From An Evangelical Manifesto: Sola Scriptura Discussion


#1

As Evangelicals have pursued this vision over the centuries, they have prized above all certain beliefs that we consider to be at the heart of the message of Jesus and therefore foundational for us — the following seven above all:

First, we believe that Jesus Christ is fully God become fully human, the unique, sure, and sufficient revelation of the very being, character, and purposes of God, beside whom there is no other god, and beside whom there is no other name by which we must be saved.

Second, we believe that the only ground for our acceptance by God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross and what he is now doing through his risen life, whereby he exposed and reversed the course of human sin and violence, bore the penalty for our sins, credited us with his righteousness, redeemed us from the power of evil, reconciled us to God, and empowers us with his life ―from above.‖ We therefore bring nothing to our salvation. Credited with the righteousness of Christ, we receive his redemption solely by grace through faith.

Third, we believe that new life, given supernaturally through spiritual regeneration, is a necessity as well as a gift; and that the lifelong conversion that results is the only pathway to a radically changed character and way of life. Thus for us, the only sufficient power for a life of Christian faithfulness and moral integrity in this world is that of Christ’s resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, we believe that Jesus’ own teaching and his attitude toward the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible, God’s inspired Word, make the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice.

Fifth, we believe that being disciples of Jesus means serving him as Lord in every sphere of our lives, secular as well as spiritual, public as well as private, in deeds as well as words, and in every moment of our days on earth, always reaching out as he did to those who are lost as well as to the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, the socially despised, and being faithful stewards of creation and our fellow-creatures.

Sixth, we believe that the blessed hope of the personal return of Jesus provides both strength and substance to what we are doing, just as what we are doing becomes a sign of the hope of where we are going; both together leading to a consummation of history and the fulfillment of an undying kingdom that comes only by the power of God.

Seventh, we believe all followers of Christ are called to know and love Christ through worship, love Christ’s family through fellowship, grow like Christ through discipleship, serve Christ by ministering to the needs of others in his name, and share Christ with those who do not yet know him, inviting people to the ends of the earth and to the end of time to join us as his disciples and followers of his way. At the same time, we readily acknowledge that we repeatedly fail to live up to our high calling, and all too often illustrate the truth of our own doctrine of sin. We Evangelicals share the same ―crooked timber of our humanity, and the full catalogue of our sins, failures, and hypocrisies. This is no secret either to God or to those who know and watch us.

all evangelicals believe. thats what matters.The problem there is that (again) there is a difference in profession between individual “Evangelical” groups and communities, but at least it gives us all a point at which to begin talking, right?

My personal issue with that list is going to be the fourth statement.

I’m sorry, but I do not see that in the Word of God, and I copied this post over here to Apologetics where we can discuss and debate that without derailing this thread.


#2

Here’s the root of the Evangelical problem:

Fourth, we believe that Jesus’ own teaching and his attitude toward the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible, God’s inspired Word, make the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice.

Exactly what was Jesus’ own teaching and attitude about the supreme authority of the bible as the final rule of faith and practice? I have never seen those words of Jesus in the NT.

And whose interpretation of the bible is supreme? Since each Evangelical is free to interpret the bible for himself in any way he wishes, there is no supreme rule of faith and practice other than one’s own self.

Without an authoritative magisterium with apostolic succession, guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit, to interpret the scriptures there is no real rule of faith and practice at all. This is evident in the confusion and continual multiplication of opposing sects in the Evangelical movement.

Paul


#3

What is clearly in Scripture is that God has revealed Himself (in both written and oral form), and that this self-revelation of God is of supreme authority above all human tradition. I presume that you would not disagree with this?

The precise location of this revelation is not specified in Scripture beyond the affirmation of significant parts of the OT and some parts of the NT (but of course there’s a problem with this–II Peter says Paul’s letters are Scripture but what’s to say II Peter is Scripture?). It is a matter for which we have to look to Christian tradition. And the early Church Fathers are clear that

  1. Authentic apostolic Tradition is to be honored wherever it is found, and
  2. Scripture is the primary repository of apostolic teaching, and the final authority in doctrinal disputes. This is in Athanasius, Augustine, and other Fathers. It exists side by side with affirmations of the authority of extra-biblical tradition. They didn’t see it as an either/or.

Note that the manifesto does not use the word “alone” in any form. It says that Scripture is the final authority. That I think we can support by patristic testimony and by sound theological reasoning. It does not answer the question of how Scripture is to be interpreted. But it doesn’t try to. That’s not a flaw in the principle itself.

Edwin


#4

The Lord himself looked to the authority of the Scriptures alone some 30 plus times He said as “it is written”, as did His apostles after Him James was writing his own book and called it scripture. He says, “Do you think the scripture speak to no purpose” in James 4:5. He calls his own books, book James, scripture. Paul reading the law of God, the Old Testament, said the law is holy, just and good. He affirms the holiness, the perfection of God’s law, the Old Testament. Jude quotes Peter as scripture. Peter quotes Paul as scripture. And John quotes himself as scripture. John just finished writing the letters to the churches, he says let the churches hear what the Spirit says. John knew he was writing what the Spirit was saying, not what he was saying. The Bible is not some high level of human genius.
They confirmed the very message of the Old Testament. “The law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 19:7).


#5

:thumbsup:


#6

None of which specifies it as the only authority or that it is self interpreting.


#7

That is a non sequitur. The fact that Jesus appealed to the authority of Scripture does not prove that He appealed to the authority of the Scriptures alone. In the debate between Jesus and the Sadducees recorded in Matt. 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20, we find Jesus supporting a belief (the resurrection) largely based on extra-scriptural tradition (though admittedly it is found in Daniel, which Jesus clearly regarded as a prophetic book though his Sadducee opponents did not accept it) with an interpretation of the Torah (Exodus 3) that would never pass muster among advocates of the “grammatical-historical” method. In other words, of course Jesus appealed to Scripture. But historically the view he was defending was the Pharisee position, developed through centuries of tradition and opposed by the Sadducees precisely on the grounds that it wasn’t found in the Torah.

In other words, we have a small canon, accurate historical interpretation (no modern historical scholar would say that the human author or authors of Exodus intended to teach the Resurrection in Exodus 3), and rejection of extra-biblical tradition on the one side, and on the other an expanded canon interpreted through spiritual/theological interpretation based on centuries of extra-biblical tradition. The Sadducees were simply being good Protestants. On your principles you have no reason to condemn them. This is why strict Protestant principles of Biblical interpretation destroy themselves. They force you (if you want to be consistent) to condemn Jesus and the Apostles. Unless you are willing to say that it was OK for them to do strange things to Scripture but not for us. That may not be inconsistent, but the alternative (that the continuous tradition of such interpretation, and of extra-biblical tradition as the context for Scripture, is reliable) is far more plausible and far more consistent with the NT evidence.

as did His apostles after Him James was writing his own book and called it scripture. He says, “Do you think the scripture speak to no purpose” in James 4:5. He calls his own books, book James, scripture.

You have no evidence for this.

Paul reading the law of God, the Old Testament, said the law is holy, just and good. He affirms the holiness, the perfection of God’s law, the Old Testament.

This makes no sense. If Paul is talking about the OT texts (rather than their contents) in that passage, then he obviously isn’t saying that they are “perfect” in the sense that they don’t need to be completed by the New Covenant, is he? Obviously there was more revelation to follow after the OT. So you are contradicting yourself.

Jude quotes Peter as scripture.

Or the other way round, which is how most scholars see it. And the phrase “scripture” is not used–it’s simply that they present the same content, so presumably one of them copied the other or used a third source.

Peter quotes Paul as scripture.

True enough (of course, the authorship of II Peter is contested, but I would certainly prefer to believe the traditional view, and the book “II Peter” certainly does this).

And John quotes himself as scripture. John just finished writing the letters to the churches, he says let the churches hear what the Spirit says.

Of course John is recording visions given him by God, so of course he is claiming divine inspiration.

None of this proves “sola scriptura.”

Edwin


#8

I’m not seeing what part of Christs teaching is extra scriptural?

Mark 12:18-27

18(A)Some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Jesus, and began questioning Him, saying,

19"Teacher, Moses wrote for us that (B)IF A MAN’S BROTHER DIES and leaves behind a wife AND LEAVES NO CHILD, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE AND RAISE UP CHILDREN TO HIS BROTHER.

20"There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children.

21"The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise;

22and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also.

23"In the resurrection, [a]when they rise again, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her."

24Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?

25"For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

26"But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, ©in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘(D)I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, and the God of Jacob’?

27"(E)He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken."


#9

Would you find the grammatical argument Jesus is making convincing if it weren’t Jesus making it?

Edwin


#10

I’m not sure, if we use the grammar alone and remove Christs authoritiveness it does seem to be convincing still, wouldn’t you agree?


#11

If I simply followed modern principles of exegesis (whether conservative or liberal), then no. Obviously the fact that Jesus and the Apostles used this kind of method indicates that it must be more valid than modern Christians recognize. But since it can be used to prove almost anything, it makes anything remotely approaching “sola scriptura” impossible. This kind of exegesis presupposes a tradition within which the text is being read. And that is the point I’m trying to make. Jesus’ argument does not work as a proof from Scripture alone. It works as a reading of the Torah in the light of later developments in Judaism.

Edwin


#12

Hello Michael,

Long time no speak.

The problem with your criticism is that the fourth statement mentioned in the OP says absolutely nothing about Scripture being the "only" authority.

You are arguing against what it never says.

Also, the fourth statement never says anything about Scripture being “self interpreting.” Even our very posts must be interpreted by others. There is no escaping this reality, whether Catholic or not.

Mat 22:31 “have you not read what was spoken to you by God…?”

Christ’s criticisms of the Pharisses necessarily assumed that they not only could know what the Scriptures teach, but that they should have.

The Pharisees never had the option to complain that they did not have any infallible, human interpreter…and Christ never directed them to one.


#13

The OP wrote.
**“Fourth, we believe that Jesus’ own teaching and his attitude toward the total truthfulness and supreme authority of the Bible, God’s inspired Word, make the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice.”
**
Jesus did not make the bible the supreme authority.
Jesus made himself the supreme authority. The bible is a witness to this teaching:

                              “**All** things have been delivered to me by my Father...” Mt 11:27  

In Jesus "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Col 2:3
In Christ “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9)

Thus, the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is the fullness of revelation, NOT the bible.
Next, Jesus taught everything (regarding salvation) to His apostles alone.
Mk 4:34 “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”
[FONT=Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, sans-serif][size=2]Mt 13:11[/size] "to you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven”.[/FONT]
**John 15:15 **“for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
[FONT=Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, sans-serif]John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”[/FONT]
So Jesus communicated “everything” to His apostles when He taught them the Gospel and He sent the Holy Spirit to teach them again and explain what He taught and to give them the power to remember all He taught.

Thus Jesus gave to the apostles the fullness of revelation, NOT the bible.
Now, since the apostles learned EVERYTHING regarding salvation, Jesus sent the apostles to proclaim the Gospel. Those who believed these leaders of the Church would be saved, those who did not believe these leaders of the Church would be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
Thus, Jesus make it clear that salvation comes from believing the Gospel the Church taught and preached, because ONLY the Church has the fullness of revelation. No where did Jesus say salvation came from believing or reading the bible.

**

**


#14

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