That’s why you need the Roman Catholic Church.
That, anyway, is the logic of a golden-oldie from U.S. Roman Catholic teaching about the dangers of fundamentalism:
Biblical fundamentalists are those who present the Bible, God’s inspired word, as the only necessary source for teaching about Christ and Christian living. This insistence on the teaching Bible is usually accompanied by a spirit that is warm, friendly, and pious. Such a spirit attracts many (especially idealistic young) converts. With ecumenical respect for these communities, we acknowledge their proper emphasis on religion as influencing family life and workplace. The immediate attractions are the ardor of the Christian community and the promises of certitude and of a personal conversion experience to the person of Jesus Christ without the need of church. As Catholic pastors, however, we note its presentation of the Bible as a single rule for living. According to fundamentalism, the Bible alone is sufficient. There is no place for the universal teaching church—including its wisdom, its teachings, creeds, and other doctrinal formulations, its liturgical and devotional traditions. There is simply no claim to a visible, audible, living, teaching authority binding the individual or congregations.
A further characteristic of biblical fundamentalism is that it tends to interpret the Bible as being always without error or as literally true in a way quite different from the Catholic Church’s teaching on the inerrancy of the Bible. For some biblical fundamentalists, inerrancy extends even to scientific and historical matters. The Bible is presented without regard for its historical context and development. . . .
We observed in biblical fundamentalism an effort to try to find in the Bible all the direct answers for living—though the Bible itself nowhere claims such authority. The appeal of such an approach is understandable. Our world is one of war, violence, dishonesty, personal and sexual irresponsibility. It is a world in which people are frightened by the power of the nuclear bomb and the insanity of the arms race, where the only news seems to be bad news. People of all ages yearn for answers. They look for sure, definite rules for living. And they are given answers—simplistic answers to complex issues—in a confident and enthusiastic way in fundamentalist Bible groups.
The appeal is evident for the Catholic young adult or teenager—one whose family background may be troubled; who is struggling with life, morality, and religion; whose Catholic education may have been seriously inadequate in the fundamentals of doctrine, the Bible, prayer life, and sacramental living; whose catechetical formation may have been inadequate in presenting the full Catholic traditions and teaching authority. For such a person, the appeal of finding the “ANSWER” in a devout, studious, prayerful, warm, Bible-quoting class is easy to understand. But the ultimate problem with such fundamentalism is that it can give only a limited number of answers and cannot present those answers, on balance, because it does not have Christ’s teaching church nor even an understanding of how the Bible originally came to be written, and collected in the sacred canon, or official list of inspired books.
Our Catholic belief is that we know God’s revelation in the total Gospel. The Gospel comes to us through the Spirit-guided tradition of the Church and the inspired books: “This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testament are like a mirror in which the pilgrim church on earth looks at God” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 7).
A key question for any Christian is, Does the community of faith which is the Lord’s church have a living tradition which presents God’s word across the centuries until the Lord comes again? The Catholic answer to this question is an unqualified yes. That answer was expressed most recently in the Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council. We look to both the church’s official teaching and Scripture for guidance in addressing life’s problems. It is the official teaching or magisterium that in a special way guides us in matters of belief and morality that have developed after the last word of Scripture was written. The church of Christ teaches in the name of Christ and teaches us concerning the Bible itself.
The basic characteristic of biblical fundamentalism is that it eliminates from Christianity the church as the Lord Jesus founded it.
Notice that a desire for certainty in all of life’s dilemmas is not wrong. Neo-Calvinists take heart. The problem is asking the Bible to supply all the answers. The Bible only goes so far. After that, the church and tradition need to kick in.
A similar dynamic may very well be at work with neo-Calvinism. You need the Bible but you also need philosophy which provides the rudiments of w-w, which in turn yields the answers to life’s questions.
Both Rome and neo-Calvinism give a living tradition that augments Scripture. Both also like philosophy — a lot.
2kers should also take heart. The idea that the Bible doesn’t speak to all of life is like what we’re sayin’. We’re also saying, live with the uncertainty. To which the Romanists and Amsterdamists reply, “that’s not inspiring.”