Explanation of Sola Scriptura


#1

Can a Protestant on the board recommend me a good website, book, or article that thoroughly explains (rather than defends) sola scriptura (or, if one of you wants to give it a shot here, go ahead)? I want to know EXACTLY what you mean by it. Obviously, I don’t think most Protestants (though maybe a few do) mean that we put aside our reason and the basic principles of logic, or that we should look at scripture wholly without considering the history of Christian philosophy and theology. I just want a clear definition that fits the standard protestant mold.


#2

I’m marking this as I am really interested in the responses…:slight_smile:


#3

ABostonCatholic,

I’m not Protestant, but I can tell you, from my own research, that there is no single doctrine or viewpoint on sola scriptura in the Protestant churches. From what I’ve read, the sola scriptura one finds in most evangelical communities today is radically different from the sola scriptura of the Reformers, who in fact did not reject all traditions as contrary to Biblical interpretation. Recently I have spoken with some Lutheran theologians of the Missouri Synod, and they have made it clear to me that their understanding of sola scriptura is not the same as that found in, say, a local Baptist church.

The Shape of Sola Scriptura, by Keith A. Mathison, has been referred to me, although I have yet to read it.


#4

Sola Scriptura! The Protestant Position on the Bible
Don Kistler, General Editor
Soli Deo Gloria Publications

Chapter 1 “What do we mean by Sola Scriptura?”

“The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand.”

And an earlier quote I like:
“Roman Catholics believe we Protestants departed from the church in the sixteenth century. Protestant Catholics believed they departed earlier.”


Sola Scriptura . . .
#5

Thank you. Any more recommendations?


#6

The problem with this remains that Scripture in and of itself is part of our deposit of faith. The other part is the Apostolic Tradition that acknowledged this canon of the New Testament. Sola Scriptura seems to assume an eternal canon. And the other issue with this position presents the problem of interpretation. One can clearly see that “bible only” Christians remain divided on doctrinal issues. The range includes liturgical worship to fundamentalistic ideas of a Jesus and me relationship.

I know that the OP isn’t looking for Catholic positions but I just felt the need to comment on the position quoted above. God Bless…teachccd :slight_smile:


#7

The problem with Sola Scriptura is that people who only believed in Sola Scriptura in 34AD couldn’t be saved becasue the gosples weren’t written yet.

We know people were saved before the New Testament was written. How did people know how to baptize–how to conduct the Eucharist–how to do anything before the scriptures were written–things that were necessary for salvation?

They knew from the Oral Tradition passed on by the disciples.

Jesus taught the disciples much more than what is only written in the New Testament.

Those thing He orly tught them that were not yet written down in the bible were Authoritative because Jesus said “Whoever receives you receives me” and “The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth”.

Without authoritative oral tradition there would have been no Pentecost with Peter preaching. The church could not have been born without authoritative oral tradition.


#8

Right you are, Jerry-Jet,

And to respectfully extend that, by pointing out that may of the “letters” of the New Testament were written to existing churches. For sola scriptura, that’s quite a mind-boggling time warp.

The evidence, too, is that scripture can’t be the only authority, because it if was, there wouldn’t be so many churches in existence disagreeing with one another.

I may happen, but we don’t commonly hear anywhere of churches collapsing together in unity. Historically, it’s been the reverse.

Gosh, if the Bible Church down the street from me is the “real” church, then wow, hardly anybody’s saved, are they?

I have developed longer posts against sola scriptura, there are weighty arguments against it. You’d have to search through my previous posts to get the full load. (it’s worth the effort.)

Search on Rabbi Wolpe, too.


#9

Just to stay on topic, I want to hear protestant explanations of SS, not apologetics one way or the other.


#10

One such explanation on the world-wide Family Radio Network,by its president Harold Camping, which he repeated over and over again was simply this:

The Bible alone and in its entirety is the word of God.

That’s it. In other words, There is no authority other than the Bible, according to him.

As an example, after the resurrection, Acts 20:17 says the apostles meeting on “the first day of the week.”

So, that, and nothing else, is the justification for Christian worship on Sunday, rather than the Sabbath. Now, you and I would point out that the apostles were meeting and breaking bread on Sunday BEFORE that verse was written, but Camping was insensitive to that. He wouldn’t acknowledge that the Word of God was in an oral tradition before it was written down, or anything like that.

He also uses Rev 22:18 about 'not adding to the words of this book(or scroll)" in the broadest possible way, meaning not to look for or assert any divine revelation outside of “this book” that is the Bible.

I would know exactly what to quote from Martin Luther, but I believe that he was one of the “big guns” for SS.


#11

The United Methodist Church is not truly sola scriptura, this is because we affirm that “the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.” This is known among Methodists as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. But make no mistake, we do not see these four arms as equal. We still understand scripture as primary.

In our Articles of Religion it states:

The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary for salvation; so taht whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary for salvation.

Now, whereas a poster above has criticized this sort of view on the grounds that: “people who only believed in Sola Scriptura in 34AD couldn’t be saved becasue the gosples weren’t written yet.” This is not a concern of the United Methodist Church. Our concern is how to help people think theologically today. How do we help them know what is and isn’t important with respect to salvation or any other article of faith. The answer is we turn to scripture informed by tradition, experience and reason. However, I would respond by saying that the early church did have scripture, it was the Old Testament. They had experience, the experience of the disciples with Jesus. They had the traditions of Judaism. And as we see in the book of Acts they were informed as to how apply these elements to their daily lives by reason. One of the results of that process was the production of the New Testament scriptures which, when set down, become the rule of faith (for that is what canon means, rule) by which all other things must be judged. Thus if it isn’t in the scriptures (Old or New), or cannot be shown to be true from them, then it may or may not be true, but we do not hold it to be sufficiently clear enough to make it an item of doctrine.


#12

The problem is that Sola Scriptura has no system.
Sola Scriptura doesn’t render one’s private judgment infallible, because the man’s natural intellectual powers are corrupted.

Sola Scriptura requires a great deal of erudition, learning, compatance in Biblical exegesis- only a small scholars elite have a faintest chance of reaching the exact definition of the Biblical Doctrines, and even that elite’s attempts- can not bring the full knowledge, just because - Scripture is insufficient when it is separated from the Catholic Tradition.

According to the Sola Scriptura - the Holly Spirit leads the people to the different denominations ( by their hard prayers)
And all those denominations are right .( according to the practice of this principle.)
That’s only few of the reasons , why Sola Scriptura is wrong doctrine.


#13

From the Westminster Confession of Faith

I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;[1] yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.[2] Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church;[3] and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing;[4] which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;[5] those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.[6]

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[10] And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.[11]

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:[13] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[14]

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] 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.[16]
{/QUOTE]

reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/


#14

The Second Helvetic Confession

I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;[1] yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.[2] Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church;[3] and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing;[4] which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;[5] those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.[6]

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[10] And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.[11]
VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:[13] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[14]
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] 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.[16]

creeds.net/reformed/helvetic/index.htm


#15

Chapter 2 - Of Interpreting the Holy Scriptures; and of Fathers, Councils, and Traditions
The True Interpretation of Scripture. The apostle Peter has said that the Holy Scriptures are not of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20), and thus we do not allow all possible interpretations. Nor consequently do we acknowledge as the true or genuine interpretation of the Scriptures what is called the conception of the Roman Church, that is, what the defenders of the Roman Church plainly maintain should be thrust upon all for acceptance. But we hold that interpretation of the Scripture to be orthodox and genuine which is gleaned from the Scriptures themselves (from the nature of the language in which they were written, likewise according to the circumstances in which they were set down, and expounded in the light of like and unlike passages and of many and clearer passages) and which agree with the rule of faith and love, and contributes much to the glory of God and man’s salvation.
Interpretations of the Holy Fathers. Wherefore we do not despise the interpretations of the holy Greek and Latin fathers, nor reject their disputations and treatises concerning sacred matters as far as they agree with the Scriptures; but we modestly dissent from them when they are found to set down things differing from, or altogether contrary to, the Scriptures. Neither do we think that we do them any wrong in this matter; seeing that they all, with one consent, will not have their writings equated with the canonical Scriptures, but command us to prove how far they agree or disagree with them, and to accept what is in agreement and to reject what is in disagreement.
Councils. And in the same order also we place the decrees and canons of councils.
Wherefore we do not permit ourselves, in controversies about religion or matters of faith, to urge our case with only the opinions of the fathers or decrees of councils; much less by received customs, or by the large number who share the same opinion, or by the prescription of a long time. Who is the judge? Therefore, we do not admit any other judge than God himself, who proclaims by the Holy Scriptures what is true, what is false, what is to be followed, or what to be avoided. So we do assent to the judgments of spiritual men which are drawn from the Word of God. Certainly Jeremiah and other prophets vehemently condemned the assemblies of priests which were set up against the law of God; and diligently admonished us that we should not listen to the fathers, or tread in their path who, walking in their own inventions, swerved from the law of God.
Traditions of Men. Likewise we reject human traditions, even if they be adorned with high-sounding titles, as though they were divine and apostolical, delivered to the Church by the living voice of the apostles, and, as it were, through the hands of apostolical men to succeeding bishops which, when compared with the Scriptures, disagree with them; and by their disagreement show that they are not apostolic at all. For as the apostles did not contradict themselves in doctrine, so the apostolic men did not set forth things contrary to the apostles. On the contrary, it would be wicked to assert that the apostles by a living voice delivered anything contrary to their writings. Paul affirms expressly that he taught the same things in all churches (1 Cor. 4:17). And, again, “For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand.” (2 Cor. 1:13). Also, in another place, he testifies that he and his disciples–that is, apostolic men–walked in the same way, and jointly by the same Spirit did all things (2 Cor. 12:18). Moreover, the Jews in former times had the traditions of their elders; but these traditions were severely rejected by the Lord, indicating that the keeping of them hinders God’s law, and that God is worshipped in vain by such traditions (Matt. 15:1ff.; Mark 7:1 ff.).


#16

The London Baptist Confession of Faith

1._____ The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
( 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3; Hebrews 1:1; Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20 )

creeds.net/baptists/1689/original/1689bc.html


#17

I do not want to believe that Apostolic Church did not exist for a 15 centuries.
I do not want to believe that Apostolic Church is the Church who took from Catholicism all the doctrines of Salvation and took from Catholicism their Scriptures.

The Apostolic Church who is so multiple and contradictive in its interpretations that is so far from the spiritual health of the societies, as the unity far from the disunity .
The apostolic church who doesn’t believe in the salvation of society, because by its multiple truths it makes the people indifferent to religion rather than letting it guide their lives.

Is Your apostolic church able to withstand against the spirit of time, and knows the way of settling doctrinal issue definitely, or it just can to count of how many scholars, Bible commentators take such and such a view on doctrines ?

Is Your apostolic Church not compromised morally ? ( by divorce, contraception,sexual liberties)

Did it build the European Civilization ?

Does it has the best view of Church relation to the state and culture ?
Does it has the most sophisticated and thoughtful Christian socio-political philosophy and worldview ?
Does Your Apostolic Church has the Sublime Spirituality and devotional spirit by Your pastors ?

If the Holy Spirit guides Your Church , why You have so many names and roads for salvation ?
Why so many people coming to the different conclusions of what is right in the Bible, and so many people are lost in the labyrinths of denominations ?
Why it constantly and unnecessary reinvents the wheel ?

Does it has the Unity which would make the Christianity and Jesus more believable to the world ?

Is it invisible ?
But where in the Bible You can find this notion about the invisible Church ?


#18

The Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has existed for almost 2000 years. Protestants and others (JW, LDS) have taken from the united church only what suited their needs and rejected everything else. This is a “feel-good” approach to attract a religious community. Scripture specifically states that the gate to Heaven is a narrow one and that the road to it is paved with good intentions.

The Apostolic Church who is so multiple and contradictive in its interpretations that is so far from the spiritual health of the societies, as the unity far from the disunity .
The apostolic church who doesn’t believe in the salvation of society, because by its multiple truths it makes the people indifferent to religion rather than letting it guide their lives.

The Church is not multiple. Others have left it. Like the parable of the prodigal son, we await their return. “Societies” are works of man, God’s, and hence the RCC’s, interest is the salvation of the individual.

Is Your apostolic church able to withstand against the spirit of time, and knows the way of settling doctrinal issue definitely, or it just can to count of how many scholars, Bible commentators take such and such a view on doctrines ?

Yes. The Church has prevailed against the assaults on the gates, just as Jesus promised it would. Scripture does not change, how we (the body of the Church) view Scripture has changed as we matured as human beings. This has lead to many ecumenical councils over the years to correct doctrine based on earlier, invalid assumptions of scriptural meaning.

Is Your apostolic Church not compromised morally ? ( by divorce, contraception,sexual liberties)

Humans can be compromised morally, the Church cannot (see Christ’s assurance about the gates).

Did it build the European Civilization?

Yes. For details see the book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.

Does it has the best view of Church relation to the state and culture?

Yes. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

Does it has the most sophisticated and thoughtful Christian socio-political philosophy and worldview?
Does Your Apostolic Church has the Sublime Spirituality and devotional spirit by Your pastors ?

Yes. Catholicism transcends socio-political bounds and has some 1.2 billion+ members worldwide. If we include the Orthodox and other near-Catholics in this, the number is closer to 1.6 billion.

If the Holy Spirit guides Your Church , why You have so many names and roads for salvation?

Because different people respond to different word usages: so the message is repeated in serveral different ways. This was intentional, even the four Gospels of the NT were directed to different audiences.

Why so many people coming to the different conclusions of what is right in the Bible, and so many people are lost in the labyrinths of denominations? Why it constantly and unnecessary reinvents the wheel?

Because too many followed in the wake of the likes of Calvin, Wesley, Luther, Muhammad, Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell.

Does it has the Unity which would make the Christianity and Jesus more believable to the world?

Yes. See the citation of numbers above.

Is it invisible?

No. It was never intended to be invisible.

But where in the Bible You can find this notion about the invisible Church?

Nowhere. At least not without gross misinterpretation of the Scripture.


#19

1, They cant provide any evidence they did leave earlier
2. They cant prove Scripture supports Sola Scriptura
3. They cant find any evidence that Sola Scriptura was supported by anyone prior to the "reformation"
4. There is no way to tell who’s personal interperation is correct
5. Sola Scriptura works only in a literate society where Scripture is readily avaible-which excludes 99% of Christians who lived before the 15th century.


#20

There were heretical groups that maintained this prior to the Reformation. Such heretical notions were dismissed by the early church fathers.


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