Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    Men and brethren,

    The term "Sola Scriptura" came about during the Protestant Reformation to refute and oppose, and to affirm, the proper place the Scriptures should have over people. It had been taught by the papists and others that it is the Scripture PLUS tradition that is needed, tradition interpreting the Scripture for the people.

    Orthodoxy defines tradition as "In theological terms it means any teaching or practice which has been transmitted from generation to generation throughout the life of the Church." (Note, by orthodoxy I mean the Orthodox church as a sect, or demoniation)

    Roman Catholicism has a similar idea. The Orthodox Church has repeated the error of Rome teaching a Sola Ecclesia. Consider, "Only in this Church, where the Holy Trinity lives and acts constantly could the teaching of Christ, the very revelation of truth, as received and transmitted by the Apostles, abide and be sustained. Thus truth in its fullness does not exist outside the Church, for there is neither Scripture, nor Tradition. "

    To what church are they referring? Their own of couse. The Orthodox Church teaches, "Theologians call this teaching of the Scriptures "the Apostolic Tradition." It encompasses what the Apostles lived, saw, witnessed and later recorded in the books of the new Testament. The bishops and presbyters, whom the Apostles appointed as their successors, followed their teaching to the letter. Those who deviated from this apostolic teaching were cut off from the Church. They were considered heretics and schismatics, for they believed differently from the Apostles and their successors, thus separating themselves from the Church. This brings into focus the Church as the center of unity of all Christians."

    This should be sufficient to give us all an general understanding what what those churches mean by Scripture and Tradition. Granted, we will find some differences in the details between Romanism and Orthodoxy and even among Orthodoxy there might be some slight differences in defining it (I am not aware of any) but the essence is the same.

    Let me also say that by comparing the two I do not mean that the orthodox church and the papacy are the same. There are very marked and strict differences between the two. They have no communion together as far as I can tell.

    Sola Scriptura is opposed to the concept of Scripture and Tradition. So what is Sola Scriptura?

    As in the title, Sola Scriptura means Scripture Alone. By Sola Scriptura we mean the Scripture, and the Scriptures alone, are sufficient to be the rule of faith for the Church. In a debate on this subject James White (a Reformed Baptist) defined in his own words (i.e., not citing others) the following explaination:

    This is an accurate representation of what Sola Scriptura is. It should become plain then what the difference is between what the Orthodox church and Roman Catholic church and Protestants believe. Both the RCC and the OC believe (in large part) that the Scriptures are inspired of God (God-breathed) and the rule of faith for the church---but not the only rule.

    It is important that we agree, or else work out, the definiations of what is discussed.

    Orthodox source for quotes: http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7116.asp

    James White source: http://www.aomin.org/White25.html
     
  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    My own views on this are already on record on this board:-

    [ETA - NB: the other threads referred to are no longer extant but fortunately my OP to one of them has been preserved elsewhere:-

    ]
     
    #2 Matt Black, Sep 12, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2007
  3. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt:
    This leads me to a rather obvious conclusion: if relying on the Bible alone plus the individual inspiration of the Holy Spirit leads to this doctrinal anarchy, then clearly either the Holy Spirit isn't doing a very good job...OR there is the need for some kind of singular teaching authority to interpret scripture...

    The problems don't come from the Holy Spirit, but we must admit that there are lots of things to be corrected in the human minds even after the Salvation, and therefore we have a lot of disagreement.
    However, can we see the disagreement about the Sola Scriptura itself among the Evangelical Believers?

    What if any writings disagree with the Scripture ? If Apocrypha differs from the Bible, would you desert the Bible and follow AP? If AP has nothing over Bible,why do we need the AP? If the exegeses of the people are erraneous, why should we accept it over the Bible?
     
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, we can see disagreement about the doctrine of sola Scriptura itself between evangelicals. For a start, there are those evangelicals who are part of a denomination which places an emphasis on some kind of Church Tradition: Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians etc. Then there are those evangelicals in denominations which don't officially subscribe to a Tradition but nevertheless in reality do have 'unwritten rules of interpretation': Baptists, Brethren, SDAs, Pentecostals etc eg: you try preaching a baptismal regeneration interpretation of I Peter 3:21 from a Baptist pulpit or a cessationist interpretation of I Cor 13 in a Pentecostal church and you'll pretty quickly discover that they have as much of an interpretative tradition as the next denomination!
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    I am failing at this point to see how the intial reply to my thread is addressing what is in my thread. What I do see is an attempt to prove Sola Scriptura wrong, or to insinuiate it is wrong, because one person's pereception of the effect. It seems to me a fallicous argument that Sola Scriptura is false because we don't see absolute unity among those who hold to its principle. We don't see absolute unity in the sense being described even among Roman Catholics or the Orthodox.

    My point is, the subject of Sola Scriptura, the issue, isn't debating the effect but rather the sufficiency, of Scripture.
     
  6. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. We are going to have differences among us, but to be truly evangelical in the classical sense is to subscribe to the solas, which defined the evangelical community.

    2. Some of our differences are petty, while others are matters of essentials.

    3. A questions that we must ask ourselves is this, Is Sola Scriptura the Essence of Christianity? The answer to the question will inevitably reveal what we believe about historic Christianity and its rule of faith and practice.
     
  7. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. I think you are making too much of ecclesiastical differences.

    2. I can differ with my Presbyterian brethren on Pedo-baptism, but that does not reflect negatively on sola Scriptura.

    3. According to Luther the "External Word" is objective and does not change with because of the papacy or councils.

    4. Different conclusions on a given text should not be mistaken as the failure of Sola Scriptura.

    5. The real question is, Does Scripture itself support the doctrine of sola scriptura?

    6. Differences on certain texts should not be concluded as an affront on sola scriptura.
     
  8. NotCountedWise

    NotCountedWise
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even if one were to concede that the quote from James White contains an accurate representation (interpretation?) of Scripture's teaching on the authority of Scripture, the fact remains that since the quote is not apart of Scripture, it cannot be considered binding upon anyone. Indeed, it should be tossed into fire with the rest of the church's writings.

    Yes? :)

    While I allow no traditions to interpret Scripture, I certainly uphold *traditional interpretations* of Scripture. Such as the following exerpt from the Formula of Concord:
    Perhaps if James White had simply copy/pasted from the Lutheran Confessions, he could have saved some time. :)

     
  9. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    So long as they are in accord with Scripture, yes.

    No, James White's explaination of Sola Scriptura is not Scripture, therefore not binding on the conscience of men as if it were Scripture. Such is the error of the RCC and EO church.

    So I take it then you agree with White's explaination. Cool.
     
  10. NotCountedWise

    NotCountedWise
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    But are you getting the whole picture of those outside the Orthodox and Roman churches?

    As was alluded to in a different thread, Protestants seem to have a disdain for all things "traditional" (read: "historical") in the church. Maybe this is reactionary, maybe not, but Luther and his crew had as bad taste in their mouth from the pope as anybody, yet they managed to avoid ignoring those church writings ("traditions?") which were in accord with Scripture (particularly those written against heretics, as seen from the quote).

    Perhaps using Sola Scriptura to ignore church writings that are perfectly true and legitimate constitutes an abuse of Sola Scriptura.

    The Lutheran one is better. :)

    So I am free to reject it, yes? (Despite the fact that this generates a paradox?)
     
  11. Agnus_Dei

    Agnus_Dei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    These symbols were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church. They are the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We pledge ourselves to these symbols, and in this way we reject all heresies and teachings that have been introduced into God's Church against them.(snip from the Lutheran Confession)​

    On a side note since the Lutheran Confessions mentions the Creeds, in the eyes of Orthodoxy the statements of faith put out by the Seven Ecumenical Councils; possess along with the Bible, an abiding and irrevocable authority which includes of the 3 Creeds the Confession mentions only the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

    The other two Creeds mentioned; the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds both used in the West do not possess the same authority as that of the Nicene Creed. Mainly b/c they were never proclaimed by an Ecumenical Council.

    Orthodoxy honors the Apostle’s Creed as an ancient statement of faith, and accepts all its teachings, but it’s simply a local western Baptismal Creed, never used in Eastern Patriarchates services.

    The Athanasian Creed is likewise not used in Orthodox worship, but I have noticed the Creed is sometimes printed, without the Filioque in the Book of Hours.
    -
     
  12. Eliyahu

    Eliyahu
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think Baptist churches accept the Baptismal Regeneration.
    True Baptists are Credo-Baptists and Believers Baptism by total immersion is the requirement and mode there.

    2. Yes I will have such problem with Charisma in Pentecostal. But that might be some part that I have to tolerate. There can a a certain diversity which can be tolerated in the church gatherings.
     
  13. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    I believe the Bible, as written in the original manuscripts, is the inspired and infallible word of God. But I have several problems with Sola Scriptura:

    (1) Jesus never wrote anything down (other than scrbbling in the dirt) and, outside of Revelation 1:11, there is no record that He told anyone to preserve His teachings in writing. However, He did tell His apostles to teach and to baptize. Moreover, John relates that if everything Jesus did were written in detail the whole world could not contain the books about Him. I believe Tradition reveals some of these things.

    (2) Scrpture itself does not teach Sola Scriptura. In fact we are told in scripture to adhere to both writings and oral tradition. "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

    (3) If Sola Scriptura is proper doctrine, which translation should we use? Peter Ruckman and others would say nothing but the KJV. No other legitimate translation has such strong advocates but they differ considerably on some important points. For example, several modern translations have eliminated Mark 16:9-20, a very important doctrinal passage for those who believe in baptismal regeneration.

    The simple truth is that we all have traditions. Whenever we do or believe something because "the memory of man runneth not to the contrary" it is a tradition. Tradition pervades public life but nowhere is it more prevalent than in religious life. For example, Sunday School is not mentioned in scripture but most of us cannot imagine a church without Sunday School. And where did we get the practice of having Sunday night and Wednesday night services? Tradition. Why do most Baptists refrain from the use of beverage alcohol? Same answer.

    To be sure, some traditions are older than others. Some reach back to the times of the early Christians and, if they have been properly preserved since that time, there is no reason not to embrace them--especially if the tradition does not contradict scripture.
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    To say "Protestants seem to have a disdain for all things historical (using your def.) in the church" is an overgenrealization. I am glad you used the word "seem" because I do think the impression exists in your perception and not in the truth of the matter.

    Am I somehow deficient because I may not read exhaustively the earlier Christian writings? (not that I have not read them) The biblical answer is no. Why? Because all Scripture is sufficient for the man of God to be complete. The early christian writings are not Scripture, and being called tradition is not equal with Scripture in authority. This does not mean they are not useful or encouraging to the faith of believers. But they are not profitable for doctrine in authority.

    I am not sure what about rejecting the writings of men I said gives you the impression your not free. I think my language was clear?
     
  15. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    Zenas,

    May the Lord bless you. I do see some things in what you posted to give concern.


    I too agree the Bible (the Holy Scriptures) are God-breathed and infallible and inerrant in their orignal mss. I would add to this that God has Providentially preserved His that original through time through the many copies that remain to this day.

    This reasoning does 3 things. 1. It denies the Spirit of Christ as the author of Scripture and thereby denies Christ and the Father as the author of Scripture. I am certain this is not your purpose. Yes, Jesus by the hands of His own flesh did not pen the Scriptures, yet by His Spirit he moved holy men to write, according to the Scriptures. 2. It denies our present Bibles are in doubt as being Scripture. 3. It adds to Scripture tradition.


    While I know you will wish to respond to the Scriptures, and I could provide a defense for why these Scriptures teach what we call Sola Scriptura, it is sufficient for now to post them: 2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 15:1-6

    More could be added, but these two are clear, the first by precept and the second by example, the first by an Apostle, and the second through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This apparantly confuses the subject of Sola Scriptura with the subject a modern controversy regarding translations.

    This is confusing the use of the term tradition. A tradition of a practice, Sunday school to use your example, is not equivelant to what Orthodox and Roman Catholics mean by tradition. They mean authoritavtive interpretation, the RCC taking it to the extreme of infallbility and equality with Holy Scripture. I does make sens to compare the practice of a Sunday school class to that.

    The last part of your sentence is ket "if the tradition does not contradict the Scripture." This statement actually establishes Sola Scriptura. We must hold any tradition up to the light of Scripture. Why? Because no tradition is equal in authority to Scripture. Jesus expected the same of the Jews in Matt 15 and He expects the same of His people today.
     
  16. NotCountedWise

    NotCountedWise
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where else would my impressions exist? :) However, I must confess that my perception is based on hard data. A limited sampling, perhaps.

    I suspect that an exhaustive reading of earlier Christian writings would waste more time than simply rehashing all the controversies they addressed! I merely advise that all Christians be given a "sufficient" understanding of the Scriptural heresies that precede us, along with the true confession of faith that emerged. Why? So they can, perhaps, avoid repeating history. Now, clearly, we derive no authority from anything outside Scripture; indeed, those writings which are a correct exposition of Scripture derive their authority from *it*.
     
  17. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    But Scripture itself does not claim this - eg: you can't quote II Tim 3:16 without balancing it with I Tim 3:15
     
    #17 Matt Black, Sep 13, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2007
  18. Agnus_Dei

    Agnus_Dei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    ...and to add also Matt, one has to wonder why Paul meant to exclude tradition as not being profitable, when he uses non-biblical oral tradition in II Timothy 3:8? The names Jannes and Jambres are not found in the OT, yet we see in II Timothy 3:8 where Paul refers to them as opposing Moses.

    Here Paul is clearly drawing upon oral tradition of two Egyptian magicians in the Exodus account.
    -
     
  19. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are your references correct? Did you mean to say 1 Tim 3:15?
     
  20. Agnus_Dei

    Agnus_Dei
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    In regard to Sola Scriptura, It would be better to first attack its origins.

    Since my excommunication from Faith Baptist Church for leaving and attending a Methodist Church (yes, I have the letter), I’ve been studying Roman Theology and that’s been a few years. Since I’ve turned my attention to the Eastern Orthodox Church and have followed the progression of the Western Church, I’m first glad to have not made any hasty decisions to reconcile with The Western Church.

    Now I can somewhat understand Luther’s cry of Sola Scriptura in light of the corruption in the Roman Church at that time; the degenerated teachings that it promoted and the distorted understanding of tradition that it used to defend itself and along with the fact that the Western Roman Church was several centuries removed from any significant contact with their former Orthodox heritage. How could you blame Luther? How else could Luther have appealed to tradition to fight these abuses, when tradition, as all in the Western Church were led to believe was personified by the very papacy that were responsible for those abuses.

    For Luther’s only choice if he were to reform the Western Church, he had to use Scripture to get rid of the Roman traditions that were now corrupt. Unfortunately, Luther’s rhetoric far outstripped his own practices, and more radical reformers took the idea of Sola Scriptura to its logical conclusions.

    The end result is an innumerable list of denominations, all of which claim to represent true Christianity. Every brand name has essentially split itself into several competing fractions. Since this is a Baptist Board, look at the number of Baptist fractions: Southern, Seventh Day, American, National, General, Particular, Regular, Primitive, Landmark, Conservative, Free Will and the Independent Fundamentalist which will have nothing to do with the others b/c they’re not truly Christian.

    Primitive Baptist’s are strict Calvinist, while some Free Willers are strict Arminians and the Southern Baptists can’t make up their minds, yet all claim Sola Scriptura as a source of authority. Calvinist and Arminians cannot both be right…all the dialectic in the world cannot reconcile to two theological thoughts.

    Is Christ divided?
    -
     

Share This Page

Loading...