Last night, I went to the Faith Discussion Dinner that my friend JP hosts at his house each month. Here's a link to his new web site for details: http://www.faithdiscussion.org/
It's a fun night with lots of food and beer. In between the eating, drinking and general merriment, is the discussion. A topic of faith is chosen and the Protestant and Catholic speakers each have eight minutes to present their positions.
After the presentations, it's time for the (charitable) debate or QA session.
The topic was "Who has the authority to interpret Scripture?" Protestants say each believer does, Catholics say the final authority on Biblical interpretation is the Magesterium of the Church.
During the QA session, a woman on the Protesting-side asked a good question. If the Catholic has the Magesterium to interpret for him, why study the Bible at all?
After the debate ended, I went to go talk to her because she seemed very sincere in her question and since I am a "revert" to the Church I figured why not? We started talking. Our faith is not in a book, but in the person of Christ, who left us His Church with the power to "bind" and "loose," etc. etc. And I also quoted from Scripture, "The Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth." Nowhere in the Bible does it say it is the SOLE and FINAL authority. Even if it did, we don't believe it because it says so (for the Koran also says the same thing, but we don't believe in the Koran) but because the Church says so. The Church through her councils is what decided the Biblical canon in the first place. So here I am explaining all this to her and I finally come to the point that the word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible and yet we believe it. Of course, the Trinitarian believer can "find" it in the Bible, implicitly, but it is certainly not obvious, clear-cut, and it took the Church a long time to hash out. And then finally an authoritative council to make official.
She looks at me and says, "Oh, well, I don't believe in the Trinity."
You can imagine my shock as I thought I was speaking to a "Christian" in the Trinitarian-sense and definition.
But you know what? As disturbed as I was, her position is exactly what happens when you embrace what my friend Joe (a recent convert) calls Protestant personalism.
While the Protestant accepts the Church's orthodox teachings on the Trinity, the hypostatic union, Biblical canonicity, etc. he does not accept (or no longer accepts after the 16th C.) what his chosen denomination has decided not to accept.
By accepting the false and un-Biblical (find it for me...) notion of sola scriptura, you make yourself, not the Bible, the final authority and claim it as the Holy Spirit.
Well, then the Holy Spirit is dividing Christendom in 33, 800+ ways.
As the Bible says, "The gates of Hades will not prevail against the Church."
Are we to gloss over this verse?
If you throw out the Church, eventually, like this woman, you run the risk of throwing out the most basic, fundamental, orthodox tradition of belief: the Holy Trinity.