Sola Scriptura again

Since the other threasd on Sola Scriptura reached the 1,000 post limit we need to create a new thread to carry on the discussion. The last entry in the other post was:

“Quote:
Originally Posted by ezeekl
But in just 500 years the idea of sola scriptura has changed. Previously sola scriptura meant that scripture was the only authority. That was what sola meant- only or alone (and still does). Now sola scriptura means, using your own words, “highest authority”. That inherently implies the existence of lesser authority. So protestantism has gone from only one authority to more than one authority.”

“False; you’ve clearly never read the Lutheran Confessions.”

Actually I have. That is why I said that the idea of sola scriptura has changed. Also, I know some Latin and therefore I know that sola does not mean “final” or highest. It means alone or only. Rather to convey the idea of final or finality the Latin word finis or *fini * meaning end or last would be far better. As far as conveying the idea of highest authority the Latin word altissimus would be far better. Also, let us not forget that the Lutheran Confessions were compiled approx 1580 according the website “bookofconcord” wherein it states:

“The Lutheran Confessions represent the result of more than 50 years of earnest endeavor by Martin Luther and his followers to give Biblical and clear expression to their religious convictions.”

bookofconcord.org/whatarethey.php

It took them 50 years to sort things out and they still did not get it right. They didn’t change the word *sola * to fini or altima.

I think that I need to point out here that the Lutheran Confessions contain three essential Catholic creeds. They being the Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed and the Anathasian Creed. Does it seem at least a bit odd that Lutherans who deny the authority of the Catholic bishops hold up these creeds that were formulated by Catholic bishops? And not only that but the Anathasian Creed goes into great detail about the Trinity and really formulates how we understand the Trinity today. But this understanding did not come from scripture. It came from the Catholic Church. We understand the Trinity in pagan Greek philosophy terms of substance, essence and person. These ideas are not found in scripture nor even Jewish philosophical thought. The Jews thought of God as one, not three persons in one God, just one God.

But who was Athanasius? Athanasius was a bishop in the Catholic Church. In effect the Lutheran Confessions, while denying Church Authority, are actually verifying that a Catholic Bishop had the authority to supplement scripture with teaching. Athanasius was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria. His episcopate lasted 45 years from June, 328 through May, 373 AD. He was also the guy who gave us the canon of scripture that became the Bible. Indeed, many protestants point to Athanasius as the father of the Bible canon. I find that odd as well. Here are protestants claiming that the books of the Bible are the final authority yet those books in the Bible were selected by a Catholic bishop! So the authority of the Bible rests on the authority of a Catholic Bishop who protestants say has no authority!!! Seems to me that the real final authority rests not with the scripture but rather with Catholic bishops which is what the Catholic Church has said all along. And once again we come back to the binding and loosening power stated in scripture in Mt 16.

If you’ve read our Confessions, then you’d know that Lutherans do not deny Teaching Authority to belong to the church. Your argument builds a magnificent straw man by cramming Lutherans in with “many Protestants,” but that doesn’t hold any weight when we consider what the Confessions actually say. Articles XII, XIV, XXVIII all deal with the role of the church and its called, ordained teachers. Our Confrssions quote the same fathers you do, at length. What makes you think that Lutherans (Lutherans, not other Protestants!!) have jettisoned the authority of a pastor who rightly preaches Law and Gospel? Demonstrate for us how the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura has “changed,” using authoritative Lutheran sources. You’ve made the claim, now back it up.

Hi ezeehl: I like what you posted in tis thread. I think also that you hit the nail on the head. Now I understand that Lutheran’s like to think that they are Catholic in some way or manor but the truth is that they are Protestants since they are not in union with the catholic Church and so protest which is what Protestant means at least it is how I understand protest.

               The Catholic Church has seven sacraments and has tem so far I understand it since the beginning of the Church Catholic, while Lutheran's have only two that they recognize. other protestant denominations I think have only two that they recognize.

                As for SS I agree that Lutheran's have their own understanding of what they say it means, while other Protestant denomination have differing ideas and understandings of SS. It seems to me to be Catholic one has to be union with the Catholic Church otherwise, it is not Catholic no matter what is claimed. 

                As for Traditions, it seems to me that if that were true then SS then could not be the final word or authority, and if one follows Tradition then it appears or seems that one can not then pick and choose which traditions to hold or not hold. St. John said that not everything Jesus said and did was written down, and St. Paul said to hold on to the traditions that has ben passed on orally, not just Scripture; remembering that at that time there was not New Testament that had been written. I would also point out that none of the Apostles as well as St. Paul thought that what they did write would be Scripture or put into a one volume as some final word and all inclusive authority. The authority is with the Church who can best explain the teachings that Jesus taught and passed on to the Apostles who then passed it on to the Bishops up to the present time. Otherwise anyone can decide what Scripture says and means which in the end leads to chaos and confusion.

The Muratorian fragment is a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of the books of the New Testament dated to circa AD170.

I’m not really sure that Lutherans qualify as representative protestants, nor modern Roman Catholics as representative of the early “fathers” who did not own the seven sacraments. Lutherans are closer to Catholicism, especially in things like transubstantiation, than many other protestants. Luther perhaps considered himself a true Catholic, whereas he considered the Roman Catholicism of his day to be aberrant in doctrine. Wycliffe was much further away from Roman Catholicism than Luther. For him, the Pope was most definitely antichrist.

As for the Trinity, as you say, the bible speaks of “one God the Father.” End of. The son is God, or the image of God, i.e. sits on the throne of God, by virtue of his relation to the Father, who is his head (1 Cor 11;3) and greater than he. Yet we only know the son in his flesh. The son reveals the father, but theologians have made it their business to reveal the internal relations of the Trinity, which is foreign to anything written in the bible. For us mortals,the Son came from God and went back to God, as does the Holy Spirit.

I’m not sure anything else is beneficial to know. As you infer, the creeds along with “God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit” are the beginning of the repudiation of the doctrine of “sola scripture” and as for the son being “begotten of the Father before all ages” - that seems to me to be a mistake, as “begotten” in the bible was clearly only ever intended to refer to the incarnation of the human Jesus.

Since the other threasd on Sola Scriptura reached the 1,000 post limit we need to create a new thread to carry on the discussion. The last entry in the other post was:

“Quote:
Originally Posted by ezeekl
But in just 500 years the idea of sola scriptura has changed. Previously sola scriptura meant that scripture was the only authority. That was what sola meant- only or alone (and still does). Now sola scriptura means, using your own words, “highest authority”. That inherently implies the existence of lesser authority. So protestantism has gone from only one authority to more than one authority.”

“False; you’ve clearly never read the Lutheran Confessions.”

Actually I have. That is why I said that the idea of sola scriptura has changed. Also, I know some Latin and therefore I know that sola does not mean “final” or highest. It means alone or only. Rather to convey the idea of final or finality the Latin word finis or fini meaning end or last would be far better. As far as conveying the idea of highest authority the Latin word altissimus would be far better. Also, let us not forget that the Lutheran Confessions were compiled approx 1580 according the website “bookofconcord” wherein it states:

“The Lutheran Confessions represent the result of more than 50 years of earnest endeavor by Martin Luther and his followers to give Biblical and clear expression to their religious convictions.”

bookofconcord.org/whatarethey.php

It took them 50 years to sort things out and they still did not get it right. They didn’t change the word sola to fini or altima.

The Reformers hardly used “sola” in conjunction with “Scriptura”. The “five Solas” were generally added or codified much later as some sort of kitschy slogan for the Protestant reformation. The reformers did use “sola” always in conjunction with “gratia” and “fide”. That the bible is the only source of religious truth is not the intention of Luther nor Calvin. If I could I would change the name but that’s not going to happen so I continue to have to educate even other Protestants about what sola Scriptura actually is.

I think that I need to point out here that the Lutheran Confessions contain three essential Catholic creeds. They being the Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed and the Anathasian Creed. Does it seem at least a bit odd that Lutherans who deny the authority of the Catholic bishops hold up these creeds that were formulated by Catholic bishops? And not only that but the Anathasian Creed goes into great detail about the Trinity and really formulates how we understand the Trinity today. But this understanding did not come from scripture. It came from the Catholic Church. We understand the Trinity in pagan Greek philosophy terms of substance, essence and person. These ideas are not found in scripture nor even Jewish philosophical thought. The Jews thought of God as one, not three persons in one God, just one God.

Lutherans don’t deny the authority of Catholic bishops, in fact Luther and subsequent Lutheran theologians quoted from illustrious bishops such as Irenaeus, Augustine and Jerome. And other fathers as Eusebius and Tertullian. We Lutherns DO deny is that one bishop had supreme authority over every other bishop to which all other bishops must submit due to one bishops universal jurisdiction. That teaching is absent from scripture and the early church.

But who was Athanasius? Athanasius was a bishop in the Catholic Church. In effect the Lutheran Confessions, while denying Church Authority, are actually verifying that a Catholic Bishop had the authority to supplement scripture with teaching. Athanasius was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria. His episcopate lasted 45 years from June, 328 through May, 373 AD. He was also the guy who gave us the canon of scripture that became the Bible. Indeed, many protestants point to Athanasius as the father of the Bible canon. I find that odd as well. Here are protestants claiming that the books of the Bible are the final authority yet those books in the Bible were selected by a Catholic bishop! So the authority of the Bible rests on the authority of a Catholic Bishop who protestants say has no authority!!! Seems to me that the real final authority rests not with the scripture but rather with Catholic bishops which is what the Catholic Church has said all along. And once again we come back to the binding and loosening power stated in scripture in Mt 16.

Athanasius’ list was compiled about 20 years before the council of Rome. How could Athanasius even hope to know what scripture was without a Pope or council to tell him what it was? Who says the authority of the bible rests on the authority of a Catholic bishop? We would find scripture authoritative rather or not any Catholic bishop identified it as such.

The Reformers were people who had, until just recently, been Catholic. In calling themselves Reformers, they saw themselves as people with a mission to fix the Church, and many of them even lived out the rest of their lives bearing no ill will to Church authority in general while continuing to consider themselves truly and entirely Catholic to the end. This tends to be lost on some people who look into their history, whether it’s Evangelical Protestants that aren’t Mainline, or whether it’s Catholics who are very interested in apologetics and polemics but perhaps less genuinely interested in historical inquiry.

Perhaps we also need a brief reminder of exactly how long it was between the onset of the Reformation and the closing statements at the Council of Trent. Now let’s consider what that interim period was like for everyone involved. That would have very much depended on the person and the exact situation and place, wouldn’t it?

Hence the benefit of a council that makes everything very clear from the Catholic end- and also, don’t forget this, hence the benefit of the Lutheran Confessions which make the Lutheran position very clear.

it seems to me that Jesus said to the Apostles to baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, This says that there is a Trinity in Scripture, The New Testament.

Hi charlesby:
It seems to me that Jesus said to the Apostles to baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, This says that there is a Trinity in Scripture, The New Testament.

You missed the main points of my post. Firstly, Lutherans and other sola scripturists have a rather big problem in asserting that scripture is the final authority because that “final” authority rests upon the men who decided which books were divinely inspired. Unfortunately for Lutherans and other sola scripturists God did not provide an inspired Table of Contents for us to know what is scripture. Rather it was the church and lets be clear here, it was the Catholic Church, which after a long time decided on which books were inspired. So the authority that you place on scripture ultimately rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church to determine what was inspired. So if the Catholic Church did not have that authority then the scriptures can’t have any authority either. Authority, any authority, does not spring from unauthoritive sources.

By the way, the Church operated for the first 400 years with no bible canon. It operated on the oral Tradition, the preaching of the Apostles and their successors. The Biblical canon only came to be due to the production of Gnostic writings which were creeping into the liturgical worship services (the Mass). The purpose of codifying the scriptures was to eliminate the Gnostic writings from use in the liturgy. It was not to create a self study guide to Christianity to which protestantism has since perverted it.

Also, let’s be clear here concerning the difference between the Lutheran concept of Church authority and the the Catholic one. The Lutheran concept has church authority subserviant to the Scriptures. The Catholic concept has scripture and the Oral Tradition as equal since both emanate from the same source, the Holy Spirit. Paul said as much when he urged the Thessalonians:

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” [2 Thessalonians 2:15]

A second point you ignored was the Trinity. This was doctrine formulated by the Catholic Church in trying to define the Godhead. They did not pull this out of scripture. If they did we would probably be some form of modalists like the Unitarians today. Instead the Godhead was defined and we understand it to this day, using Greek philosophical terms. The very fact that Lutherans accept the Trintarian doctrine formulated by the Catholic Church is an undeniable acknowledgement that the Catholic Church possessed doctrinal authority just as did Scripture.

Col 1:15 “invisible God”

If we were biblical literalists, we would stick to what has been revealed, not attempt to pierce the veil of our mortality, using words such as “person” “mode” etc.

Can God really be conceived of as a “person”? When does the bible ever say that? That is the root problem with both Trinitarianism and Uniterianism. God is neither three persons nor one person, because he is not a person. He is God. Even if the revelation of God is in persons, whether angels, the Holy Spirit, the son, the revelation of God was surely not given for man to engage in endless speculations as to the nature of the persons making up God, because if that were necessary for us to know, we would have been told, but rather we are told the contrary - i.e. not to engage in such speculations. Deut 6:4.

This is a bogus argument. For one thing, the term “sola scriptura” wasn’t used in the initial generation of Protestantism. You’re essentially constructing what you think it must mean and then imposing it on Protestants.You don’t get to do that.

In classical Protestantism, Scripture is the “only” authority in the sense that it’s the only infallible authority–the only one that can’t be questioned. Anything else can in principle be questioned.

There’s no change or shiftiness here. It’s certainly true that over time in the first decades of Protestantism, Protestants became more and more aware of the dangers of misinterpretation of Scripture and the need for the Church Fathers, etc. There was definitely a "pulling back at least in rhetoric after about 1530.

But you’re creating a straw men when you argue from the word “sola.”

I think that I need to point out here that the Lutheran Confessions contain three essential Catholic creeds. They being the Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed and the Anathasian Creed. Does it seem at least a bit odd that Lutherans who deny the authority of the Catholic bishops hold up these creeds that were formulated by Catholic bishops?

Not at all. Lutherans (and Reformed, for that matter) understand themselves and have always understood themselves to be in continuity with the historic Catholic Church. However, they argue that the ancient Councils are authoritative because they agree with Scripture. This is a coherent position.

Protestants for centuries resisted using the term “Catholic” for the Catholic Church–that’s why they said “Romanists” or “Papists” instead.

Edwin

Awwww, but the early church was beset with heresies concerning the nature of Christ, the nature of the Holy Spirit and the relationship within the Godhead. So the Church was forced to define these truths because the scriptures did not. And because of that we have the doctrine of the Trinity so that we can understand a little more clearly but indeed not totally the Godhead.

Whether it was the initial generation or the second generation that coined the term matters not. They certainly knew that sola meant "only"or “alone”. So why did they use that word if they meant something else?

And that contradicts scripture. Peter was promised the keys along with the authority to bind and loose on earth as well as in heaven. Jesus promised the church that the Spirit would lead it into all truth. Jesus never promised an infallible book. Sola scriptura is merely an invention of 16th century men. It has no basis in scripture at all.

Not really, Luther was fine with the misinterpretation of scripture as long as it was his misinterpretation. It was when others started doing it that would send him into a rage. Today there are thousands of protestant denominations each with their own interpretation of scripture. How is one to know which is the correct one? This affects the very basic core of christian belief. A good example is Baptism. Some sola scripturists say it is not necessary. Others say it is absolutely necessay for salvation. Some say it is a sacrament: some say it is just an ordinance. Some say it is for adults alone some say that infants should be baptized. Where in all this is the truth? Sola Scriptura has made Christianity a cafeteria of belief where one can pick and choose which beliefs one wants. But it was never that way with God.

Luther and the other heretics [Calvin and Zwinglii] reformed nothing. What Lutherans claim to understand is really a misunderstanding. The christian church has always held that authority rested in the Apostles and their successors the Bishops. As early as 107 AD we see this clearly stated. Ignatius of Antioch, on his way to martyrdom wrote the following:

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains *. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

To the early church the bishops were key. Today, protestants deny that. They do that because they have no validly ordained bishops. They have no line of succession back to the Apostles. As far as the term Catholic goes, J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant professor of theology at Oxford University and a noted early church historian , wrote:

“As regards ‘Catholic,’ its original meaning was ‘universal’ or ‘general.’ . . . in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations (cf., e.g., Muratorian Canon). . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church” (Early Christian Doctrines, 190–1).

So protestants are not Catholic nor are they catholic. And that Catholic Church they proclaim in the creed is indeed the Catholic Church, the one you referred to as “PAPIST” or “ROMANIST”.*

The so called “reformers” fixed nothing. How they saw themselves means nothing. What the so called "reformers did was to change doctrines to meet their wants. The very idea that the church that Jesus established needed “fixing” is so unscriptural that it is absolutely ludicrous that anyone would dare to say it. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead the church into all truth. How then can you say the church needed “fixing”? Which of its doctrines needed to be “fixed”? Maybe the Holy Spirit needed “fixing” too? Jesus said the forces of hell would not prevail against the church. If the church taught error then the forces of hell would prevail. But Jesus said that would not happen. So does Jesus need “fixin” too? And lastly Jesus said He would remain with His church until the end of the age. Did He lie? Did Jesus just stand idly by and watch the church that He established go off track and lapse into error? Can you see how ludicrous the allegations that the church needed “fixin” are?

Clarity is nice but truth is far better. With God there is only one way and that is truth. The golden calf made by the Jews made their position very clear just as the Commandments God gave to Moses made the truth very clear. So do we follow the golden calf of protestantism or do we follow the truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit and which needs no “fixin”??

Ezeekl, I’m not sure you’re seeing da wheel, here.

You’re not arguing with the actual Lutheran position of Sola Scriptura (even though I asked you specifically to speak to it); instead you chose to attack a tired caricature. So I’ll ask again: please demonstrate for us how the Lutheran understanding and practice of Sola Scriptura has changed, using authoritative Luthrran sources.

For your benefit, here’s a brief explanation of what Lutherans actually practice. Please note how very different it is from what you mistakenly accuse us of holding: internetmonk.com/archive/thinking-about-the-canon-a-lutheran-view

Are you honestly saying that the 16th century Catholic Church had no problems that needed fixing?

Hi ezeekl: I agree with you on your points on your posts. I would like to point out that wen the reformers left the Catholic Church and started their own churches because they no longer accepted the authority of the Catholic Church they needed a authority and that became Scripture, so that Scripture had to take the place of the Church they no longer accepted.

I believe I did do this and furthermore others (non Catholic) have alluded to it. But rather than having me defend myself let us agree with the Lutheran postion on what sola scriptura really means that the Bible is the final authority on matters of doctrine. Now having done that please show me where the Bible says we are to worship God on Sunday? The Bible says that Saturday is the Sabbath not Sunday. So why do Lutherans worship on Sunday??? I know why Catholics do so. But we don’t claim that the authority to change the worship to Sunday is scripturally based. That is only one of the contradictions to the Lutheran concept of sola scriptura.

But I raised other issues dealing with the scriptural basis for sola scriptura. I mentioned Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians. I mentioned the Council of Jerusalem where the Apostles, claiming inspiration of the Holy Spirit, decided they could dispense with what scripture said and make new doctrine. I mentioned the fact that it was men who decided what the contents of scripture (the Canon) was to be. Sola scriptura says these men had no such authority yet their product does. How can they give what they do not have? There are other scriptural issues with sola scriptura also. But these three will suffice for the present.

But while we are at it let’s cover the typical protestant answer. That is found in 2 Timothy 3:16:

“2 Timothy 3:16,17 - All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Notice what this passage really says and what it doesn’t say. It says that scripture equips a person for good works. In addition it says that scripture is profitable (to be used) for teaching, etc. But what it doesn’t say is that scripture ALONE is to be used for doctrine. If that is what Paul intended then Paul contradicts what He told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14,15:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Notice here Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in what Timothy learned and believed because Timothy knew from who he learned it from. That who was Paul not scripture. In verse 15 Paul then adds that the scripture Timothy was acquainted with in his childhood was able to instruct him for salvation. But these scriptures that Timothy was acquainted with was the Old Testament not the New Testament. Paul here is telling Timothy the very same exact thing he told the Thessalonians and that was to hold onto the Written Tradition (scripture) as well as the Oral Tradition (Apostolic Tradition). Those words penned by Paul 2,000 years ago were valid then just as they were valid in the 16th century and today as well. Sola scriptura contradicts Paul and thus contradicts scripture.

Not doctrinally, after all that is unscriptural. The Church will always have problems. Jesus said that the forces of hell would not prevail against the church. But he did not say that the forces of hell would not try. In every century the church has been under attack both from outside by persecution and inside by heresy. This is a church of sinners yearning to be saints. We are not a church of saints, at least not yet.

In any event the so called “reformation” was really a rebellion. Luther reformed nothing. Luther changed doctrine and by doing so he, in effect, called the Holy Spirit which scripture says was to lead the church into all truth, a liar. The real church reformation occurred at Trent.

Was Luther ever at a point where he did not need “fixing”

Was his Church free from all corruption at any point in time?

Did he ever abuse his self appointed office in his new church?

… same questions for all of the resulting splits after him…

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