Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sola scriptura continued

I've received a few messages about my misrepresentation of the protestant cornerstone of thought- sola scriptura. First, I apologize. It's hard not to see (and even point out) glaring problems with my own religious upbringing as I explore the ancient Christian faith.
For the reformers sola scriptura didn't mean "nothing but the Scriptures". I recognize that Luther kept some things that were purely tradition and even Calvin kept some extrabiblical tradition. Now, a lot of protestants today are children Zwingli. Those are easy to spot. If they deny being a Protestant, then they're Zwinglian.
Amy and I were talking about this issue of authority and she said something like this:
For the average (ornery-type) protestant, they study the Bible to find out what they believe, then they take it to their church and point out their faults. Eventually a protestant believer leaves that church and joins one that agrees with his doctrine. What kind of submission to spiritual leadership is that?

That sounds like a better slant to this question of authority. The Fathers never abrogate the Scriptures. They affirm, interpret and apply them.

4 comments:

Daniel said...

hey! I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. It has helped to come to a better understanding of my own beliefs on Scripture.

I think that part of the Reformers' struggle was in the tension they saw between the NT church and 16th century Catholic church. Something didn't match up for them. Here they needed to ask where to find truth. Sola Scriptura helped them to answer that question.

In alot of ways, we're the product of the Reformation, but remember that 400 years has passed since then. You might be reacting more the individualism that has become such a part of the church since the Enlightenment.

The Wretched Sinner said...

"I think that part of the Reformers' struggle was in the tension they saw between the NT church and 16th century Catholic church."

That me be one of the biggest problems for the Reformers--you can't judge the Church strictly on the basis of what was illustrated in the Scripture, that was a snapshot in the life life of the Church. For example, we cannot look at our wives now and look at a picture of them when they were teens and say: you don't look like the woman I met 20 years ago, there's something wrong with you!
Church history did not end with the book of acts, nor did the Church become corrupt (which would be contrary to Scripture), it's still here, although it is not Rome, it is in the Orthodox Church.
My biggest problem when I was a protestant was that in protestantism there is the idea that the Holy Spirit guides us individually into the correct interpretation of Scripture. The problem was that there is over 10,000 protestant denominations claiming to be led by the Holy Spirit. Christ prayed that his Church may be one, but the nature of protestantism is always to divide, rather than reconcile.
I really enjoyed your post, keep up with your search, the Church is out there.

s-p said...

Hi Levi,
This is Steve Robinson from www.ourlifeinchrist.com Orthodox radio program. Welcome to the multitudes of people who have gathered in the cul de sac of sola scriptura and are realizing there is only one way out: the historic Church which existed for a thousand years before there was a Roman Catholic Church and 1500 years before a Protestant Church. It takes guts to face the reality of Western individualism and what it has brought to Christianity in the last five centuries. On a lighter note, I have a really good friend who is now an Orthodox priest who was a Young Life leader also.
peace to you and your house!

Stacy said...

Hey Levi,

I have to say that I've been enjoying reading your posts and finding that the things you've been articulating are the things that have been on my heart lately.

The real difficulty, I'm finding, is that no one seems to have a clue what I'm talking about. When I try to discuss the idea of community interpretation with anyone, I get weird looks and lectures on the importance of one-on-one time with God. I'm not saying that I don't have to be still and listen and seek him individually. But I really question the wisdom of individual interpretation.

After hearing Don Richardson speak at the beginning of my perspectives class, I'm stirred to examine the Bible through the wider lens I now own, but few seem to care enough to hear what I have to say on this, let alone join me on this journey.