Rule # 1... One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story. No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth. Both sides have to be heard, then analyzed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.
This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us. Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth. Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.
In the following examples, side 'A' is the first side, side 'B' is the second, and side 'C' is the right, or truth side.
Example # 1... Sola Scriptura... Only the Bible. Fundamentalist thinking is that the Bible is sufficient and nothing else is needed for salvation. First of all, in order to believe in the 'Bible Only' philosophy, you have to show that Scripture says it. Is that not true? The doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura' is not to be found in Scripture.
A. Tradition is condemned in many places in Scripture, such as Job 22:15, Matthew 15:6, Markk 7:3-13, Galatians 1:14, Colossians 2:8, 1Timothy 1:4, Titus 1:14, and 1Peter 1:18. Look at these verses and grasp their meaning. They all address 'vain' human traditions and are rightly condemned. This is one half of the truth.
B. Tradition is supported in more places in Scripture than it is condemned. Study Isaiah 59:21, Lk 1:2, 2:19,51, Lk 10:16, 2Thessalonians 2:14-15 - "Stand firm and hold the traditions you have learned..", 2Timothy 1:13,2:2, 1Peter 1:25, 1John 1:1,2:24, 2John 1:12, Revelation 12:17,19:10. These are different traditions than mentioned in 'A'. These are the traditions of GOD, or 'Apostolic' tradition. Again, this is only half of the truth.
C. The truth is, yes, we do condemn the vain tradition of men, as shown in 'A', and we must keep the tradition of GOD, as shown in 'B'. Thus we have half the truth in 'A', and the other half in 'B', and combined we have the full truth. The false doctrine of Sola Scriptura adds A and B together and puts the total in A, rejecting all of tradition. A+B=C.
Example # 2... Sola Fides... Saved by faith alone. The fundamentalist believes he is assured of salvation. All he has to do is to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and savior and salvation is automatic and irrevocable no matter what he does for the rest of his life. Oh Yeah? What happened to the ten commandments?
A. Many verses in Scripture attest to salvation by faith alone. Joel 2:32, "...that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 2:21 says the same almost word for word, and likewise for Romans 10:13. "...I live in the faith of the Son of GOD...", is from Galatians 2:20. Again, these are beautiful words that should be heeded by all.
B. However, elsewhere in Scripture there is quite a different side of the story. Start with Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of Heaven." Very clear that you have to do the will of the Father to gain salvation.
I like 1Corinthians 10:12, "...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." That one says you cannot be guaranteed of salvation. Then James 2:14-26 says over and over, "...Faith too without works is dead...Faith without works is useless...so Faith also without works is dead." Again, words to be heeded by all.
C. So what is the answer to this dilemma? Is this one of those Bible 'conflicts' you keep hearing about? No, not at all. The answer is very simple. There are two types of salvation, 'objective salvation', and 'subjective salvation'.
The verses in 'A' are examples of objective salvation. Jesus Christ did atone for all of our sins, past, present and future. He did His part and did it well, but He left the burden upon each one of us to complete the second side of the story by atoning for our own sins, by doing the will of the Father. We have to keep the commandments.
We have to practice 'subjective salvation'. There is no salvation by accepting only part of Scripture as shown in 'A', and by rejecting, or trying to explain away the verses in 'B'. Yet this what Protestants are doing. Again, we have to combine 'A', and 'B', to have the full truth. A+B=C = TRUTH.
Example # 3... Sola Gratia... or saved by the Grace of GOD. This is the belief that all are saved solely by the Grace of GOD. The thinking is that all will be saved no matter what they do in this life. Everyone of us is given sufficient grace for our salvation. However, that grace can be rejected and lost by the individual.
A. Some will try to justify this false doctrine with Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of GOD." I agree that grace is a 'gift of GOD'.
B. The arguments against Sola Gratia are basically the same as for Sola Fides. See Sola Fides 'B'.
C. There again, there are two kinds of grace, 'deserved' and 'undeserved'. Not all will receive saving grace if they are undeserving of it as shown in Matthew 7:21, 1Corinthians 10:12, and James 2:14-26. Why would GOD extend His graces to those who do not keep His commandments? The truth is, yes you will receive saving grace from GOD if you are deserving of it.
Example # 4... Idol Worship... This is another argument aimed against the Catholic Church since it has statues of Jesus and Mary, and other saints.
A. Exodus 20:4, "You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth." This verse is why you do not see idols in protestant churches.
B. Numbers 21:8-9, 'And the Lord said to Moses, "Make a saraph (serpent) and mount it on a pole...Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent..." How about Exodus 25:18:22, GOD commands Moses to make two images of angels and to fasten them to the lid of the Ark. GOD commands humans to make idols.
C. Is this another conflict? No not at all. In both cases in 'B', the idols were to be used for a good purpose. In 'A', the meaning is for idols which have an evil purpose such as the golden calf or worship of false god's. Is there much of a difference between statues of angels and statues of saints? No, not in this case as both are heavenly dwellers, and are servants of GOD. The answer of truth is again A+B=C.
Example # 5... Repetitive Prayer... Protestants claim repetitive prayer is forbidden by Scripture. This statement is aimed squarely at the Catholic prayer of the Rosary.
A. Matthew 6:7, "But when you pray, use not 'vain' repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." In 1Kings 18:25-29 there is reference to calling on the name of Baal from morning until noon and their 'prayer' went unanswered. Yes this is true. Vain repetition as heathens do is forbidden. These are examples of 'vain' repetition.
B. Again, there are many more examples of repetitive prayer, which are accepted in Scripture, rather than rejected. See Matthew 26:44 where Jesus prayed in the garden three times and said the same words. How about Luke 6:12, "...He went onto a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to GOD."
Luke 21:36, "...pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass." How can you 'pray always' without repeating prayers? Then there is Isaiah 6:3, and Revelation 4:8, where the Seraphim, "...rest not day and night, saying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord GOD Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." Is that not a prime example of repetitive prayer?
C. In this example the Protestants accept 'A', and ignore 'B', A+A=A. Yes we should abide by the caution of 'Vain' repetition of prayer as heathens do. Christians are certainly not heathens. However in 'B', a second type of prayer repetition, or 'Useful', is shown. The correct answer again is A+B=C.
Example # 6... Call No Man your Father... This has long been a stumbling block for Protestants and for no real reason. Catholics call priests 'father'. This is why the stumble.
A. Matthew 23:9, "And call no one on earth your father, for one is your Father, who is in heaven." Absolutely right again. We have only one GOD the Father who is in Heaven.
B. Exodus 20:12, "Honor your father and your mother..." In far more verses the word 'father' is evoked for creatures by the apostles, and by Jesus Christ Himself. Acts 7:2 and 22:1, "Brethren and fathers...", Romans 9:10, "Isaac our father...", John 6:49, "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness..."
C. What is going on here? What is the translation of Luke 14:26 using the strict sense of Mt 23:9? "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (it meant to love less, at the time) his 'father' and mother...he cannot be My disciple." Using the logic in 'A', it would have to translate to, 'you would have to love less, the Father in heaven, than myself, to be my disciple'.
I do not think Jesus meant it that way. The truth is that Jesus was referring to only one GOD the Father in Heaven in Matthew 23:9 not multiples. A priest is a 'spiritual father', just as the male who was needed to conceive each of one us is our 'natural father'. Again A+B=C.
Example # 7... There Can Be Only One Mediator between GOD and man... No one should ever pray to another person as that is against the Bible. This is another stumbling block that Protestants have with Mary, and with Catholics saying the Rosary.
A. 1Timothy 2:5, "For there is one GOD and one Mediator between GOD and men, Himself man, Christ Jesus..." Yes right again.
B. However, the Bible is quite clear in pointing out, again, more verses which 'seem' to say just the opposite. Move up to 1Timothy 2:1, "I urge therefore...supplications, prayers, intercessions be made for all men." 1Thessalonians 5:25, "Brethren pray for us." Hebrews 13:18, "Pray for us." James 5:16, "Pray for one another." Revelation 5:8, "...which are the prayers of the saints." Hmmm, why do saints have to pray? They are already in heaven. Their prayers therefore must be for someone else who is not in heaven.
C. In 'A', we see 'Mediator', and in 'B', we see 'Intercessor'. There is a difference. Jesus Christ mediates between GOD and man. The saints and our fellow man say intercessory prayers for others. If anyone has examined the words of the Hail Mary, the first half is Gabriel's and Elizabeth's greetings in Luke 1:28-42. The second part is, 'Holy Mary, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen'.
What is the difference between Hebrews 13:18, "Pray for us", and Revelation 5:8, "...which are the prayers of the saints", and of asking Mary to pray for us in the Hail Mary? We can have only one mediator, but we can have many intercessors. The answer again is A+B=C.
I hope this little exercise has helped you to understand why there are so many 'apparent' conflicts in Holy Scripture, with some verses seemingly contradicting others. They really are not contradictory when you come to the realization that there are three sides to every story.
When the full truth is known, then there is no need to try to explain away any verses in scripture. The Bible is harmonious from beginning to end. Nothing can be added, and nothing can be removed. It all fits together perfectly.