If Paul’s comment [2 Timothy:3:16, 17—the favorite Protestant ‘proof’ text] really implies sola scriptura, then it implies that the Old Testament alone is sufficient as a rule of faith. Does any Christian believe that? Of course not” (pp 52, 53). I challenge you to try to refute this conclusive argument.
Answer: It is amazing that Catholics have praised Newman’s pitiful fallacy for more than a century. For Timothy the Bible was only the Old Testament? Hardly. This is Paul’s second epistle to him, so Timothy has both First and Second Timothy. Moreover, that this is Paul’s last epistle is also clear from his statement, “I am now ready to be offered...my departure is at hand....I have finished my course” (2 Tm 4:6,7). Clearly, then, all thirteen of Paul’s epistles were in existence.
And so was the book of Acts, authored by Luke. It must have been written prior to Paul’s death or it would have recorded his martyrdom. Likewise for the gospel of Luke, the “former treatise” (Acts:1:1); and also Peter’s two epistles, because in his second, Peter refers to Paul and his epistles (2 Pt 3:15,16) as though the latter is still alive. In existence also were the gospels by Matthew, Mark and John—written by those “which from the beginning were eyewitnesses” and had “set forth in order a declaration of those things [concerning Jesus] which are most surely believed among us” (Lk 1:1, 2). In fact, far from the Old Testament being all that was available, the entire New Testament, except for the three epistles of John and Revelation, had been written.
But even if none of the New Testament had been written, Paul’s expression “all scripture” surely refers to all of the Bible, not just to what had been written up to that time. When Solomon writes, “every word of God is pure” (Prv 30:5); the Psalmist writes, “the word of the Lord is right” (Ps:33:4); “thy word is settled in heaven” (119:89); “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name (138:2); or Isaiah says, “the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Is 40:8)or “trembleth at [thy] word” (66:2); or Jesus says, “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Lk 11:28), etc., etc., no one would imagine that reference is being made only to scriptures which had been written up to that time.
As for whether this passage teaches that God’s Word is sufficient, Keating avoids 2 Timothy:3:17 which states, “That the man [or woman, boy or girl] of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” It couldn’t be clearer that nothing else is needed for instruction in living the Christian life and being all that God wants us to be.
The subtitle of Keating’s book is Answering Anti-Catholic Fundamentalists. He uses the term “anti-Catholic” numerous times. Yet he relentlessly attacks evangelical beliefs. How is it that evangelicals are “anti-Catholic” while Catholics who oppose us are not “anti-evangelical”?
In fact, Keating is even willing to lie in order to discredit evangelicals. He persists in accusing me of using T. A. McMahon as my ghostwriter. This is in spite of repeated denials from both myself and McMahon, the huge difference in our writing styles, and the obvious absurdity of McMahon allegedly writing about 30 books in my name for which he has received neither recognition nor compensation, and none in his own name (we have written two together). Keating could verify the truth if he desired. I have suggested that he ask the publishers of my books and speak to the staff at The Berean Call, who surely know who writes what, but he has refused, claiming that “anti-Catholics” are all liars.
Sadly, Keating was told this falsehood by Norm Geisler, who persists in this lie in spite of being challenged to speak the truth. I can understand Keating’s motivation: to destroy the reputation by any means of those who expose Catholicism’s errors. I do not understand Geisler’s motivation.