I need to explain, to some degree, my thinking and beliefs.
Pleasant Valley Church and others (I think including you) believe the Bible is the sole authority. It frustrates me (has for decades) that folks who profess that can’t see the “flaw” in their thinking. I’ve talked with pastors, individuals, and others, and never gotten a reply that addresses the issue.
First off, let me say I do believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (But also not the sole authority.)
Let me lead you down the garden path. You and I believe that Genesis, Exodus, the Gospel of John, Galatians, and the Book of Revelation are all part of the Bible. We (I assume you also believe this) also believe that The Gospel of Peter and the Book of Moses are not part of Sacred Scripture (but may have many good things in them, just are not part of Scripture). Certain things are part of Scripture, certain things are not.
It really makes little difference at this point that you and I are not in agreement as to what is and is not (I accept the Catholic Bible with 72 books, you accept the Protestant one with 66). Or something like that, as I said, details matter little here. By you, I mean folks who profess Sola Scriptura/ Bible only.
So, you accept/ believe that certain books ARE Sacred Scripture. What is that belief based on? How do you know it’s true? How do you know they are the right books and none got left out? You DO believe the Bible is the book you have on your nightstand and on your bookshelf. But that basic fundamental belief (“This is the Bible”) is NOT in Scripture. You are saying you believe only in Scripture, yet even before that you are accepting/ believing a list.
Somewhere, at some point in time, some persons developed a list of books that constitute Sacred Scripture, that are the Bible. It makes little difference (at this point) who they were, when it was done, or what the list was. You accept a list. How can you say I only believe in the Bible, when first you have to believe what the Bible is?
You may say these men (or this group, whatever) were divinely inspired by God to “choose” the right books, etc. Fine, no problem. But you are accepting their “decree” and that’s not in the Bible. You can say, I know, I just believe, whatever. Exactly, you believe.
So, what I have trouble with is folks who say they only accept/believe the Bible. In order to accept the Bible, you have to accept/believe some list of books that constitute the Bible. Fine to say the list came from God, etc. No problem. And again, who, what, when doesn’t matter if we disagree on that. I’m just talking about the fact that you do accept/believe in a list.
So, what it boils down to, from my point of view, is that folks who say the Bible is the sole authority accept the authority of the men/group who decreed what is the Bible, but refuse to go any further than that. They reject all else they taught. To me, that is picking and choosing, and that holds no place in religion. I can’t pick and choose to follow only what I like in the Bible. Why can I pick and choose what that group, those men (I’ll call them the Early Church Fathers, but you don’t have to agree with that) said. I can accept/believe they were right (and maybe /probably divinely inspired) in coming up with Genesis, Exodus, the Gospel of John, Revelations and more as the Bible. But I will not accept/believe anything else they said. How can you do that? What gives YOU the authority to make that judgment for yourself? You might say that what’s you believe God wants of you. Well, it’s pretty high and mighty (I think) to say they were right in the canon but not in anything else. Or maybe some might say they were right in the canon, and possibly right in other things, but those other things don’t hold the same authority as the Bible, or whatever. Again, how do you make that determination?
Now, I believe those men had the Authority, granted by God, to “decree” the correct books as part of Sacred Scripture (via divine inspiration). I give them the name (formal or informal at the time) Catholic Church. I believe they had (and still have) divine Authority that was more than just coming up with the list of books. And it’s not my right to pick and choose what parts of their formal teaching I will and will not accept.
So I think that while those who follow Scripture only may have great insights, and knowledge to share, they are missing a huge chunk. And if they don’t acknowledge they are accepting Authority outside Scripture, they are fooling themselves. So for me to seek them out for spiritual guidance isn’t something I can do. They may have Truth, but only part of it.