Sola Scriptura: A Fatal trap for Christianity

· Agnosticism
Authors

Abstract

Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture.

It is an essential doctrine of Protestant Christianity. Now, as we learn more and more about how the New Testament was compiled and interpolated it is becoming clear to all except the fundamentalists that the Bible is not the literal word of God and as a result is a habitat of several contradictions. Therefore, it cannot be a perfect guide to humanity.

As Christianity is losing its theological and logical basis it is time not to excel in Islamophobia but to consider Islam as a natural evolution of Christianity and consider Islam as panacea for different problems of the West and means to reintroduce spirituality in the West, the Europe and North America.

The Encyclopedia Britannica has laid down the core of my argument as it describes, Christian fundamentalism:

“The issue of biblical authority was crucial to American Protestantism, which had inherited the fundamental doctrine of sola Scriptura (Latin: ‘Scripture alone’) as enunciated by Martin Luther (1483–1546) and other 16th-century Reformers. Thus, any challenge to scriptural integrity had the potential to undermine Christianity as they understood and practiced it. In response to this challenge, theologians at the Princeton Theological Seminary argued for the verbal (word-for-word) inspiration of Scripture and affirmed that the Bible was not only infallible (correct when it spoke on matters of faith and morals) but inerrant (correct when it spoke on any matters, including history and science).”

So, if the Bible is neither infallible nor inerrant, as we will show in this and related articles, then the whole of Protestant Christianity implodes into ruins of contradictory ideas!

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If one were to genuinely believe in the biblical authority as proclaimed by the American Protestantism and explained by the Encyclopedia Britannica below, very dramatic events will begin to occur that will shock and awe any sensitive and learned person. For example, let the Bible define and explain labor pains:

And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Genesis 3:13-16)

Now, this is not only unfair and inaccurate with respect to women but also with respect to the snakes. By isolating the snakes from the rest of the animal kingdom for condemnation, it gives a distorted view of evolution, biology and reptiles. It attributes the labor pains to consequences of the Original Sin and in so doing completely misrepresents humans and the mammals. These verses of Genesis suggest as if humans did not have labor pain before Eve committed the sin and as if other mammals do not have labor pain and they are not linked through evolution.

The belief or doctrine of sola scriptura made sense at in the time of Martin Luther and onset of Protestant reformation in the sixteenth century but with the new findings about the Bible especially the New Testament, the doctrine has lost all its logical basis.The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the basic beliefs of the Protestant reformation as proposed by Martin Luther in a few lines:

“Theologically, Lutheranism embraces the standard affirmations of classic Protestantism—the repudiation of papal and ecclesiastical authority in favour of the Bible (sola Scriptura), the rejection of five of the traditional seven sacraments affirmed by the Catholic Church, and the insistence that human reconciliation with God is effected solely by divine grace (sola gratia), which is appropriated solely by faith (sola fide), in contrast to the notion of a convergence of human effort and divine grace in the process of salvation.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica has also laid down the core of my argument, as it describes, Christian fundamentalism:

“The issue of biblical authority was crucial to American Protestantism, which had inherited the fundamental doctrine of sola Scriptura (Latin: ‘Scripture alone’) as enunciated by Martin Luther (1483–1546) and other 16th-century Reformers. Thus, any challenge to scriptural integrity had the potential to undermine Christianity as they understood and practiced it. In response to this challenge, theologians at the Princeton Theological Seminary argued for the verbal (word-for-word) inspiration of Scripture and affirmed that the Bible was not only infallible (correct when it spoke on matters of faith and morals) but inerrant (correct when it spoke on any matters, including history and science).” [1]

So, if the Bible is neither infallible nor inerrant, as we will show in this and related knols, then the whole of Protestant Christianity implodes into ruins of contradictory ideas! A book by Prof. Bart Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament, has been described as his magnum opus, the greatest intellectual achievement of his life. Let me present two reviews from Amazon by others of the book before I offer you mine:

“Ehrman lays out with admirable clarity and directness his thesis: that scribes of the faction of early Christianity which eventually became the dominant one (which has in hindsight been dubbed ‘orthodox’) in the course of its conflicts with the other factions (now called the ‘heretics’) massaged particular scriptural passages as they copied them to either: 1) provide proof-texts for orthodox Christology; or 2) neutralize potential proof-texts for the heretics. My acquaintance with the mechanics of ‘textual criticism’ was only slight before reading this book, but the reasoning and method are so lucid that I’ve had no difficulty learning a great deal simply by watching Ehrman work. I’ve found it a surprisingly enjoyable read. It’s probably a bit dry for most people’s taste — but if you didn’t enjoy ‘dry’ you probably wouldn’t be looking at a book with this title anyway, would you?”And:”I haven’t seen the scribes’ copies of the New Testament which were compared for this book. I don’t read Greek anyway. So that puts me at a severe disadvantage when it comes to judging Ehrman’s findings. I trust to Bible scholars to verify Ehrman’s accuracy. As to his selection, it seems he has presented a great many examples of changes in the texts that seem made during early Christianty to rule out heretical interpretations. It seems he has done an incredible amount of reading and comparing of these early texts. There’s a lot of scholarly details. Ehrman is sensitive to that: he recommends in the introduction that non-scholars may want to just read the beginning and conclusion of the four chapters that are very detailed. However, a lay reader could profit from reading everything. Ehrman selected four significant heresies to focus on. Each has a chapter. Each of those chapters presents textual changes that would make sense if scribes were trying to avoid the heresy covered in that chapter. There is also a introductory chapter and a concluding chapter. I was surprised how many textual changes Ehrman was able to present in each chapter. Sometimes it wasn’t clear to me how the change led to text less likely to support a heretical view, but many of the changes seem quite plausible. I didn’t feel that Ehrman was pushing convenient interpretations on me; it seemed that the textual changes spoke for themselves. But I did appreciate the historical background Ehrman provides. He seems to have a good understanding of the various Gnostic Christian beliefs present during early Christianity. Elaine Pagel’s “The Gnostic Gospels” is a top down look at Christian Gnosticism, with a lot of her conclusions and some selected reference to details. Ehrman’s book is instead a bottom up look, that presents a huge amount of details and a brief conclusion. Although it was more work for me to read Ehrman, it felt like I was participating in the process that led him to his conclusions rather than just hearing afterward of the conclusions he had arrived at. I like having so much exposed of what led an author to his/her conclusions, so I value Ehrman for his approach. Being from an age of print and electronics, I’d never considered that the New Testament texts wouldn’t match the originals, but often not quite exact copies made by scribes who may have taken small, but significant, liberties with the text. Because the meanings appear to differ (even if subtly) in most if not all of the examples Ehrman provided, it makes one wonder how literal an interpretation of a modern New Testament can be, as it depended not only on passages changed in the Greek but also translated. “

If you do not believe, what you read here, hear it from the mouth of the university based scholars of the New Testament, a dialogue between Bart Ehrman vs Darrell Bock :

No matter, how you slice the issue it is a fatal trap for the Protestants. If authors were not telling the truth about their own identity, what else were they misrepresenting!

Venus fly trap plants, which are carnivores and eat insects

In this book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Ehrman has written, “There are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.” So, what would the Christian apologists do? They surely would need a reason to continue to obsess over the person of Jesus of Nazareth if they are going to stay Christian. They will come back with a truck load of rationalizations to maintain their irrationality and would do all they can to discredit the information presented by the textual critics. However, their commonest defense is to keep the naive duped with the idea that these alterations are only trivialities and do not affect the doctrinal issue. This assertion is a mere camouflage as any open minded person who evaluates the materials at length will see.

Regarding the historical background of the first century and multiple Christian groups, Bart Ehrman wrote in another book:

“The group that established itself as ‘orthodox’ (meaning that it held what it considered to be the ‘right belief’) then determined what future Christian generations would believe and read as scripture. What should we call the ‘orthodox’ views before they became the majority opinion of all Christians? Possibly it is best to call them proto-orthodox. That is to say, they represented the views of the ‘orthodox’ Christians before this group had won its disputes by the early fourth century or so. Did these disputes affect the scribes as they reproduced their scriptures? In this chapter I will be arguing that they did. To make the point, I will restrict myself to just one aspect of the ongoing theological disputes in the second and third centuries, the question over the nature of Christ. Was he human? Was he divine? Was he both? If he was both, was he two separate beings, one divine and one human? Or was he one being who was simultaneously human and divine? These are questions that were eventually resolved in the creeds that were formulated and then handed down even till today, creeds that insist that there is ‘one Lord Jesus Christ’ who is both fully God and fully man. Before these determinations came to be made, there were widespread disagreements, and these disputes affected our texts of scripture. ” [2]

Regarding willful changes in the New Testament and evidence for where Jesus is made to be god in the New Testament, Prof. Bart Ehrman wrote:

“In 1715 Wettstein went to England (as part of a literary tour) and was given full access to the Codex Alexandrinus, which we have already heard about in relation to Bentley. One portion of the manuscript particularly caught Wettstein’s attention: it was one of those tiny matters with enormous implications. It involved the text of a key passage in the book of1 Timothy. The passage in question, 1Tim. 3:16, had long been used by advocates of orthodox theology to support the view that the New Testament itself calls Jesus God. For the text, in most manuscripts, refers to Christ as ‘God made manifest in the flesh, and justified in the Spirit.’ As I pointed out in chapter 3, most manuscripts abbreviate sacred names (the so-called nomina sacra), and that is the case here as well, where the Greek word God (Θ ∑O∑) is abbreviated in two letters, theta and sigma (Θ∑), with a line drawn over the top to indicate that it is an abbreviation. What Wettstein noticed in examining Codex Alexandrinus was that the line over the top had been drawn in a different ink from the surrounding words, and so appeared to be from a later hand (i.e., written by a later scribe). Moreover, the horizontal line in the middle of the first letter, Θ, was not actually a part of the letter but was a line that had bled through from the other side of the old vellum. In other words, rather than being the abbreviation (theta-sigma) for ‘God’ (Θ∑), the word was actually an omicron and a sigma (O∑), a different word altogether, which simply means ‘who.’ The original reading of the manuscript thus did not speak of Christ as ‘God made manifest in the flesh’ but of Christ ‘who was made manifest in the flesh.’ According to the ancient testimony of the Codex Alexandrinus, Christ is no longer explicitly called God in this passage. As Wettstein continued his investigations, he found other passages typically used to affirm the doctrine of the divinity of Christ that in fact represented textual problems; when these problems are resolved on text-critical grounds, in most instances references to Jesus’s divinity are taken away. This happens, for example, when the famous Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8) is removed from the text. And it happens in a passage in Acts 20:28, which in many manuscripts speaks of “the Church of God, which he obtained by his own blood.” Here again, Jesus ap¬pears to be spoken of as God. But in Codex Alexandrinus and some other manuscripts, the text instead speaks of ‘the Church of the Lord, which he obtained by his own blood.’ Now Jesus is called the Lord, but he is not explicitly identified as God.” [3]

Video clips to reveal the vulnerabilities of the Bible

Bart Ehrman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cK3Ry_icJo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Trt1ZWR5PqQ

Ahmad Deedat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5pZEJgbvqA&feature=fvwrel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToknyVdgvdc&feature=fvwrel

Video clips of the Christian apologists and Evangelists confessing that the Bible is not literally true

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip_GstH0ywY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cobVbGs5yXM&feature=related

Some confessions from Daniel B Wallace:

How could the original Gospel of Mark omit something as fundamental to Christianity as the resurrection story; it only mentions an empty tomb. Most New Testament scholars now agree that the last 12 verses in Mark are a later addition. The fact is that the resurrection story was not in the original Gospel of Mark, plain and simple. But, of course it is hard to convince those who are obsessed with the person of Jesus of Nazareth within the same generation. I will be vindicated by future generations will shy away from the shameless tactics of the Christian apologists, just like the Christian faith has been constantly changing colors like a chameleon since the Enlightenment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEh_oe_LUkQ&feature=related

Consider watching a 3-4 hour documentary by History channel Banned from the Bible part I and part II:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3D28Ys-dp4 (Banned from the Bible Part 1/12)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i57BB0IGWE (Banned from the Bible II Part 1/12)

References

1. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/222234/Christian-fundamentalism/2530/Origins

2. Bart Ehrman. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Harper One, 2007. Page 154.

3.  Bart Ehrman. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Harper One, 2007. Pages 113-114.

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When we look at the following information about sola scripturain in light of the above, what follows becomes terribly irrelevant and spurious:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the theological concept. For the Neal Morse album, see Sola Scriptura (album).

Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, “by scripture alone”) is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture. However, sola scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today (see Five solas).

During the Reformation, authentication of scripture was governed by the discernible excellence of the text as well as the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to the heart of each man. Furthermore, per sola scriptura, the relationship of Scriptural authority to pastoral care was well exampled by the Westminster Confession of Faith which stated:

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Here the phrase “due use of the ordinary means” includes appeals to pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-14). As such, sola scriptura reflects a careful tension between the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture necessary for its role as final authority, and the occasional need for its meaning to be revealed by exposition (Hebrews 5:12).

Beyond the Reformation, as in some Evangelical and Baptist denominations, sola scriptura is stated even more strongly: it is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.

By contrast, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches teach that the Scriptures are not the only infallible source of Christian doctrine. For them Scripture is but one of three equal authorities; the other two being Sacred Tradition and the episcopacy. These churches also believe that the Church has authority to establish or restrict interpretation of Scriptures because, in part, it implicitly selected which books were to be in the biblical canon through its traditions, whereas Protestants believe the Church passively recognized and received the books that were already widely considered canonical.[1]

Contents

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 Overview

Sola scriptura is one of the five solas, considered by some Protestant groups to be the theological pillars of the Reformation.[2] The key implication of the principle is that interpretations and applications of the Scriptures do not have the same authority as the Scriptures themselves; hence, the ecclesiastical authority is viewed as subject to correction by the Scriptures, even by an individual member of the Church.

Luther said, “a simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it”. The intention of the Reformation was to correct the perceived errors of the Catholic Church by appeal to the uniqueness of the Bible’s authority and to reject what Catholics considered to be Apostolic Tradition as a source of original authority alongside the Bible, wherever Tradition did not have biblical support or where it supposedly contradicted Scripture.

Sola scriptura, however, does not ignore Christian history and tradition when seeking to understand the Bible. Rather, it sees the Bible as the only final authority in matters of faith and practice. As Martin Luther said, “The true rule is this: God’s Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so.”[3]

The term heretical is commonly used by Protestants who denounce teachings and institutions that they accordingly view as deviating from Scripture.

[edit] Characteristics in Lutheranism

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Lutherans believe that the holy Bible of the Old and New Testaments is the only divinely inspired book and the only source of divinely revealed knowledge.[4] Scripture alone is the formal principle of the faith, the final authority for all matters of faith and morals because of its inspiration, authority, clarity, efficacy, and sufficiency.[5]

Luther’s translation of the Bible, from 1534

Inspiration

The Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but every word of it is, because of verbal inspiration, the direct, immediate word of God.[6] As Lutherans confess in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit “spoke through the prophets”. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession identifies Holy Scripture with the Word of God[7] and calls the Holy Spirit the author of the Bible.[8] Because of this, Lutherans confess in the Formula of Concord, “we receive and embrace with our whole heart the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the pure, clear fountain of Israel.”[9] The apocryphal books were not written by the prophets, by inspiration; they contain errors[10] were never included in the Palestinian Canon that Jesus used,[11] and therefore are not a part of Holy Scripture.[12] The prophetic and apostolic Scriptures are authentic as written by the prophets and apostles. A correct translation of their writings is God’s Word because it has the same meaning as the original Hebrew and Greek.[12] A mistranslation is not God’s word, and no human authority can invest it with divine authority.[12]

“I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach…”[13] This illustration is from the title page of Luther’s Bible.

 Divine authority

Holy Scripture, the Word of God, carries the full authority of God. Every single statement of the Bible calls for instant, unqualified and unrestricted acceptance.[14] Every doctrine of the Bible is the teaching of God and therefore requires full agreement.[15] Every promise of the Bible calls for unshakable trust in its fulfillment.[16] Every command of the Bible is the directive of God himself and therefore demands willing observance. [17]

Clarity

Main article: Clarity of scripture

The Bible presents all doctrines and commands of the Christian faith clearly.[18] God’s Word is freely accessible to every reader or hearer of ordinary intelligence, without requiring any special education.[19] Of course, one must understand the language God’s Word is presented in, and not be so preoccupied by contrary thoughts so as to prevent understanding.[20] As a result of this, no one needs to wait for any clergy, and pope, scholar, or ecumenical council to explain the real meaning of any part of the Bible.[21]

Law and Grace, by Lucas Cranach. The left side shows our condemnation under God’s law, while the right side presents God’s grace in Christ.

Efficacy

Scripture is united with the power of the Holy Spirit and with it, not only demands, but also creates the acceptance of its teaching.[22] This teaching produces faith and obedience. Holy Scripture is not a dead letter, but rather, the power of the Holy Spirit is inherent in it.[23] Scripture does not compel a mere intellectual assent to its doctrine, resting on logical argumentation, but rather it creates the living agreement of faith.[24] As the Smalcald Articles affirm, “in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word.”[25]

Sufficiency

The Bible contains everything that one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life.[26] There are no deficiencies in Scripture that need to be filled with by tradition, pronouncements of the Pope, new revelations, or present-day development of doctrine.[27]

 Prima scriptura

Sola scriptura may be contrasted with prima scriptura, which holds that, besides canonical scripture, there are other guides for what a believer should believe, and how he or she should live. Examples of this include the general revelation in creation, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else. Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will, that do not originate from canonized scripture, are in a second place, perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures.

Sola scriptura rejects any original infallible authority, other than the Bible. In this view, all secondary authority is derived from the authority of the Scriptures and is therefore subject to reform when compared to the teaching of the Bible. Church councils, preachers, biblical commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach. Even though most Protestants look at scripture alone and no other authority, some[who?] say that the Bible itself teaches against sola scriptura. They believe that if a person believes in the whole Bible then that person cannot not believe in sola scriptura. These theologians believe that those following the concepts of sola scriptura have personally perverted the meaning of either the Bible or sola scriptura. They point to passages in Book of Kings, Book of Chronicles, and Epistle of Jude 9 which refer to writings such as the Assumption of Moses that are not part of the Bible.(See Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible)

 Singular authority of Scripture

The idea of the singular authority of Scripture is the motivation behind much of the Protestant effort to translate the Bible into vernacular languages and distribute it widely. Protestants generally believe each Christian should read the Bible for themselves and evaluate what they have been taught on the basis of it. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, motivated by their belief that authoritative doctrine can also come from tradition, have been more active in translating them as well as the Bible into the vernacular languages, though this has not always been the case. Traditions of these non-Protestant churches include the Bible, patristic, conciliar, and liturgical texts. Even prior to the Protestant movement, hundreds of vernacular translations of the Bible and liturgical materials were translated throughout the preceding sixteen centuries. Some Bible translations such as the Geneva Bible included annotations and commentary that were anti-Roman Catholic. Before the Protestant Reformation, Latin was almost exclusively utilized but it was understood by only the most literate.

According to sola scriptura, the Church does not speak infallibly in its traditions, but only in Scripture. As John Wesley stated in the 18th century, “In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.”[28] For this reason, sola scriptura is called the formal cause or principle of the Reformation.

Protestants argue that the Scriptures are guaranteed to remain true to their divine source; and, thus, only insofar as the Church retains scriptural faith is it assured of God’s favor. Following such an argument, if the Church were to fall away from faith through Scripture (a possibility which Roman Catholics deny but Protestants affirm), its authority would be negated. Therefore, the early Protestants argued for the elimination of traditions and doctrines they believed were based on distortions of Scripture, or were contrary to the Bible, but which the Roman Catholic Church considered scripturally-based aspects of the Christian faith, such as transubstantiation, the doctrine of purgatory, the veneration of images or icons, and especially the doctrine that the Pope in Rome is the head of the Church on earth (Papal supremacy). (Roman Catholics[citation needed] point to verses such as John 6:51 (transubstantiation), 1 Cor 3:15 (purgatory), Numbers 21:8 (icons), John 21:17 (Papal supremacy) to argue these are biblical doctrines.)

However, the Reformers believed some tradition to be very seriously in conflict with the Scriptures: especially, with regard to teaching about the Church itself, but also touching on basic principles of the Gospel. They believed that no matter how venerable the traditional source, traditional authority is always open to question by comparison to what the Scriptures say. The individual may be forced to rely on his understanding of Scripture even if the whole tradition were to speak against him. This, they said, had always been implicitly recognized in the Church, and remains a fail-safe against the corruption of the Church by human error and deceit. Corruptions had crept in, the Reformers said, which seriously undermined the legitimate authority of the Church, and Tradition had been perverted by wicked men.

Sola scriptura is a doctrine that is not, in the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6 “expressly set down in scripture”. However, it is claimed that it passes the second test of being part of “the whole counsel of God” because it is “deduced from scripture” “by good and necessary consequence”, citing passages such as Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”. Jesus is also typically understood by Protestants as expressly nullifying unscriptural traditions in the (Jewish) church, when he says, for example in Mark 7:13: “thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Scripture and Sacred Tradition

The Catholic Church whence the Protestant Church broke away, and against which they directed these arguments, did not see Scripture and the Sacred Tradition of the faith as different sources of authority, but that Scripture was handed down as part of Sacred Tradition (see 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Timothy 2:2). Accepted traditions were also perceived by the Church as cohesive in nature. The proper interpretation of the Scriptures was seen as part of the faith of the Church, and seen indeed as the manner in which Biblical authority was upheld (see Book of Acts 15:28-29). The meaning of Scripture was seen as proven from the Faith universally held in the churches (see Phil 2:1, Acts 4:32), and the correctness of that universal Faith was seen as proven from the Scriptures and apostolic Sacred Tradition (see 2 The 2:15, 2 The 3:6, 1 Corinthians 11:2). The Biblical canon itself was thus viewed by the Church as part of the Church’s Tradition, as defined by its leadership and acknowledged by its laity.

However, this view of scripture and tradition was not universally accepted. Throughout the history of the Church, movements have arisen within the Church or alongside of it which have disputed the official interpretation of the Scriptures. The leaders of these movements were sometimes labeled heretics and their doctrines were rejected. According to Irenaeus, the Judaistic Ebionites charged less than one hundred years after the Apostles that the Christians overruled the authority of Scripture by failing to keep the Mosaic Law (see also Biblical law in Christianity). Later, Arius (250336), once he had been made a presbyter in Alexandria, began arguing that the teaching concerning the deity of Christ was an invention of men not found in Scripture and not believed by the Early Christians.

See also the recent Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Catholic Dei Verbum and Providentissimus Deus by Leo XIII and Divino Afflante Spiritu by Pius XII.

Legacy

Sola scriptura continues to be a doctrinal commitment of conservative branches and offshoots of the Lutheran churches, Reformed churches, and Baptist churches as well as other Protestants, especially where they describe themselves by the slogan “Bible-believing” (See Fundamentalism).

 See also

References

  1. ^ W. Robert Godfrey. “What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?”. In Don Kistler. Sola Scriptura! The Protestant Position on the Bible. Soli Deo Gloria. ISBN 1567691838. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  2. ^ Michael Horton (Mar/April 1994). “Reformation Essentials”. Modern Reformation. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  3. ^ Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles II, 15.
  4. ^ For the traditional Lutheran view of the Bible, see Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 3ff.. ISBN 0524048916.. For an overview of the doctrine of verbal inspiration in Lutheranism, see Inspiration, Doctrine of in the Christian Cyclopedia.
  5. ^ Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 7ff. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 29.
  6. ^ 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 3:2, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Samuel 23:2, Hebrews 1:1, John 10:35, John 16:13, John 17:17, Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 26.
  7. ^ “God’s Word, or Holy Scripture” from the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article II, of Original Sin
  8. ^ “the Scripture of the Holy Ghost.” Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Preface, 9
  9. ^ The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, “Rule and Norm”, 3.
  10. ^ (Tobit 6, 71; 2 Macc. 12, 43 f.; 14, 411),
  11. ^ See Bible, Canon in the Christian Cyclopedia
  12. ^ a b c Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 27.
  13. ^ Revelation 14:6
  14. ^ Matthew 4:3, Luke 4:3, Genesis 3:1, John 10:35, Luke 24:25, Psalm 119:140, Psalm 119:167, Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 27., Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0524048916.
  15. ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Luke 24:25-27, Luke 16:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Jeremiah 8:9, Jeremiah 23:26, Isaiah 8:19-20, 1 Corinthians 14:37, Galatians 1:8, Acts 17:11, Acts 15:14-15, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 8–10. ISBN 0524048916.
  16. ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 1:20, Titus 1:2-3, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Peter 1:19, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0524048916.
  17. ^ Deuteronomy 12:32, Deuteronomy 5:9-10, James 2:10, Joshua 1:8, Luke 16:29, 2 Timothy 3:16, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 8–11. ISBN 0524048916.
  18. ^ Psalm 19:8, Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:130, 2 Timothy 3:15, Deuteronomy 30:11, 2 Peter 1:19, Ephesians 3:3-4, John 8:31-32, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, John 8:43-47, 2 Peter 3:15-16, Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 29., Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0524048916.
  19. ^ Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 11. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  20. ^ Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 11. ISBN 0524048916.
  21. ^ Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  22. ^ Romans 1:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 11. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 27.
  23. ^ Romans 1:16, 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Psalm 119:105, 2 Peter 1:19, 2 Timothy 1:16-17,Ephesians 3:3-4, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  24. ^ John 6:63, Revelation 1:3, Ephesians 3:3-4, John 7:17, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 12. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  25. ^ Smalcald Articles, part 8, “Of Confession”
  26. ^ 2 Timothy 3:15-17, John 5:39, John 17:20, Psalm 19:7-8, Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  27. ^ Isaiah 8:20, Luke 16:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 13. ISBN 0524048916., Engelder, Theodore E.W. (1934). Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. p. 28.
  28. ^ Popery Calmly Considered (1779) in The works of the Rev. John Wesley, vol. XV, p. 180, London (1812), digitized by Google Books

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