I’m chatting with a guy i met in one of catholic answers forums in facebook and I asked him this:
just curious, if you believe in sola scriptura, how do you settle disputes among differing interpretation of a passage?
Then he goes on to reply this:
Your assuming problems must yield negative or produce negative results. An Example from scripture in which this is not the case= Genesis 50:20… God’s intent is good though man’s is evil… or a historical example = the response to Marcions truncation of Scripture.
I do certainly agree there are poor hermeneutics applied to scripture among many, MANY evangelicals but doctrine among churches that actually take their authority from the word (which are few) is not affected. If you would say then “well if they differ at all thats proof of is invalidity…”. We know that can’t be as well… if there are thousands of variant manuscript NT books written before a Vulgate, Eds. of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, the “TR”, et al would be in perpetual “dispute” as well. My point here is that “dispute”, even as history has shown, has encouraged reform or clarification/solidification of already held doctrines (a recent example here in the states is the Nashville Statement) on the subject in dispute… the example I gave prior was Arius and the council of Nicea… here again we see the church meeting for why? Not because they came to, on a whim, decide what proper Christian doctrine was… but actually a response to the heresy of that time. This point is important because these men did not suddenly decide what should be included in the canon. That’s wasn’t the problem in the first place. In other words, everyone knew scripture taught Christ is God… they came there to solidify teachings on the trinity.
And I have heard many Catholics use the argument “well see! They have no authoritative body so that’s why there are so many denominations and they are so divided!” And then I get that 30000 denominations figure thrown at me. Nope. that number is straight up lie. It’s a dishonest attempt to simply justify a position. That number is indeed high but includes groups that even remotely mention Christ in their doctrine… ie, gnostic groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons… heck, even Catholic groups are included in that number.
So yeah. The exhortation to disputes then is a biblical one.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NASBS
1 John 4:1 NASBS
Hebrews 5:14 NASBS
Romans 12:2 NASBS
In scripture it is very clear the God doesn’t just “appoint” an answer to be fed to His sheep… He expects diligent study of His words so that His people may use wisdom and discernment to detect error.
James 1:5 NASBS
So the exhortation to accurately use it… as not all do I admit.
2 Timothy 2:15 NASBS
I suppose if I put it bluntly… depending on one authority body or council other than scripture to rule on a dispute… instead of being a Berean and searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11)
… is laziness, irresponsible, and dangerous… it makes one susceptible to false teaching and error
your thoughts? Thank you in advance