Sola Scriptura

I recently had an exchange with an atheist, who had previously been a Christian (I’m guessing maybe Evangelical, based on his language and approach). He was attacking Christianity by attacking the Bible and what he saw as inconsistencies, as he had previously taken it with a very literal reading. While I’m not the greatest apologist, I did a little quick research and answered his points sincerely, and I think “helped” him reconsider what he had taken for granted in terms of problems with the faith. Maybe it’ll bear fruit, maybe not, but I do think the Holy Spirit guided me in the discussion, because I’m typically not all that good at defending the Faith (it’s not that I don’t know the faith reasonably well, but I’m not a good debater).

What troubled me, in hindsight, was that it showed the weakness of “Sola Scriptura,” and a very unintended consequence on the part of our Protestant brothers and sisters when promoting this doctrine. The Bible itself was obviously never meant to be the complete reference to the faith, and was never meant to exist in a vacuum with no other consideration. However, when it is taken in isolation, along with a superficial understanding of scholarship, it becomes an easy target for those wanting to disprove or attack the faith, as these attacks occur in a space where there is little in the way of outside reinforcement or understanding. In fact, much of what I’ve seen online in terms of attacks on the faith have come from a half-baked, out of context, reading of certain parts of the Bible.

Just curious, has anyone else noticed this as a trend or problem in recent years?

Yes, I believe it goes much deeper than you think, the protestant revolt started by Luther is the main reason for much of the attacks on the reliability of the Bible that began in the 18th century and continue today. The idea that we can pick apart the bible without reading it in its entirety and without allowing for the interpretive lens of the Church was born out of sola scriptura.

I can’t say that I have noticed it as a “trend”. Rather I think that it is something that has always been a problem.
However - as with all such conversations - we have to take into account that there is a wide range of protestant views on Scripture. The one that you refer to above, the hyper literal, is always going to be a problem…however - there are other protestant Churches who take a much more comprehensive view of Scripture and for them this is less of an issue.

Just some thoughts.


Sola Scriptura is becoming more difficult for protestants to defend over the last several years, because Catholics are finally starting to study the Bible.

In the past, the clever little protestant joke of “How do you hide something from a Catholic?..Put it in the Bible!”, unfortunately had a ring of truth to it.

I guess it’s relative, as I’d say the exact opposite. Some Catholics are very knowledgeable, but one person I know maintains that she interprets the bible infallibly simple because she is Catholic but turned out to not even know the difference between chapters and verses.


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