Official Definitions of Sola Scriptura

One of the challenges of dialogue between Catholics and Protestants is coming up with common definitions of theological terms, and one of the most common disagreements concerns what is meant by the term sola scriptura.

Protestants are frequently frustrated by what they believe to be Catholic misunderstandings of what sola scriptura is or is not. Catholics are frustrated by the fact that different Protestant groups seem to define the term differently.

Therefore, I would like to ask: What is the official definition of sola scriptura used by your faith community? Please provide the name of your denomination along with the definition. If you have a link to an official website where you get the definition, that would be great.

Thanks.

The Book of Concord

The average Lutheran layman today may not know any Latin, but he probably knows what the phrase sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) means. It means that we Lutherans base our theology solely on the Scriptures of God and nothing else, not tradition, not human speculation, not modern scholarship, not our experiences or feelings or anything else. Sola Scriptura is a watchword, a guide for action, for every true Lutheran, pastor or layman.

From bookofconcord.org/confessionsandbible.php

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

SOLA SCRIPTURA
The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.

From lcms.org/belief-and-practice:

Pentecostals are pretty much in agreement. I’ve listed a number of official statements below.

The Assemblies of in its Statement of Fundamental Truths lists a very breif and succinct statement of the Bible’s authoritative nature. Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths, “The Scriptures Inspired”

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
1 Thessalonians 2:13
2 Peter 1:21

The Church of the Foursquare Gospel offers a more expansive explanaiton of Scripture’s role than the AG does. Notice that it speaks of Scripture as a tribunal by which creeds and motives are tried. Foursquare Church Declaration of Faith, “The Holy Scriptures”

We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of the living God; true, 1immutable, steadfast, unchangeable, as its author, the Lord Jehovah; that it was written by holy men of old as they were moved upon and 2inspired by the Holy Spirit; that it is a 3lighted lamp to guide the feet of a lost world from the depths of sin and sorrow to the heights of righteousness and glory; an unclouded mirror that reveals the face of a crucified Savior; a plumb line to make straight the life of each individual and community; a sharp two-edged sword to convict of sin and evil doing; a strong cord of love and tenderness to draw the penitent to Christ Jesus; a balm of Gilead, 4inbreathed by the Holy Spirit, that can heal and quicken each drooping heart; the only true ground of Christian fellowship and unity; the 5loving call of an infinitely loving God; the solemn warning, the distant thunder of the storm of wrath and retribution that shall overtake the unheeding; a sign post that points to Heaven; a danger signal that warns from Hell; 6the divine, supreme and eternal tribunal by whose standards all men, nations, creeds, and motives shall be tried.

Scripture References

  1. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
  2. (Mt. 24:35) . . . (Ps. 119:89)
  3. . . . (2 Tim. 3:16,17) . . . (Ps. 119:105)
  4. . . . (2 Peter 1:19-21)
  5. . . . (Jn.5:39)
  6. . . . (2 Tim. 2:15) . . . (Phil. 3:16) (Also, 1 Jn.4:1; Is.8:20; 1 Thess.
    5:21; Acts 17:11; 1 Jn.4:6; Jude 3; Eph. 6:17; Ps. 119:59,60; Phil. 1:9-11).

The Church of God in Christ offers one of the most expansive explanations of Scripture’s role. See that it continues the theme of Scripture being a tribunal or Supreme Court where all doctrinal controversy is settled. Church of God in Christ Official Manual, Articles of Religion, The Old and New Testament (The Authority of the Scriptures), pages 40-41

We believe the the Old and New Testament Scriptures in all matters of controversy between Christians must be accepted as the supreme court of appeal. . . .

The Word of God concerning these doctrines is the great and final tribunal before which they must be brought and by which they must be tried; and the validity of our belief is measured by the corresponding with, or diversity from, that form of doctrine which is set forth in the unerring revelation that God has given to us in His inspired Word. . . .

We hold the Word of God to be the only authority in all matters, and assert that no doctrine can be true, or essential, if it does not find a place in this word.

So for Pentecostals, the consensus seems to be that Holy Scripture is “the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct” for the church, yet not necessarily the only rule, simply the only infallible and authoritative one. This works in the sense that Scripture is a tribunal or Supreme Court where any and all doctrinal disputes are brought before Scripture. In the court of appeal of Scripture, it is determined whether a doctrine is true or essential. Just because something can’t be explicitly found in Scripture does not mean it isn’t true, but it does mean it cannot be held as essential Christian doctrine by which all churches or Christians must believe.

All I know this that the Catholic church has survived for as long as it has because it does have a final authority, in Rome that doesn’t pander to man kinds whims and desires - it took less than a week to go from Hosanna to we have no king but Caesar and all of Jerusalem was troubled by the Magi looking for the new born King of the Jews because they knew the Messianic era was going to usher in trying times.

Here is ours from the Epitome of the Formula of Concord.

1] 1. We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with [all] teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written Ps. 119:105: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1:8.

2] Other writings, however, of ancient or modern teachers, whatever name they bear, must not be regarded as equal to the Holy Scriptures, but all of them together be subjected to them, and should not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses, [which are to show] in what manner after the time of the apostles, and at what places, this [pure] doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved.
*

I’ve posted this so often, Chemnitz has filed a civil suit against me for theft of intellectual property. :stuck_out_tongue:

Jon

From the Lutheran Confessions:

Quote:

  1. We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with [all] teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written Ps. 119:105: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1:8.

2] Other writings, however, of ancient or modern teachers, whatever name they bear, must not be regarded as equal to the Holy Scriptures, but all of them together be subjected to them, and should not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses, [which are to show] in what manner after the time of the apostles, and at what places, this [pure] doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved.

3] 2. And because directly after the times of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose, and symbols, i. e., brief, succinct [categorical] confessions, were composed against them in the early Church, which were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church, namely, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, we pledge ourselves to them, and hereby reject all heresies and dogmas which, contrary to them, have been introduced into the Church of God.

It’s just too bad Randy and his ilk don’t pay attention to it, and understand it. If they did, we’d be closer to a better understanding, and we wouldn’t have threads like this.:shrug:

Well, I’ll defend Randy. I think he does understand it. As for other Catholics, they don’t seem to misunderstand anymore than some protestant groups do. :eek:
But there is sometimes a level of frustration about this, when discussing with some who wish to require us to defend something we don’t believe. :shrug:

Jon

Well, you “ilk”'s definition is for the Lutheran denomination.

There is that of the Pentecostals, Baptists (In all their ilkage), Reformed, Calvinists, Anglicans, Epicopalians, Methodists, Non-denominationals (Where the personal interpretation of the Pastor rules), and all the other denominations.

Our ilk goes back to Christ and His Rock - Peter, where Francis stands today.

Except the Orthodox don’t agree with you. And, neither do protestants. Peter is not the rock. His confession was. Read a little. It won’t hurt. I promise.

It’s clear he doesn’t. He’s one of the major antagonists in the SS debate. I agree that it’s frustrating that the RCCs on this board are closed minded. They have their definition and refuse to bend on the truth when it’s given to them.

I have read extensively. I don’t care about the Orthodox opinion.

Answer the questions and stop playing hit and run. Or apply yourself the reading suggestion.

I am growing sick and tired of your little charade of name calling. Stop it.

You are not Orthodox. Perhaps you should follow Pelikan’s actions after all the reading he did.

And that is why you are part of the problem. And, if you grow tired of my so called “name calling” feel free to ignore me. I have answered all your questions. And, you’ve pointed out, YOU DON’T CARE.:shrug:

I don’t care about the Orthodox opinion regarding their interpretation of the rock.

You have not answered my questions and I am waiting.

You didn’t ask a question on this thread. Just comments.And my point was, your Primacy of the Bishop of Rome means nothing to non Roman Catholics.

This could be a useful thread, which I believe Buzz started in good faith. Please, let’s shock everyone by staying on topic.

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