100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura by Dave Armstrong. This flies in the face of the Catholic claim that the Bible is formally insufficient without the aid of tradition. But they do apply to the point of difference between Protestants and Catholics, namely, whether there are any authoritative normative revelations outside those revealed to apostles and prophets and inscripturated in the Bible. Tradition is an inevitable reality for all Christians. Sola scriptura simply cannot be God’s plan for Christian theology. And it was — in the apostolic writings known as the New Testament. We all know from experience that this is not so. How is the argument for the necessity of a visible judge, derived from the diversities ofsects and doctrines among Protestants, to be answered? It is the fallacy of “argument from silence”—asserting a conclusion based on lack of evidence to the contrary. Tradition, like the Bible or the Word of God, is presented as immutable in Scripture: delivered “once for all” to the saints. That’s why we have published the book 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura by well-known apologist Dave Armstrong. 4:6).11 This kind of exhortation is found throughout Scripture. The Catholic use of 3 John to prove the superiority of oral tradition is a classic example of taking a text out of context. Sola Scriptura (Latin ablative, sōlā scrīptūrā, meaning "by Scripture alone") is upheld by Lutheran and Reformed theologies and asserts that scripture must govern over church traditions and interpretations which are themselves held to be subject to scripture. When Catholic apologists claim there is significantly more doctrinal agreement among Catholics than Protestants, they must mean between orthodox Catholics and all Protestants (orthodox and unorthodox) — which, of course, is not a fair comparison. St. Paul declares that the God-breathed writings are sufficient. (Sola scriptura is one of them.) Thus, he appears to take for granted that which many Protestants have the hardest time grasping and accepting. Finally, to borrow a phrase from St. Paul, the Bible constantly warns us “not to go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. John is not comparing oral and written tradition about the past but a written, as opposed to a personal, communication in the present. This is just an example shown for the theme preview. It simply means that it is not explicitly contained within the letter of the Bible, though it might well be in harmony with it. Throughout the book of Acts we see Peter and Paul exercising apostolic authority and preaching—not merely handing out Bibles or mouthing (Old Testament) Scripture. So, however authoritative the apostles were by their office, only their inscripturated words are inspired and infallible (2 Tim. Why Is Sola Scriptura Unreasonable?Protestants believe the Bible is the only source for determining Christian truth. Sola Scriptura: The Principle of Causality Is Not Violated. Furthermore, “Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and made statutes and ordinances for them… which he recorded in the book of the law of God” (Josh. This it does in a number of ways. 2 Thessalonians 3:14: If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Third, orthodox Protestant “denominations,” though there be many, have not historically differed much more significantly than have the various “orders” of the Roman Catholic church. There may be relatively more of these, but the restrictions are not different in kind from Protestant restrictions on dogma, hermeneutics, and exegesis. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Third, Kreeft’s argument wrongly assumes that there was apostolic succession (see Part Four, next issue). A Compelling Argument AGAINST Sola Scriptura? For prophets were not infallible in everything they said, but only when giving God’s revelation to which they were not to add or from which they were not to subtract a word. He answered them, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”. Nor can one argue successfully that unbelievers are unable to see spiritual unity. First, the essential Bible of the early first century Christians was the Old Testament, as the New Testament itself declares (cf. 13:3; Mark 4:2, 33; 6:34; Luke 11:53; 24:15–16, 25–27; John 16:12; 20:30; 21:25; Acts 1:2–3). The fact is that they do not have an infallible record from the first century on which to base such a decision. Or am I trying to please men? Nehemiah 8:7–8: Also Jesh’ua, Bani, Sherebi’ah, Jamin, Akkub, Shab’bethai, Hodi’ah, Ma-asei’ah, Keli’ta, Azari’ah, Jo’zabad, Hanan, Pelai’ah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. For even they admit that no new revelation is being given today, as it was in apostolic times. Further, Jesus and the apostles constantly appealed to the Bible as the final court of appeal. Likewise, “Samuel next explained to the people the law of royalty and wrote it in a book, which he placed in the presence of the Lord” (1 Sam. Thus, there is a limit to how far a Calvinist can go in interpreting Scripture, and that limit is set by Calvinist tradition. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. Indeed, it is not plausible that He would have allowed succeeding generations to struggle and even fight over precisely where this alleged extrabiblical revelation is to be found. As we will see, each of the Roman Catholic arguments against the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura fails, and they are unable to provide any substantial basis for the Catholic dogma of an infallible oral tradition. (This one is mostly about what some Protestants call Solo Scriptura, or the AnaBaptist / modern American Evangelical view of it). I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. A bad hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) is more crucial to deviation from orthodoxy than is the rejection of an infallible tradition in the Roman Catholic church. 5:3; 7:12) sometimes referred to their own God-given authority. Now on to the 10 arguments against Sola scriptura: When Paul spoke of receiving and delivering such traditions, he gave no indication that they were fallible or that he questioned any of them because they came through oral transmission rather than the written word. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Were Paul not assuming that, he would have been commanding his followers to adhere to a mistaken doctrine. However, they do not seem to appreciate the significance of this fact as it bears on the Protestant argument for sola Scriptura. You can buy that book here to read all 100. First, this wrongly implies that all denominationalism is scandalous. Fourth, as J. I. Packer noted, “the real deep divisions have been caused not by those who maintained sola Scriptura, but by those, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, who reject it.” Further, “when adherents of sola Scriptura have split from each other the cause has been sin rather than Protestant biblicism….”14 Certainly this is often the case. That is, all apostolic tradition (teaching) on faith and practice is in the New Testament. 8:1) and to “inscribe it in a record; that it may be in future days an eternal witness” (30:8). All church traditions, creeds, and teachings must be in unity with the teachings of scripture as the divinely inspired Word of God. Jesus and New Testament writers used the phrase “It is written” (cf. (The Scriptures Alone) Part 2. 18:18; Acts 2:42; Eph. Catholics understand the difference between authoritative and infallible, since they make the same distinction with regard to noninfallible statements made by the Pope and infallible ex cathedra (“from the seat” of Peter) ones. This preached gospel stood forever as truth before it was ever encapsulated in the Bible. 3:15-16; 1 Tim. Sola Scripturais the i… Indeed, even the prophet himself was not to add to the revelation God gave him. It is only reasonable to infer that God would preserve what He inspired. Therefore, it is not legitimate to appeal to any oral revelation in New Testament times as proof that nonbiblical infallible authority is in existence today. In other words, the only reason Jesus and the apostles could appeal to an authority outside the Bible was that God was still giving normative (i.e., standard-setting) revelation for the faith and morals of believers. Sola Scriptura could hardly be stated more emphatically. 10:6). So this Catholic argument against Protestantism is self-condemning. Second, the Bible does teach implicitly and logically, if not formally and explicitly, that the Bible alone is the only infallible basis for faith and practice. Fact is they MUST fight this notion of Sola Scriptura simply because it is their enemy! We can go in more depth of what Sola scriptura means, who and how it was developed, but this is a good starting point. Sola scriptura: A Blueprint for Anarchy. These two “solas” are known, respectively, as the formal and material causes of the Reformation. Because it is plainly written that Jesus is the Word made flesh that dwelt among us according to John 1:14. 30:5-6). Solomon reaffirmed this in Proverbs, saying, “Every word of God is tested….Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver” (Prov. Of course, none of these are a prohibition on future revelations. Apostolic Tradition is in harmony with Scripture. As for all the claims the Catholic church makes regarding their argument that "Sola Scriptura… Train yourself in godliness. Indeed, since Catholic scholars make a comparison between the Old Testament high priesthood and the Roman Catholic papacy, this would seem to be a very good analogy. 22:29). Sola Scriptura contends the latter is preferable. “Moses then wrote down all the words of the Lord” (Exod. DEFINITION of SS given by Greg Krehbiel that I will use: "Scripture is the only infallible rule for faith and practice" -- hence, all "churches" and any "traditions" (today) are fallible. I just couldn’t resist reposting this article by Father John Whiteford, who happens to be an Eastern Orthodox priest. 3:16-17; cf. Sola Scriptura: Tradition and Scripture Are Not Inseparable. Second, as orthodox Catholics know well, the scandal of liberalism is as great inside the Catholic church as it is outside of it. Indeed, to assume that oral traditions of the apostles, not written in the Bible, are necessary to interpret what is written in the Bible under inspiration is to argue that the uninspired is more clear than the inspired. To claim that the apostles did not write down all God’s revelation to them is to claim that they were not obedient to their prophetic commission not to subtract a word from what God revealed to them. It begs the question, however, for Roman Catholics to claim that this supports their belief that the church of Rome still has infallible authority outside the Bible today. She refused to hear any counter-argument; she refused to apply the same standards to Rome she was applying to the Bible and Protestant churches. Before we make arguments refuting Sola Scriptura, it would be best to define it as many people have defined it in different ways. What they read from “the book” did not interpret itself. This powerful new book contains just that — Biblical arguments. The full PDF may be viewed by following the link below the excerpt. See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. What it does mean is that all apostolic teaching that God deemed necessary for the faith and practice (morals) of the church was preserved (2 Tim. This they often did by the introductory phrase, “It is written,” which is repeated some 90 times in the New Testament. When they died, however, there was no longer a living apostolic authority since only those who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ could have apostolic authority (Acts 1:22; 1 Cor. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. April 23, 2015 Scott Eric Alt Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! How to Have a Civil Discussion about Abortion, Why Do I Call Myself Good? Yet it is not. Indeed, John closed the last words of the Bible with the same exhortation, declaring: “I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life…” (Rev. But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! 4:4, 7, 10) over 90 times, stressing the importance of the written word of God. The only way to know for sure what God expects of us is to stay true to what we know He has revealed—the Bible. Sola scriptura is not as much of an argument against tradition as it is an argument against unbiblical, extra-biblical and/or anti-biblical doctrines. Only when one chooses to compare things like the mode and candidate for baptism, church government, views on the Eucharist, and other less essential doctrines are there greater differences among orthodox Protestants. 11:2) and “stand fast in them” (2 Thess. The believers were asked to “maintain” them (1 Cor. Dear fellow Catholics and separated brethren: I need your help. 9:2). Hang with me. 15:3, 6). For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. Further, it is unreasonable to insist that words of the apostles that were not written down are more clear than the ones they did write. In point of fact, Protestants seem to do about as well as Catholics on unanimity of essential doctrines with only an infallible Bible and no infallible interpreters of it! As stated above, and contrary to a rather wide misunderstanding by Catholics, perspicuity does not mean that everything in the Bible is absolutely clear but that the main message is clear. He wrongly assumes, unwittingly in contrast to what Vatican II and even Vatican I say about the canon, 13 that the church determined the canon. This powerful new book contains just that Biblical arguments. Luke 10:7); second, it is inconsistent to argue that God-breathed writings in the Old Testament are sufficient, but the inspired writings of the New Testament are not. Kreeft’s argument that sola Scriptura violates the principle of causality is invalid for one fundamental reason: it is based on a false assumption. The Authority of Scripture, by Reader Christopher Orr. Since both Catholics and Protestants agree that there is no new revelation beyond the first century, it would follow that these texts do support the Protestant principle of sola Scriptura. In his sermon in the upper room (Acts 2) and in other recorded sermons, St. Peter gives an authoritative New Covenant interpretation of salvation history, interpreting the Old Testament messianically and “Christianly.” It was binding and equally authoritative and inspired before it became “inscripturated” because it was from an apostle. It is also self-defeating, for if sola scriptura were true, it would have to be explicitly spelled out in Scripture itself. This does not necessarily mean that everything the apostles ever taught is in the New Testament, any more than everything Jesus said is there (cf. It expands upon what we know from Scripture, and though it is not inspired like the Bible, its truths are every bit as revealed and infallible. Sola Scriptura, the formal principle of the Protestant Reformation, is essential to genuine Christianity, for it declares that the Bible is the inspired word of God, the churchâ€™s only rule of faith and practice. 4:4, 7, 10). The Classical Reformation - Part 1: Sola Scriptura, by Fr. However, 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. What the Catholic must prove, and cannot, is that the God who deemed it so important for the faith and morals of the faithful to inspire the inscripturation of 27 books of apostolic teaching would have left out some important revelation in these books. 24:4), and his book was preserved in the Ark (Deut. As soon as the apostles died, however, it became imperative for the written record of their infallible teaching to be available. Every human opinion and ecclesiastical voice must yield to whatever the Bible teaches. But it is utterly presumptuous to assert that what fallible human beings pronounce is clearer than what the infallible Word of God declares. 5:22, 28, 31; 28:18) and the apostles (1 Cor. 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