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Sola scriptura

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Here is an interesting list by Tim Chesterton, regular participant in the community around this site:

Here is a short list of some other things that I cannot reconcile with strict adherence to the letter of scripture:

1. Lending money at interest.

2. Refusing help to beggars on the streets when they ask for money.

3. Inviting friends and family over for a dinner party rather than the poor and needy.

4. Taking oaths in court.

5. Christians serving in the military (approved for believers in the OT, but NT Christians commanded not to resist an evildoer and to love their enemies).

6. The inerrancy of every detail and command of scripture (given that in the Old Testament God’s people were told that they had to be circumcised and keep all the food laws on pain of being cut off, but in the New Testament Jesus and Paul swept all that away – ‘thus he declared all foods clean’).

7. Christians having possessions (‘None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all he has’).

8. Unanswered prayer (we all experience it, but it doesn’t jive with the words of Jesus, especially Matthew 7:7-11 and Mark 11:24).

9. The fact that death had existed in the world for millions of years before the emergence of human beings (contra. Romans 5:12).

Please – I love the scriptures, I study them daily, to preach from them week by week is one of the greatest joys of my life. But submitting to ‘the authority of Scripture’ (a phrase, funnily enough, not found in the scriptures) is not a simple thing, in my view.

If you want to reflect further on this, you might appreciate my series “The Bible says”:

Textual Criticism
The Septuagint (LXX)
Hebrew vowel pointing
The canon
Translation
Continuity problems
Social Cultural Historical Geographic context
The Bible says 8
There’s also been a related post, “the pope says…

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10 Responses to Sola scriptura

    • Or even the practice of calling your own biological father “father,” Peter. After all, Matthew 23:9 doesn’t say “Do not call priests, presbyters or any other such religious ‘father’…” It says, “Do not call *anyone* *on earth* ‘father’…”

  1. We could also add the OT understanding (eg in Ecclesiastes 3 and 9) that people do not rise from death, and in the Psalms (and eg Is 38:18) that there is no praise/hope etc from the dead – and then in the NT the whole thing being centered around the fact that someone did come back from the dead…
    …oh but hang on, there is unfolding revelation and a biblical storyline to take account of, as is recognized by Article 20 with the note about not expounding repugnantly. It doesn’t make all difficulties and tensions go away, but it helps make sense of a good number if we take that unfolding storyline seriously (as Jesus seemed to – Luke 24)

    • Thank so much, Chris, for raising this point – where some parts of the scriptures contradict other parts.

      That the scriptures show a trajectory, and that we are called to follow that trajectory, is an approach I have spoken about previously (taking what you call “that unfolding storyline seriously”).

      But IMO that is the exact opposite of Article 20,

      …it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another….

      Article 20 is arguing the opposite of a trajectory from things that are written which are false towards a deeper understanding of truth. It is arguing for a homogeneity of the scriptures.

      The honest exegesis of the texts you mention come to the conclusion “that people do not rise from death, and that there is no praise/hope etc from the dead”. The Christian position is that those texts are wrong.

      So I agree with your solution. But your solution disagrees with “the plain words” of Article 20.

      Blessings.

      • The trouble with that Bosco is that you are again creating either/or and flat readings – which is to read those texts like a science text book, instead of as literature, as part of a narrative. An unfolding story (note STORY) does not mean a contradiction of earlier statements necessarily, but can mean (and often does in literary reading as opposed to rationalistic reduction) a deepening understanding and a fleshing out.
        So the fact that Jesus rose from the dead bodily, and that this becomes a central base and fount for the Christian faith in fulfillment of the faith if Israel, is seen as a radical and profound, but strangely fitting picture when the OT is read as literature (eg when the little hints and yearnings peeking through in Ecclesiastes 3:16-17 and 12:13-14 are read along with the other parts I mentioned – again reading them literarily). That is how Jesus seems to be teaching us to read the Bible in Luke 24: 44ff.
        What I was really trying to point out by my comment – perhaps too obliquely – is that there is a great danger in reading reductionistically in the way that we are looking for details to contradict rather than seeking to read the Scriptures in their unfolding story as the revelation of God.
        And that reductionism and negative reading, I am pretty sure, is precisely the sort of attitude Article 20 is seeking to help us to avoid. But of course in order to hear that from the Article, you have to read it with an optimistic expectation that the Articles were written to help us, not hinder us. 🙂

        • Bit lost here, Chris, in which sense am I “again creating either/or and flat readings” when I am arguing for the very non-science-text-book, progressive-unfolding, trajectory reading of the scriptures? Furthermore, if you are seeing that as expressed in the plain sense of Article 20 then I think you will be able to find whatever you like in those Articles. They were IMO not written to help “us“. They were written to help “them“. Another time, another context, other problems. They are neither inspired, nor infallible. And I don’t have to make them fit with or speak to today’s context, time, or problems. Sorry. Blessings.

  2. And the most unscriptural thing of all is the concept of “Sola Scriptura”. If the Bible is the word of God, “Sola Scriptura” is a mere human opinion about the Bible.

    Either we decide about the Bible, or in the Bible Christ has decided about us.

  3. THREE EXAMPLES OF WHY MEN SHOULD USE THE BIBLE ALONE

    Should mankind use the Bible and the Bible alone for teaching faith and practice? If God’s truth is the template for you, then the Bible should be your source for truth.

    THREE EXAMPLES OF WHY EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCES ARE NOT RELIABLE SOURCES FOR GOD’S TRUTH.

    1. Quote from Pope Francis May 22, 2013: “The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not evil. All of us. “But Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes he can…”The Lord has redeemed all of us,all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us not just Catholics Everyone! Father, the atheist? Even the atheists. Everyone! ….We must meet one another doing good. ‘ But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist! But do good:we will meet one another there.”

    2. Quote from Billy Graham October 20, 1997: “I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ……He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world,or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ,because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

    3. Quote from Doctrine of Covenants -section 130:22 (Mormon supposed divine revelations): The “Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were is not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

    GOD’S WORD IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    • Steve, I am leniently letting your comment through moderation. You continue to not participate in discussions, but you merely paste the same comment from one blogsite to another. This is not engagement – it is just irritating. You are now being added to my list of spammers. Your points in no way dialogue with the post. Previously I responded to you, then I responded to you and emailed you – you did not have the courtesy to respond. This time I am doing those two things again, and I will add this as a comment on your website. Blessings.

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