[quote=b_justb]I see your question hinging on the word “only.” Is the Bible our only Infallible Authority?
I say: No.
I base that upon these givens, that many may disagree with, but I hold them as tenants of my faith:
Jesus Christ is the Divine Revelation to mankind. Sacred Scripture does not record everything about that Revelation, for if it did there would be no reason to search beyond what is contained therein. There would be no need or reason to pray, or to meditate upon the mysteries of Christ. There would be just reading of Scripture.
These Scriptures (especially here the Christian Scriptures) were not written until well after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. If the supposition of the Bible being the only Infallible Authority were true there would be an infallible list of those Scriptures contained within the same Scriptures. Such a list does not exist. Therefore, there had to be an outside influence that was acted upon to come to that list of what is and what is not Scripture. From history we know that lists of Scriptures for Christians began in the first Century with Pope Clement shortly after the Jewish Rabbinical Council of Jamnia (about AD 85). His list was preserved in antiquity and handed down and it was expounded on until the 4th century when St. Augustine spearheaded several Local Synods in Northern Africa, where we have the Catholic Canon listed in its entirety and signed by Pope Sylvester. This was further established dogmatically by the Council of Trent.
If we hold to the idea that the Bible our only Infallible Authority then we:
can’t be sure if the Bible as we have it today is complete because no list of books is contained in the bible
pass judgment upon all the Christian souls that came before the 4th century that didn’t have a complete canon list – who or what then did they place as their “Infallible Authority” as Scripture Canon was not determined as of yet?
Both of these conclusions, in my opinion, are very poor. Since they are based upon the premise of Sola Scriptura, I find the idea of Sola Scriptura illogical and therefore false.
The “outside influence” that determined what was part of the NT canon was the Holy Spirit, not some council. Those earlier councils merely formalized what was already in evidence in the churches, as those church leaders obeyed the discernment of the Spirit regarding which letters were God-breathed, which were helpful but not inspired (e.g.: Sherpherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, Didache) and which were forgeries (e.g.: Acts of Paul). God did this once before with the OT canon; there was no reason He could not do this again with the NT canon. Consider also: Peter had already declared Paul’s letters as equal with OT scripture in the FIRST century in 2 Peter 3:15-17; it is also not unreasonable to believe that the Apostle John, who lived until 100 AD, helped determine which NT writings were truly scripture (he continue to govern the churches of Asia after his exile at Patmos—see Ecclesiatical History chapter 23); the early church DID have scriptures while the NT was being written and collected—you may remember the Old Testament, which was quoted quite a bit in the NT. Jesus made it clear that the OT testified of Him (see John 5:46 and Luke 24:27).
I made other points about sola scriptura in another post on this thread, so I won’t repeat a lot of it here. I will only state that sola scriptura is far from “illogical.” The Apostle John states it best: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; **but these have been written ** so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” What we have in the OT and NT is all the revelation we need as the final authority for our faith and morals.