You know, the biggest reason why Sola Scriptura is so vital to me has little to do with history and so much to do with practicality.
I can put up vigorous strictly scriptural arguments for the entirety of my faith.
The Catholic church, cannot.
The Catholic church’s position, as I’ve heard it said in many places, is either
Scriptures and Tradition are equal, and one interprets the other
Tradition trumps scriptures, it merely is a supplement
If the first was true, then why does scripture yell in opposition to many key catholic doctrines?
If the second is true, I will take no part in such a church. It has become a Fraternity…not a faith.
As for history, The longest stretch of history that Catholics use to slam the idea of Sola Scripura also neatly coincides with its apex of political power, i.e. 850AD to 1500 AD.
The reason these dates are important, is the forged Donation of Constantine gave the church the papal states and the Lateran palace in 850 AD. (I can’t believe that Christ’s church on earth would have an earthy kingdom, but yet, there were papal states, and at one point, the Catholic Church owned a sizeable percentage of all land in England)
The end date coincides with the end of political power. The reformation had been going on since 1100 A.D. religiously, it only came to a head when even Romish monks could no longer take the abuses.
I also find it hard to trust a church that has more often found itself in the role of “persecuter” rather than “persecuted,” as Jesus promised all Christians would be.
John 15:20 states: “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
These persecutions are not even limited to the Inquisition. I will admit the validity of Vatican research that has uncovered that only hundreds, not thousands were executed during the Inquisition (ONLY hundreds?)
In addition, entire villages were put to the sword in the Albigensian Crusade, and thousands more Anabaptists were mercilessly slaughtered by local church authorities (Read “Martyr’s Mirror”, the history is horribly biased, but the letters are extremely convicting)
During the reign of Bloody Mary, another few hundred were slain for the high crimes of denying transubstantiation, and rejecting papal authority. Even the Archbishop of Cantebury was burned at the stake!
(in a related story, 53 catholics, including clergymen, cooked up a plot at the behest of the pope to remove the Protestant King that replaced bloody mary, the plot was uncovered, and they were put to death…they now are listed by the Catholic church as martyrs…can you really be called a martyr if you were executed for TREASON?)
Even to the present day, the Catholic Church has been all too willing to strike hands in pledge with those that would harm people. Ever wonder why the Pope has such sweet digs? Its because he signed a treaty with Mussolini, which gave them the Vatican State, in return for Papal support of fascism (Lateran Treaty of 1929)
I’ve even been told that the RCC has reformed itself, that it is no longer the beast it once was, but yet I find in current canon law, posted on the vatican state webpage, previsions for both continued sale of indulgences, and provisions to confiscate property from those who oppose the Catholic church.
Praise be to God that literacy and the printing press has returned the faith to those whom it belongs to!
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor"
The faith has run from the art and gold filled cage of St. Peter’s Basilica, and returned to those who for hundreds of years were oppressed under papal thumbs!
We are free, again, to reason in the temple courts in the proud tradition of the Godly men who have come before! And to use our God -given intellect and our God-given Scripture to rebuild the faith!
Every time I hear a defense of Apostolic Succession and Tradition, it seems to ring very hollow in the chambers of history which supposedly attest to it.