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The Difference Between Sola Scriptura And Biblicism (R. Scott Clark)

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by thatbrian, Mar 19, 2018.

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  1. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Many great points in this piece.


    . . .Under the influence of Anabaptist radicalism, which swept across and transformed American evangelicalism in the 19th century (the causes of which are the subject of another post) led it away from the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura to a different doctrine: biblicism or the attempt to understand Scripture by one’s self and by itself, i.e., in isolation from the history of the church and in isolation from the communion of the saints. In biblicism the interpreter, not Scripture, becomes sovereign. Historically biblicists, although they boast about their devotion to Scripture, are actually devoted to the supremacy of reason. As someone, somewhere said, “All heretics quote Scripture.” It is one thing to quote Scripture but it is another to read it well and to interpret it properly.

    Scripture is sufficient and it is sufficiently clear but, because of sin, our minds are not always clear. I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had with rationalists, i,e,, those who place the authority of the intellect above all other authorities and mystics, i.e., those who place the authority of religious experience above Scripture, who all the while insisted that they were following Scripture. A rationalist knows a priori what Scripture must say. Rome is guilty of this error. She knew before she ever read Scripture that God can only justify one who is already, by grace and cooperation with grace, inherently and entirely sanctified. That’s a form of rationalism. . .

    The Difference Between Sola Scriptura And Biblicism


     
  2. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    What a bunch of non-sense. Biblicism is nothing more than the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics which seeds to uncover the meaning of the text by taking into account not just the grammatical words, but also the syntactical aspects, the cultural and historical background, and the literary genre.

    A Biblicist, in practice, is one who places the words of God above the words of men.
     
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  3. delizzle

    delizzle Active Member

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    Agreed. The Bible has been used to support slavery and condemn slavery. It has been used to oppress women and liberate women. Even the Nazis used the bible to justify the holocaust. This, of course, was due to poor hermeneutics that did not take into account the proper historical and literary contexts of scripture. Instead, it is when people approach scripture with their agenda driven presuppositions that they tend to "read into scripture" or make scripture "fit" what they believe or want to believe.
     
  4. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    "Charles Hodge

    The Bible is a plain book. It is intelligible by the people. And they have the right, and are bound to read and interpret it for themselves; so that their faith may rest on the testimony of the Scriptures, and not on that of the Church. Such is the doctrine of Protestants on this subject. It is not denied that the Scriptures contain many things hard to be understood; that they require diligent study; that all men need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to right knowledge and true faith. But it is maintained that in all things necessary to salvation they are sufficiently plain to be understood even by the unlearned.

    It is not denied that the people, learned and unlearned, in order to the proper understanding of the Scriptures, should not only compare Scripture with Scripture, and avail themselves of all the means in their power to aid them in their search after the truth, but they should also pay the greatest deference to the faith of the Church. If the Scriptures be a plain book, and the Spirit performs the functions of a teacher to all the children of God, it follows inevitably that they must agree in all essential matters in their interpretation of the Bible. And from that fact it follows that for an individual Christian to dissent from the faith of the universal Church (i. e., the body of true believers), is tantamount to dissenting from the Scriptures themselves.

    What Protestants deny on this subject is, that Christ has appointed any officer, or class of officers, in his Church to whose interpretation of the Scriptures the people are bound to submit as of final authority. What they affirm is that He has made it obligatory upon every man to search the Scriptures for himself, and determine on his own discretion what they require him to believe and to do....."
    Perspicuity of the Scriptures. The Right of Private Judgment - Christforums

    27 And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teacheth you; concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in him. 1 Jn 2

    8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. Mt 23

    5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Jas 1

    18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold Wondrous things out of thy law. Ps 118
     
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  5. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    This undermines your whole argument:

    27 And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
     
  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Quite the contrary, it underscores it!

    ...besides having poor reading comprehension you make no bones about pitting scripture against scripture do you?
     
  7. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    They obviously need to be taught, so why didn't they magically know this stuff? They had the scriptures interpreted for them, which undermines your view completely.
     
    #7 thatbrian, Mar 19, 2018
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  8. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Ah, yes, The bible in one hand and a Systematic Theology in the other (or on the desk if its 2 or more volumes and/or you are a senior citizen).
     
  9. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    First, He gifted and appointed teachers for His Church. I wonder what their job would be. Hmmmm?

    Second, you obviously didn't read the article, so why do you feel qualified to post in this thread?
     
    #9 thatbrian, Mar 19, 2018
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  10. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    I read enough to know its the samo samo I have been reading for 60 years or so.

    It has that same sleepy quality of verbiage that young whiper-snapers think when they believe they have made a world shattering truth apart from scripture (although you did indeed quote scripture in your first sentence rebuttal rebuttal, Hmmmm?) Which i suppose might be, could be, on a chance be but I'm still waiting.
     
  11. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Full disclosure. For personal reasons, I am not a big R. Scott Clark fan. That said, I have to give credit when it is due. In the article, Clark makes this statement:

    This is the difference between Biblicism and Sola Scriptura. I understand what @TCassidy said about historical-grammatical hermeneutics, but this is not what big "B" Biblicism is. I have debated more than a handful of Biblicists and they have all shared one common trait: they interpret scripture independent of the church. The start with their understanding of the text. So, at its lowest common denominator, the individual reigns supreme when it comes to interpretation. This is a serious problem. @TCassidy, to be fair, you may not be referring to this type of interpretive system. Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed Biblicists do. They say things like, "I do not want to be pinned down by the works of others. I appeal directly the scriptures." What they are really saying is that they are smarter and more reasoned than all those who preceded them. That is arrogance.
     
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  12. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    So, you Assumed.

     
  13. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for your thoughtful reply and for overlooking your personal dislike for Clark. You've explained the flaw in the Biblicist's thinking quite succinctly.

    Like Calvinism, this topic can be easily misunderstood by those who assume something we aren't saying. Some Baptists might have a difficult time seeing Clark's point because they might overreact against what they perceive as being "Roman Catholic" on this subject. Not wishing to get within a mile of anything that might misconstrued as Rome, they throw the baby out with the bathwater, I think.

    This is a deadly serious problem: "the individual reigns supreme when it comes to interpretation". This kind of thinking spawned the SDA and all cults, sects, and errant churches of all sizes, shapes and colors. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on in the name of Christ, and it all had its genesis in the same very bad idea.

    The Biblicist's obvious problem: "What they are really saying is that they are smarter and more reasoned than all those who preceded them. That is arrogance"

    Everyman is a theologian, and every theologian must find his theology in the context of the Church. The spirit of Biblicism is fundamentally anti-Christian. There is no place for raw individualism in Christ's Church.
     
    #13 thatbrian, Mar 20, 2018
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  14. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Put simply, inerrancy is a meaningless concept if interpretation of the Bible is up for grabs. If we approach God's Word in the careless way in which I think Biblicism does, with every man his own final authority, then inerrancy is a functionally meaningless concept.
     
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  15. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for writing this. Do individual Christians possess the Holy Spirit? Yes. Is it the Holy Spirit that leads individual Christians into all truth (JN 16:13)? Yes. The key thing to remember is that God never intended for individual Christians to exist outside of the church. I am not referring to a specific denomination or even the Roman Catholic Church. I am referring to the universal church. All Christians are part of the body of Christ. The body functions at the local church level but it is still part of a greater whole. As Paul wrote:

    God has gifted the church with pastors and teachers, "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12). Pastors and teachers gain their knowledge from the foundation that was laid by the apostles and prophets, and they, in turn, gained their knowledge from God. We must take great care that we do not depart from the design of the Chief Architect:

    1 Corinthians 3:10-11 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

    In his book, "The Agony of Deceit", R.C. Sproul wrote:

    Some Baptists I know have had conniption fits over the above quote from Sproul. They believe it is de facto Romanism. R.C. Sproul was not equating biblical tradition with Roman Catholic tradition; he had in mind the sound teaching of the church handed down through the centuries, having been built on the foundation laid by Christ (c.f. 1 Cor. 3:11).
     
  16. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    The Sproul quote you posted is helpful, I think.

    Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If, upon reading a particular passage, you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.
    Just as the Christian comes under the authority of the Church for his behavior in church discipline, he comes under the authority of the church for instruction and the renewing of his mind through the teaching ministry of the church.

    If we take the idea of biblicism to its logical conclusion, we could have a one-day-old Christian correcting his pastor or preaching to the congregation on Sunday morning. Could a one-day-old Christian theoretically correct his pastor if scripture were on his side? Yes, but where the biblicist goes wrong is that his starting point is that he treats 2,000 years of church history as suspect, while thinking himself infallible in his interpretation, and as you've already stated, that is the height of arrogance. And, as Sproul pointed out, if you think you've discovered something that the church missed for 2,000 years, you very likely are dead wrong. This is the reasoning we bring to the SDA and the writings of Ellen White which evidently the Church was unaware of and living without for 1,800 years.

    Another problem with biblicism is that it makes church discipline impossible. When each man has such a high opinion of himself, he does not subject himself to the authority of the elders who have been charged with his care. Biblicism is much like Relativism. Everyman's opinion is equally valid, which has no end other than "might makes right", and that is evident here on BB.
     
  17. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    You ever experienced this heartburn?:

    2 And they said one to another, Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures? Lu 24

    ....this joy?:

    162 I rejoice at thy word, As one that findeth great spoil. Ps 119

    ...or does following the Reformed script do it for you?
     
  18. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    ...unable to make the connection, eh?:

    8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. Mt 23

    27 And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Lu 24

    ...I guess your Reformed script doesn't cover it...
     
    #18 kyredneck, Mar 20, 2018
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  19. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    So I know.
     
  20. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    I've never met a person who knows what an article he hasn't read says, but if you say so. . .
     
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