More on Sola Scriptura…

I'm posting again, largely because I'm addressing some misconceptions.

Here is a list of "problems" that was posted on another blog. (Again, Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that the Word of God is the only infallible rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrinesour final authority). These problems disappear when you use the Reformer's definition "Sola Scriptura."

1. Requires ability to print.

- actually, it requires the ability to hear. Sola Scriptura does not require literacy, it requires faith in the Word of God.
- Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

2. Requires mass distribution of bibles!

- these two list items do require a goal of distributing Bibles and teaching people to read, a goal that the Roman Catholic church has opposed in the past. Is this a bad goal to have?
- but be that as it may... Sola Scriptura does not require literacy, or even owning a Bible, it requires faith in the Word of God.
- There are churches (and synogues) that do not preach. All they do is read the Word.
- because faith comes from hearing the message

3. Requires Christians be able to read!

- Again, Sola Scriptura does not require literacy, it requires faith in the Word of God.
- A person does not have to read, they have to understand because
- faith comes from hearing the message.

4. Must have scholarly materials available.

- Scripture is the final authority, not the work of man. Read Roman 3:23. Can you figure it out for yourself?
- Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
I doubt that David had a copy of Calvin's Commentaries, or even the Catechism. The Word was enough.

5.Need time to study! ..." If he is working in the fields or a home (or, later, in the factory) for ten, twelve, fifteen, or eighteen hours a day, he obviously doesn't have time to do this, especially not in addition to the care and raising of his family and his own need to eat and sleep and recreate.

- Remember the story of Abraham Lincoln? Work all day and then come home and read for just a few minutes?
- Arguing from the extreme raises bad arguments and in fact, only exposes the weakness of your position.
- When I'm gardening or doing something with my hands, I'm recite Scripture. In the past, this was common. Part of "hiding the Word in the heart"

6.Sola scriptura pre supposes universal adequate nutrition

- Any more so that hearing the teachings of any teacher? No. So, under this "problem", hearing the teaching of the bishop of Rome (or any other teacher) would require just as much "adequate nutrition.
- The Bible teaches us, "so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isa 55:11)
- The Bible does not teach us that about the teaching of man and tradition. Paul told his readers to pay attention, listen - but only the Word of God has the guarantee, so I'd be more concerned with the teachings of humans being lost in malnutrition than God's Word.

7.Must be skilled in evaluating arguments - Sola Scriptura requires thinking.

-Stop and think about the ramifications of this "problem".
- Is the reverse true? People rely on the teaching of man and tradition because they cannot think?

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28 thoughts on “More on Sola Scriptura…

  1. 1. Requires ability to print.

    - actually, it requires the ability to hear.

    Well then the doctrine is misnamed! It should be sola audio!!

    Scriptura as in scripture as in written by a scribe, scripted means writing. Writing is for reading!

  2. Sigh...

    what are they reading? the written Word of God.

    Elena - here is a very serious question - I expect an answer, or I will visit your blog again.

    Elena - do you have a written copy of every single Catholic doctrine? Every single papal bull? Every single council? Every canon?

  3. Elena - when you read a book out loud to your kids, are you making it up as you go along?

    Or is the author's words that are being communicated?

    Does the fact that you're reading out loud take anything away from the book?

    If I can recite "Green Eggs and Ham" word for word - is it me? Or is it Dr. Seuss?

  4. Elena -

    I have the Bible on CD - is it any less the Word of God?

    Either you must say that the Word is infallible, whether written or read or...

    the same words are fallible in one form, but not the other.

    Which is it, Elena?

  5. First of all Ellen - you're always welcome on my blog! πŸ™‚

    Nonetheless, despite 4 responses you did not adequately rebuttal my point. Scripture are written. The intent of writing words is that they will be read. You assertion that sola scriptura requires hearing is simply wrong. It first and foremost requires writing and reading.

  6. Let us go over the doctrine again, shall we?

    (as written in the Belgic Confession): "We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule"

    The Westminster Confession of Faith defines Sola Scriptura this way: β€œThe whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men”

    There is nothing in this doctrine that expresses the need (nor is that need expressed in Scripture) that the Scripture be read by each and every person, or by one person to another.

    The doctrine states that everything that is necessary for God's glory and for man's faith in in the Scripture. Whether we receive the instruction through reading with our own eyes, or by hearing the Scripture read - that is immaterial to this doctrine.

    Read this again - carefully.

    The doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" - Scripture alone is our final and infallible authority.

    If you can get "and you have to be able to read it from yourself" out of that, you need to explain how.

  7. I ask again, Elena - and yes, this is relevent to the question of your *claim* that having the Bible read to you is somehow taking away from its authority.

    I have the Bible on CD - is it any less the Word of God?

    Either you must say that the Word is infallible, whether written or read or...

    the same words are fallible in one form, but not the other.

    Which is it, Elena?

  8. Ellen, I'm simply looking at your list of rebuttals to my list of practical considerations of the doctrine Sola Scriptura. Your first that reading is not required. That's just silly!

    [Middle English, from Late Latin scrptra, from Latin, act of writing, from scrptus, past participle of scrbere, to write. See skrbh- in Indo-European Roots.]

    Things are written so that they can be read. It's really that simple.

  9. I ask again, Elena - and yes, this is relevent to the question of your *claim* that having the Bible read to you is somehow taking away from its authority

    Not at all. What I am saying is, if "Scripture alone is our only final and infallible source for everything we need to know for salvation and righteousness," then it has to be read. And if that is true, my other 6 points also are equally true.

  10. If this is all you have (a fallacy), it truly shows the weakness of your position and your blind loyalty to Rome, rather than to God.

    Your fallacy reads as follows:
    1) If everything we need to know for our salvation and righteousness is in God's Word
    2) God's Word is in written form
    therefore...
    - We must be able to read in order to know everything we need to know for our salvation and righteousness.

    Let's "unpack" this.

    Question Which came first, God's Word transmitted orally, or God's Word in written form?
    ans. For centuries God's Word was transmitted orally. The first recorded instance of God's Word in written form was by God's own hand - the Ten Commandmants on Mt. Sinai. Before Moses

    Elena, are you prepared to argue that the Pentatuch is not valid as God's Word because it was transmitted orally?

    Question Was God's Word transmitted orally able to transmit the requirements for salvation?
    ans. Yes. Abraham and Isaac (and their descendents until Moses) did not have the God's Word in written form, yet nobody argues that they had the knowledge that the needed in order to come into salvation.

    Elena, are you ready to argue that Abraham's descendents, Isaac, Joseph and the rest did not have everything they needed to know about salvation and righteousness because God's Word was transmitted orally?

    Question Is God's Word, transmitted orally, any less God's Word than if it were transmitted in writing?
    ans. By your own words, no.

    Here is a sequence of logic:
    1) God's Word was only transmitted in oral form form many centuries.
    2) God's Word, transmitted orally before its written form, was able to bring men to salvation.
    3) God's Word, transmitted orally, is not any less God's Word than if it is read by the person receiving it
    Therefore...
    God's Word, whether it is read by the person receiving it or heard by the person receiving it, is equally God's Word. Just as it was able to bring the requirements of salvation and righteousness to Adam's descendents right down to Moses, transmitted orally, oral transmission of God's Word, transmitted orally, is able to bring the requirements of salvation and righteousness to men today.

    Thus, your conclusion (you have to be able to read) is false and you would be much better off sticking to whether or not you need the bishop of Rome and traditions of men to know everything you need to know for salvation and righteousness.

  11. Elena, are you prepared to argue that the Pentatuch is not valid as God's Word because it was transmitted orally?

    This should read "Elena, are you prepared to argue that the book of Genesis is not valid as God's Word because it was transmitted orally?"

  12. Chuckle... thanks Ellen. You have just proven why Sola Scriptura is ridiculous. Because the truth is that without scriptures in a form that we know of today - called the bible - God's word Was given authoritively through his chosen leaders in the old testament, the new testament and then for 1500 years through THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    Good job!

  13. Elena, truly some of your arguments are so - well...ummmm....I notice that you choose not to answer the questions.

    God's word Was given authoritively through his chosen leaders in the old testament, the new testament

    (so far, so good...)

    and then for 1500 years through THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    ???

    This is an answer, but not the answer to this thread.

    How does this support your argument that the Bible must be read for oneself, rather than be heard?

    It doesn't, but does (apparently) supply your need for a plug for Rome.

    Your argument puts the power in the hands of man (the reading) and mine puts the power in the Hand of God (in the Word). Of course, your entire religion is man-based, not God-based, so why should this be any different? Never mind.

    Rome (of course) supports your position, since Rome had to make sure that the people had to have Scripture read to them - with the pain of execution for even owning a Bible not written in Latin! (that's why they're called the "dark ages" - Rome kept their population in the dark)

    Rome fears other than the fact that once people started reading for themselves, the abuses by Rome all fell apart.

    The early church considered the Canon as closer to the Protestant Bible today, than the Roman Bible with the Apocrapha (the early church fathers didn't consider those books canon, but rather as history). Thus, Rome added to the Bible, rather than compiling it.

    What you are saying is that Rome had to approve God's choice of Scripture in order for it to be Canon.

    I'm saying that God gave us His Word, recognized by the early of the church fathers, and recognized by the apostles even as the New Testament was being written. Whether it is written or transmitted orally, it is still His Word.

    You deny that.

    You go ahead and put your faith in the bishop of Rome - I'll trust God.

  14. This is an answer, but not the answer to this thread.

    It's an answer - just not the one you were expecting! πŸ™‚

    But I totally agree with you that for thousands of years, the faith was passed down ORALLY!! That is not sola scriptura. And after Christ ascended the faith was passed on under the authority of the Catholic Church via the apostles and then their successors.

    How does this support your argument that the Bible must be read for oneself, rather than be heard?

    That's not the question, although you are trying to rephrase it now. Originally, when this started out on MY blog, the point was that:

    there is a whole set of practical presuppositions that the doctrine of sola scriptura makes, every one of which provides not just an argument against the doctrine, but a fatal blow to it. Sola scriptura simply cannot be God's plan for Christian theology.

    Here are his 7 basic problems with it!

    1. Requires ability to [print!)
    Thus the universal application of sola scriptura presupposes the mass manufacturing of books, and of the Bible in particular.

    2. Requires mass distribution of bibles!
    Second, besides the printing press, sola scriptura also presupposes the universal distribution of books and of the Bible in particular. For it is no good if enough copies of the Bible exist but they can't be gotten into the hands of the average believer. There thus must be a distribution network capable of delivering affordable copies of the Bible to the average Christian.

    3. Requires Christians be able to read!
    Third, if the average Christian is going to read the Scriptures and decide for himself what they mean then he obviously must be able to read. Having someone read them to him simply is not sufficient, not only because the person would only be able to do it occasionally (what with a bunch of illiterates to read to), but also because the person needs to be able to go over the passage multiple times, looking at its exact wording and grammatical structure, to be able to quickly flip to other passages bearing on the topic to formulate the different aspects of a doctrine as he is thinking about it, and finally to be able to record his insights so he doesn't forget them and he can keep the evidence straight in his mind. He therefore must be literate and able to read for himself. Thus sola scriptura presupposes universal literacy.

    You apparently thought that stating, "Sola Scriptura does not require literacy, it requires faith in the Word of God" was a good rebuttal.

    Of course that is an incomplete rebuttal because scripture means something that is written. We do not HEAR writing, we read it! We do however, hear preaching and oral transmission of the church. That IS what the Catholic church does and did, and it is what it did for the 1500 years before the doctrine of Sola Scriptura was invented.

    Your argument puts the power in the hands of man (the reading) and mine puts the power in the Hand of God (in the Word).

    First of all, Sola Scriptura is not my gig - it's yours. And yes indeed it was defined by a man (Martin Luther) and it requires men to read and interpret what was written. In fact many Protestant Christians say just that- that they read and interpret the scripture for themselves.

    Of course, your entire religion is man-based, not God-based, so why should this be any different? Never mind.

    An ad hominem fallacy attack that doesn't warrant a rebuttal.

    Rome (of course) supports your position, since Rome had to make sure that the people had to have Scripture read to them - with the pain of execution for even owning a Bible not written in Latin! (that's why they're called the "dark ages" - Rome kept their population in the dark)

    Rome had nothing to do with it. Most of the world was illiterate. Infact outside of the west, most of the world is still illiterate! Bibles were also hand written and took decades to reproduce.

    Rome fears other than the fact that once people started reading for themselves, the abuses by Rome all fell apart.

    LOL! So ELlen are you now arguing that the scriptures did indeed need to be read!!!?


    The early church considered the Canon as closer to the Protestant Bible today, than the Roman Bible with the Apocrapha (the early church fathers didn't consider those books canon, but rather as history). Thus, Rome added to the Bible, rather than compiling it.

    Wrongo Ellen. The bible including the deuteroncanonical books were the complete canon until Martin Luther removed the books that he disagreed with. For over 1000 years the books that the Catholic Church approved were the canon of books for the church.


    What you are saying is that Rome had to approve God's choice of Scripture in order for it to be Canon.

    Not exactly. But it is historically correct that the Catholic Church compiled the canon and the canon remained intact until Martin Luther changed it on his own authority.

    I'm saying that God gave us His Word, recognized by the early of the church fathers, and recognized by the apostles even as the New Testament was being written. Whether it is written or transmitted orally, it is still His Word.

    I'm not agruing that. Infact I agree with you! In fact -your last sentence is very... Catholic!!!

    You go ahead and put your faith in the bishop of Rome - I'll trust God.

    Another adhominem only more subtle. I trust that God gave us his church "the pillar of truth" and that the "gates of hell would not prevail against it!" πŸ™‚

  15. The bottom line is - believers in the Roman church must trust Rome more than they trust God.

    Why did Rome kill people for owning a Bible in their own language?

    Why, after 500 years after the apostles, and after 500 translations, did the Roman church order all translations not Latin burned, and all people owning them executed?

  16. I trust that God gave us his church "the pillar of truth" and that the "gates of hell would not prevail against it!" πŸ™‚

    church - bride of Christ.

    Not Rome. Unless, of course, you can prove Biblically, that God is a respector of persons (the Bible says He is not), that one man has religious authority over the world (the Bible does not), that papal authority is successive (you can't prove that Biblically).

    and you certainly can't prove Biblically that the Roman church is the pillar of truth!

  17. Elena, according to the Council of Trent, I'm damned - why are you attempting to have a theological discussion with the damned?

  18. The bottom line is - believers in the Roman church must trust Rome more than they trust God.

    First of all, this statement has nothing to do with your own topic. However, Catholics trust God and we trust that the church his son Jesus founded.

    Why did Rome kill people for owning a Bible in their own language?

    Why did Protestants burn and Catholic churches, execute Catholic leaders and murder Catholic men, women and children?

    Neither side has their hands clean Ellen - but that really has nothing to do with your topic anyway.

  19. The bottom line is - believers in the Roman church must trust Rome more than they trust God.

    First of all, this statement has nothing to do with your own topic. However, Catholics trust God and we trust that the church his son Jesus founded.

    It has everything to do with it. I read my Bible and trust God to speak through His Holy Spirit.

    You read your Bible and trust Rome.

    Why did Rome kill people for owning a Bible in their own language?

    Why did Protestants burn and Catholic churches, execute Catholic leaders and murder Catholic men, women and children?

    Neither side has their hands clean Ellen - but that really has nothing to do with your topic anyway.

    You're right, neither side has their hands clean, but you're wrong - this has much to do with the topic and you're afraid of it..

    The Roman Church had to forbid Scriptures being read by the people, otherwise their papal abuses would become known. People reading the Scripture would shed light on the corruption in Rome and the Roman church was willing to kill people to prevent it.

  20. I ask again, why was keeping Scripture from the people so important to Rome that owning a Bible in a common language was punishable by death?

  21. Actually Ellen, when you read your bible you are trusting Rome as well. You are trusting that the Catholic church chose the truly inspired books to be part of the canon and you are trusting that they did not err when that canon was finally closed.

    You're right, neither side has clean hands, but you're wrong.

    LOL!! Wow, I'm right and I'm wrong!?

    Can you keep on topic Ellen or not?

  22. Actually Ellen, when you read your bible you are trusting Rome as well. You are trusting that the Catholic church chose the truly inspired books to be part of the canon and you are trusting that they did not err when that canon was finally closed.

    Actually, I'm trusting God - you're trusting Rome.

    Churches were not (mostly) united under one government (Rome) until after the Canon was closed, until after other peoples started translating it into other languages - Right up until the point when Rome decided that Rome was the only church (there were those who disagreed and were killed) and until Rome decided that the Bible had to be kept out of the hands of the people (there were those who disagreed and were killed).

    Rome did not put its stamp of approval on God's Word until somewhere between 300 and 400 (depending on the source). The Egyptian Coptic church was using a New Testament that was very close to what we have now shortly after 100 AD - and the Roman church was persecuting them to boot!

    Besides which, even Rome doesn't refer to the "compiled" text, they refer to the Canon as the "received" text, implying that the completed work was given to them, not that they compiled it.

    You're right, neither side has clean hands, but you're wrong.

    LOL!! Wow, I'm right and I'm wrong!?

    shame on you, Elena...Shame. Deliberately leaving out text in order to provide a false impression is otherwise known as lying.

    I can put it in simpler terms.

    Yes, you are right - neither side as clean hands.
    No, you are wrong - this has much to do with the subject.

    k?

    Can you keep on topic Ellen or not?

    I'm not fearful of a morphed thread - although I'll attempt to come back to the original once in a while.

    Are you afraid of the topic of the corruption of Rome?

  23. In other words, you're going off topic because it is imperative to you use all of your ad hominem and poisoining the well techniques. Fine. But you have not rebutted my article and frankly, this need to demonize Catholicism makes the thread look a little silly.

    But it's your blog. I said what I had to say already.

  24. I said I'd come back to it - you're the one that's afraid of history, not me.

    Is it really poisoning the "well" to see if a source is credible? Or is it just common sense?

    We can go over the senseless "problems" that are not really problems, you just have to believe that Rome has the final say, where I believe God's Word, in the form of His Canon (Scripture) does.

    But I'll try...one more time...

    (sigh)

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