This is at the request of a commenter, Elena.
Elena (for reference, Elena is a member of the Roman Church) posted an article with “problems” with the doctrine of “Sola Scriptura”. Quite frankly, I am on vacation and I have no desire to continue a senseless argument with somebody who has no desire to listen, only to argue. I’m going to close comments on the original post, so as to keep this on track.
Because I have no desire to drag this out into senseless and meaningless debate (again), I am placing limits on the debate. Each person entering into the debate will have a limit of 5 posts in which to put forth their arguments/rebuttals. This includes me (but not posts regarding administrative stuff). There is a limit of 40 posts in this thread, at which point comments will be turned off. (I don’t expect to have that many, since this is a new blog and I don’t think I have that many visitors, but it seems like enough time for whoever might pass by to get their word in). You may defend the doctrine, the problems, the reasons, the reasons for suppressing. As long as it pertains to “sola Scriptura”, it is not off topic in this thread.
Here is the doctrine: Scripture is the only infallible rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines.
That’s it. That’s the doctrine that seems to be the most hated by Rome.
As far as I know, these “problems” have never been considered problems by the officers of the Roman church or the bishop of Rome. The article was written by James Akin, a Roman Catholic, but I could not find where it was endorsed in any way by the Vatican. The teachers of the Roman church have always read Scripture out loud and have still considered it “Scripture”.
- Requires ability to [print!)
This “problem” says that in order for a person to have complete faith in the Bible for infallible rule, a person cannot have it read to them, they must be able to read it for themselves. This is silly. The Bible (God’s Word set down in writing) is God’s Word, whether it is read by the person receiving it, or read out loud. It is infallible, whereas man and tradition are not.
From the time Scripture was written on sheepskin, it was infallible and it remains infallible, and the method by which it is received is not relevant – it is still Scripture, just as Shakespeare is Shakespeare, whether silently read, or acted out on stage.
2. Requires mass distribution of bibles!
This “problem” says that in order for a person to be able to say, “that’s what the Bible says and that’s my final authority”, that person has to have his or her own personal copy. From the time that Scripture was written on sheepskin, nobody ever said that it wasn’t infallible because it was read out loud.
Scripture needs to be distributed, but not everybody has to have their own copy – even the Jews read the Torah and still considered it Torah.
3. Requires Christians be able to read! (this one I will address one of the comments)
…but also because the person needs to be able to go over the passage multiple times
I trust that God’s Word will not return unto Him void. Where the Spirit moves, there will be understanding. Besides, anywhere there is somebody who can read, there is probably somebody who can be asked, “what about…?”
4. Must have scholarly materials available.This “problem” is saying that if you want to depend fully on God’s Word, you have to also depend on the works of man.
Why? If the Bible is the final authority, why depend on the works of man? That’s the whole point.
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.
I recently watched “The Magdalene Sisters” – these imprisoned young women didn’t have time to recreate and barely had time to eat and sleep. But there was somebody reading the Bible while they ate. Possibly the only thing that was right.
In Old Testament times very few families could afford their own scrolls, yet even when all that was written was the law, Scripture exhorted them to that “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Jews were to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
These were people who were under the working conditions described above. Thus, since the Bible expected it, I believe it is possible.
6.Sola scriptura pre supposes universal adequate nutrition
What this “problem” is saying is that God in not powerful enough to work without the hearer having proper nutrition, but Rome is.
Personally, I have more faith in the power of God than that. In other parts of the world, people are starving and Christianity is flourishing – it’s because of the power of God, not the power of food.
7.Must be skilled in evaluating arguments
What this “problem” appears to be saying is that accepting only Scripture as your authority is not enough, you have to be able to think for yourself. While thinking is helpful in arguing, I know many people with a simple faith that need not turn to arguments. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” means just that. They can (and do) fall on Scripture (God said it and I believe it).
The question that popped up in my mind: What do people who cannot think embrace, if not Scripture? Is that why people follow those who think for them?
The hatred of “sola Scriptura” by Roman Catholics begs the question, “why?”
Why is “Scripture alone” so heavily condemned by the Roman church?
(History lesson) By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Around that time Rome decided that only Latin was a suitable language for the Bible (and how many people knew Latin?) and that anybody found in possession of a Bible not in Latin would be executed.
Why was it so important to Rome that the church control Scripture, that they were willing to kill those who wanted to read it?
Why were Bibles not in Latin burned?
There were many abuses and persecutions – I am speaking strictly of the attempts by the Roman church to so subdue the population as to keep them from the Scripture.
Why? What was the Roman church so afraid of?