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In arguments both lucid and thorough, Benedictine Abbott Basil Christopher Butler shows why the Bible can never be the sole criterion of faith nor serve as a sufficient foundation for the full Christian life to which Jesus calls us.
Butler reminds us that Jesus did not reveal himself to us by means of any written documents whatsoever (the first inspired written texts — all the books of the New Testament — were penned decades after Jesus died).
For in His divine person, Jesus Himself was the final word of God’s revelation: the living Jesus who walked among men and spoke to them — the Jesus who, before He returned to the Father, established His Church, endowed it with authority, and implemented the Sacraments as the continuation of His living presence among men . . . a living presence that He has sustained down through the ages even unto today.
Butler affirms that the books of the Old and New Testament are inspired — inspired but incomplete. As the Apostle John notes: “There are many other things Jesus did which, if they all were written, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” (John 20:25)
Written decades after His death, the books of the New Testament do reveal much about Jesus, but they lack the living presence of His person and they have neither the continuing authority with which He endowed His Church nor the soul-saving efficacy of the Sacraments He instituted.
Although the books of the Bible are inspired by God, they are insufficient as the full measure of faith. There is only one source, shows Butler, where Christians can turn for the full truth of Jesus and the means of salvation He gave us: the Catholic Church, which He Himself established 2,000 years ago.