Is Sola Scriptura Idolatry?

A provocative question, yes. But I’m curious about how some out there who ascribe to the doctrine may respond. The doctrine - as I understand it - ascribes final doctrinal authority to the Bible. Why is this not a form of idolatry - i.e. worshiping an image of God as opposed to giving that glory to God directly?

Peace be with you,

I have often pondered about this question myself. They point fingers when we have a statue of Mary in the house in nice and visable place with nice little things all around it. Yet they do the same thing with the Bible.

Its not idolotry, but it is ‘veneration’ in an abstract sense, and it is silly.

No, it is not idolatry. Those who hold to sola scriptura give more authority to Scripture than is due, as God’s Word is contained in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. However, they do not worship the Bible or view it as God, giving the adoration to due to God alone. So no, it can not said to be idolatry.

[quote=Robert in SD]A provocative question, yes. But I’m curious about how some out there who ascribe to the doctrine may respond. The doctrine - as I understand it - ascribes final doctrinal authority to the Bible. Why is this not a form of idolatry - i.e. worshiping an image of God as opposed to giving that glory to God directly?

Peace be with you,
[/quote]

Dear Robert,

As a cradle Catholic never trained in apologetics, I never heard of Sola Scriptura until I came onto this board a few weeks ago. From what you’ve said, I don’t see how it is more or less idolatry than giving final doctrinal authority to the writings of the bishops, saints, magesterium and others. These are all images of God and not God Himself. If someone actually believes the Bible is God, then I’d say it is idolatry, but the Protestants I’ve talked to seem to view it as the revealed Word of God, which makes it just a shadow of God.

There is another problem with giving “final authority” to the Bible. The Bible has been translated into many languages, and many Catholics (including myself), and Protestants, sometimes distinguish fine shades of meaning from the writings. I’ve seen arguments ensue about specific passages that actually differ from one translation to another enough that it would seem to contradict. Therefore, even if one did consider the Bible as the ultimate authority, it still depends on personal interpretation, making it a less-than-divine source.

In short, I vote that it isn’t idolatry. If it is, then so is the Catholic belief in the Magesterium as being the final doctrinal authority? Did I say that right, or is it the Pope who has that?

Alan

[quote=Psalm45:9]I have often pondered about this question myself. They point fingers when we have a statue of Mary in the house in nice and visable place with nice little things all around it. Yet they do the same thing with the Bible.
[/quote]

I’ve noticed this too. Many Protestants like to condemn Catholic symbols, but what do they think the cross hanging above their own altar is? I guess if it is Catholic it is idolatry, but if not then it is a symbolic reminder of faith.

Alan

[quote=Robert in SD]A provocative question, yes. But I’m curious about how some out there who ascribe to the doctrine may respond. The doctrine - as I understand it - ascribes final doctrinal authority to the Bible. Why is this not a form of idolatry - i.e. worshiping an image of God as opposed to giving that glory to God directly?

Peace be with you,
[/quote]

I doubt if we can seriously consider it as idolatry. Idolatry involves some form of worship or adoration. Sola Scripturalists certainly do not “worship” the Bible, any more than Catholics “worship” the three pillars of Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. They however, consider it as the final source for doctrinal authority, not because the book or paper itself is divine, but that the inspired words contained therein came from God Himself, who alone, in Himself is to be worshipped. In effect, the Bible is just God’s instrument, and not God himself.

Gerry :slight_smile:

people who opposed religious statuary forget about the many passages where the lord commands the making of statues. for example " and you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end, of one piece of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. the cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be" ( ex 25:18-20).lord make me an instrument of your peace. saint francis of sales

[quote=Robert in SD]A provocative question, yes. But I’m curious about how some out there who ascribe to the doctrine may respond. The doctrine - as I understand it - ascribes final doctrinal authority to the Bible. Why is this not a form of idolatry - i.e. worshiping an image of God as opposed to giving that glory to God directly?

Peace be with you,
[/quote]

Of course not. Sola Scriptura, whether you agree with it or not, merely means the belief that Scripture, as understood to be the direct teaching od Jesus, the Apostles and Prophets and the record of Salvation History, is the final rule of faith and pracitce for the Church. Not the only rule but that all things done or believed by Christians must be in harmony with the Word of God as set down in Scripture.

How ever, there are those that don’t really believe in Sola Scriptura so much as the y beleive in Solo Scriptura. And in this practice of there can be a danger of regarding the book over what is actually in it. Thus some commit Bible-otry.

But they historic understanding of the SS pronciople is no more Idolatrous than saying Sola Magesterium. Either can be twisted into idolatry by the ignorant. Same with Marian devotion. There are plenty fo folks who cross the line between veneration and worship. It does not make the principle idolatrous, but the people who abuse it.

Mel

Forgive me my several typos above! :o

[quote=Melchior]Of course not. Sola Scriptura, whether you agree with it or not, merely means the belief that Scripture, as understood to be the direct teaching od Jesus, the Apostles and Prophets and the record of Salvation History, is the final rule of faith and pracitce for the Church. Not the only rule but that all things done or believed by Christians must be in harmony with the Word of God as set down in Scripture.
[/quote]

Mel,

I don’t quote get what you’re saying. Sola Scriptura means “Scripture Alone”. The doctrine of sola scriptura means relying solely and only upon Sacred Scripture as the source of Christian Truth (thus, denying Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium). Are you saying that, or not?

There are actually Protestants who do worship the scriptures, and yes they do call the Bible “god”.

I was raised in such a denomination myself (even though they deny being a denomination or protestants, they of course are). The preacher in every sermon quoted the Bible frequently with the phrase “God said, or says”. You notice he did not say “the Bible says” but “God says” thereby calling the Bible God.

They also used the dichotomy of “from the Bible =s from God, not from the Bible =s from men”.

They were so legalistic and idolatrous in thier use of the Bible, that anything not directly ordered to be done in the Bible was considered to be automatically forebidden, thus the use of candles, incense, or even organ or piano music was “sinful” and “unscriptural”.

This was no tiny sect BTW, but the leading or second place denomination throughout the South.

[quote=thisismyusrname]Mel,

I don’t quote get what you’re saying. Sola Scriptura means “Scripture Alone”. The doctrine of sola scriptura means relying solely and only upon Sacred Scripture as the source of Christian Truth (thus, denying Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium). Are you saying that, or not?
[/quote]

Sola Scriptura does not merely mean scripture alone in a vacuum as interpreted by the individual. It means scripture is the final or ultimate rule of faith and practice for the church, as understood by the church. Not the individual.

In other words if the Church wants to know if something is ok or not ok where do you look for the final authority? God’s Word. Tradition does indeed play a part. We must always relly on the concesus of the church throughout history to understand the scriptures. So sola scriptura does not deny tradtion but it is the basis for tradition and tradition must be subject to the teachings of scripture. Scripture itself is the ultimate tradition if you think about it.

SOLO scriptura on the other hand is the idea that an individual can read the Bible on their own without any help from the church and always arrive at the right meaning. This is not Sola Scriptura. It completely violates the concept.

Mel

[quote=boppysbud]There are actually Protestants who do worship the scriptures, and yes they do call the Bible “god”.

I was raised in such a denomination myself (even though they deny being a denomination or protestants, they of course are). The preacher in every sermon quoted the Bible frequently with the phrase “God said, or says”. You notice he did not say “the Bible says” but “God says” thereby calling the Bible God.

They also used the dichotomy of “from the Bible =s from God, not from the Bible =s from men”.

They were so legalistic and idolatrous in thier use of the Bible, that anything not directly ordered to be done in the Bible was considered to be automatically forebidden, thus the use of candles, incense, or even organ or piano music was “sinful” and “unscriptural”.

This was no tiny sect BTW, but the leading or second place denomination throughout the South.
[/quote]

I am not defending your former church but With all do respect your logic is very flawed. The Bible is the word of God. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and indeed does contain the very words of God. Who was Jesus after all? If I say Ronald Reagan said something that he wrote in a book, I am not saying the book is Ronald Reagan. I am merely quoting a record of what Ronald Reagan said in writing.

Mel

“I am not defending your former church but With all do respect your logic is very flawed.”

The Bible contains, not is the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. (see John first chapter). Are you yourself worshipping the Bible?

“The Bible is the word of God. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and indeed does contain the very words of God.”

They and you seem to be confusing the words inspire and dictate. Yes the Bible was written by inspired human beings to whom God gave the original thoughts. What this denomination (and seemingly yourself) said and taught was that God dictated the exact words of the Bible to human robots who were prevented by divine intervention from making any mistakes in any way at all(including historic and scientific areas).

“If I say Ronald Reagan said something that he wrote in a book, I am not saying the book is Ronald Reagan. I am merely quoting a record of what Ronald Reagan said in writing”

But God did not directly write the Bible himself. God wrote nothing. God gave inspired ideas to human beings to write down in thier own words, so I find your argument invalid.

[quote=thisismyusrname]No, it is not idolatry. Those who hold to sola scriptura give more authority to Scripture than is due, as God’s Word is contained in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. However, they do not worship the Bible or view it as God, giving the adoration to due to God alone. So no, it can not said to be idolatry.
[/quote]

It really depends on the level of SOLA in the sola Scriputa. Those who hold to a strict “Bible Only” mentality, especially KingJamesonlyism, are in fact commiting Idolatry. A Baptist KJVonly man I know claims that the Bible is more authoritative that GOD Himself. And that idea is fairly common among extreme fundamentalists.

Prima Scriptura = Scripture first, then all other rules of Faith.

Sola Scriptura = Scripture is the only infallible (or inerrant) rule of Faith; Scripture is not the only rule of Faith. All other rules of Faith definitely can be used.

Solo Scriptura = not only is this bad Latin, it is bad practice. A previous poster already covered this. SolO < > SolA.

Personally, Prima/Sola Scriptura is a lifelong process of reading and studying the Word of God in your native language(s); utilizing a common-sense magisterium of references and resources (printed or audio/visual) and a consultation network (learned clergy and laity).

My fellow Christians of the Catholic Faith believe in Sacred Tradition, Magisterium and Scripture;
NonCatholics (including non-align [my Group] believe in Prima / Sola Scripture (along with the ever-present common-sense magisterium);
I don’t believe for a minute there is any idolatry anywhere.

Roland
AmbassadorMan
DCF, CO & CIDB

Roland, I am afriad that I must dissagree with you strenuously on this matter.

When preachers call the Bible “god”.

When people are so legalistic in thier interpretations of the Bible that anything not directly ordered to be done in the Bible becomes strictly forbidden.

When people say that the Bible was dictated by God, instead of inspired by God.

When people say that the Bible is more important than God himself.

Those people are transforming a book about God into God himself, and in my eyes that is idolatry directed at the Bible.

Roland, I am afriad that I must dissagree with you strenuously on this matter. --boppysbud

When preachers call the Bible “god”.
You need to re-read a previous post about this. Even Catholic priests very often say “God says…” and then proceed to quote Sacred Tradition which arises out of the Magisterium. Is Catholicism flawed because of this spoken abreviation?

When people are so legalistic in their interpretations of the Bible that anything not directly ordered to be done in the Bible becomes strictly forbidden.
I have found offshoots of maintream Catholicism that do this exact same thing with their writings – does this mean Catholicism is flawed? I have seen posts of trad Catholics doing same thing with the Magisterium writings? – does this mean the Magisterium is flawed? Do you really desire to leave a logical opening for the both the Magisterium and P/S Scriptura to be idolatrous - due to your argumentation?

When people say that the Bible was dictated by God, instead of inspired by God.
The Magisterium makes a similar claim, the Magisterium’s Sacred Tradition comes directly from Jesus – so does that indicate the Magisterium is likewise idolatrous? Do you really desire to allow the camel into the tent and both the Magisterium and P/S Scriptura “fall” due to a few bad apples?

When people say that the Bible is more important than God himself.
I have read posts of fellow Catholics calling the wisdom and actions of HF-PJPII himself - if HF-PJPII is the Vicar of Christ, and someone believes Their Word is more important than the Word from the Vicar of Christ – is Catholicism and P/S Scriptura to blame?

Those people are transforming a book about God into God himself, and in my eyes that is idolatry directed at the Bible.
So, you use the examples of NON-adherents of real trueblue Prima / Sola Scripturists and condemn us? By your very logic,
all of Catholicism has fallen and is idolatrous because of the few bad examples – as found and described by your own Faithful.

In short, if we in all four Groups accept the logic of allowing NON-adherents and our enemy [Satan who accuses us and our practices day and night] to define each and every Group according to the imperfectness and human error-ness of faithful adherents, than all of Christendom is fallen and idolatrous, Protestants are fallen, Catholics are fallen, Orthodox are fallen, non-align are fallen because of a very few. Are you sure you desire to leave that door of argumentation open?

Roland
AmbassadorMan

Well I am afraid I must disagree. Let me Quote…

angelfire.com/ks3/by_the_book/

“We believe that the Holy Bible is a supernatural Book; that it is the very God-breathed Word; that it is the full, the final, and the complete revelation of God’s will to man”

That statment is DIRECTLY contrary to what is writen in scripture.

Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

CHRIST is Gods perfect and final revelation to man…

The Bible has become a Golden Calf for them.

Ok King Jamse only web sites are a little extreme. But the idolotry is there.

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