For Those Who Teach Sola Scriptura…

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Using the Bible Alone, can you determine which books belong in the Bible? Where is the Bible’s canon explained?

Using the Bible Alone, can you tell who wrote each book of the Bible?

How did the Early Church manage to evangelize the pagan Roman Empire without a set Bible Canon?

Who has the authority to arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into contradictory interpretations of the Bible?

If all the authority a Christian needs is in the Bible, why are there thousands of denominations, with their own pastors or elders leading them?

Using the Bible Alone, can you show where the Bible teaches that it itself is sufficient?

Using the Bible Alone, can you explain the concept of the Trinity, and how the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son?

 

 

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6 thoughts on “For Those Who Teach Sola Scriptura…

  1. If this is proof of Sola Scriptura, then in reality it is Sola Old Testament! The real message of this passage is that all scripture is profitable, but not sufficient. This argument is very bad, because the referent of 2 Timothy 3:16 is not those scriptures which Timothy knew from infancy but rather all scripture in general.

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  2. I have observed and listened to many Protestants over the years, and here’s how the intellectuals might answer your questions:

    Using the Bible Alone, can you tell who wrote each book of the Bible?
    No, authorship does not need to be known for a book to be inspired (e.g. Hebrews).

    How did the Early Church manage to evangelize the pagan Roman Empire without a set Bible Canon?
    They preached the Gospel. How did the Catholic Church get by without any infallible canon until the 1540s?

    Who has the authority to arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into contradictory interpretations of the Bible?
    The essential teachings are clearly espoused so that the man of God can come to know them with confidence. Non-essential teachings will be debated based on exegesis of the text.

    If all the authority a Christian needs is in the Bible, why are there thousands of denominations, with their own pastors or elders leading them?
    If all Catholics need are the Church, why are there thousands of different views among Catholics regarding inspiration, marriage, inclusivism/exclusivism, etc.? Catholics and Protestants are sinners, and sin breeds division.

    Using the Bible Alone, can you show where the Bible teaches that it itself is sufficient?
    2 Tim 3:16-17 teaches that Scripture is sufficient to make the man of God complete. The Bible does not point to anything else (any additional source of revelation) that is sufficient to make the man of God complete. From those two premises, it follows that the Bible alone is sufficient.

    Using the Bible Alone, can you explain the concept of the Trinity, and how the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son?
    Yes, see for example “The Forgotten Trinity” by James White.

    PS – I am not a protestant. My purpose is just for you to see that there are some strong answers to the questions you posed. We need to be able to deal with the best answers.

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    • The question “How did the Early Church manage to evangelize the pagan Roman Empire without a set Bible Canon?” suggests just what you answered, friend. The orally preached it. They used Tradition, not Scripture Alone. If Sola Scriptura is the foundation of doctrine, why did Christ not instruct it to be used? Why did he not leave a list of inspired writings, so they would know what to preach?

      “The essential teachings are clearly espoused so that the man of God can come to know them with confidence. Non-essential teachings will be debated based on exegesis of the text.”

      But who decides who the man of God is? If two “men of God” are arguing over central Christian teachings, who is right? More importantly, who can determine who is right?

      “If all Catholics need are the Church, why are there thousands of different views among Catholics regarding inspiration, marriage, inclusivism/exclusivism, etc.? Catholics and Protestants are sinners, and sin breeds division.”

      Individual views of Catholics are not what is questioned here. The Bible, for Protestants is the sole rule of doctrine. If its that simple, why do they all claim to follow it, and yet differ? For Catholics, true doctrine does not change. If any Catholic willfully, knowingly, differs from Catholic teaching, he is no longer Catholic. Simple as that.

      “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

      This verse does not say that Scripture is sufficient; it says that Scripture is profitable. It does not say that we are to go by the Bible alone. Also, read in context with the preceding verses, St. Paul is talking to Timothy about the scriptures that he has known from his infancy (2 Timothy 3:15). The only scriptures at that time was the Old Testament. Paul’s epistles were not regarded as Scripture at the time of its writing. If this is proof of Sola Scriptura, then in reality it is Sola Old Testament! The real message of this passage is that all scripture is profitable, but not sufficient.

      The Greek word pasa, which is usually translated as “all”, means “every”, in the sense of referring to each and every individual piece of the class denoted. That is to say that the Greek literally reads that each and every individual scripture is profitable. Profitable, not sufficient. If profitable is to be taken as sufficient, then that means that every individual book of Scripture is sufficient to teach all Christian doctrine, and that is utter nonsense.

      This passage doesn’t teach formal sufficiency, which excludes a binding, authoritative role for Tradition and the Church. If we look at the overall context of this passage, we can see that Paul makes reference to oral Tradition three times (2 Tim. 1:13-14, 2:2, 3:14). And to use an analogy, examine a similar passage:

      “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:11-15).

      If 2 Timothy 3 proves the sole sufficiency of Scripture, then Ephesians 4 would also prove the sufficiency of pastors and teachers for the attainment of Christian perfection. The pastors, teachers, etc. are able to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, building Christ’s Church, and unity in knowledge of the Faith. Using the Protestant mindset for 2 Timothy 3:16, it appears that the leaders of the Church are sufficient, since this passage doesn’t even mention Scripture. So if all non-scriptural elements are excluded in 2 Timothy, then, by analogy, Scripture would logically have to be excluded in Ephesians. Another passage that could be mentioned such as James 1:4.

      “And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.” (James 1:4)

      It appears that, using the Protestant mentality applied to 2 Timothy 3:16, patience is enough to perfect a man, and only patience. James makes no mention of Scripture being sufficient.

      Or perhaps 2 Corinthians 12:9 which states:

      “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness‘ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

      Maybe even Matthew 19:21.

      Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21)

      Nowhere does the Bible claim to be the sole teacher of Christian doctrine, implicitly or explicitly. Why should one believe Sola Scriptura if the Bible itself does not teach it?

      As for the final question, a Bible Alone believer should be able to explain their position, not tell the person to read a book. That appears to be avoiding the question, or implying that the issue is too great to explain.

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      • Nowhere does the Bible claim to be the sole teacher of Christian doctrine, implicitly or explicitly. Why should one believe Sola Scriptura if the Bible itself does not teach it?

        Informed Protestants will argue that the bible does indeed teach sola scriptura in the following way:
        (1) 2 Timothy 3:16-17 informs us that God-breathed scriptures make the man of God sufficient and complete.
        (2) The scriptures refer to no other infallible source of revelation or rule of faith.
        (3) Therefore, the scriptures are the sole, infallible rule of faith for the Church.

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