More thoughts on Sola Scriptura

I ran across a great little post on the Wittenberg Trail webring on the issue of sola scriptura. Unfortunately, you’ve got to join before you can read any of the article, so a link will do little good for most folks.  So, I’ll reprint a portion here along with credit and a link.

The author is John L. Moseman, who from comments in the post, was Eastern Orthodox prior to becoming a confessional Lutheran.  The Orthodox, of course, do not hold to sola scriptura, due to their stand on Tradition.  John shares that it was the book of Galatians that challenged his belief in Tradition, and converted him to sola scriptura.

Here’s the body of his post, a shot commentary on Galatians:

“PAUL, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),” 1:1

This here in the first verse of this epistle is something that gets repeated, why? It is fundamentaly important that our faith is not handed down by men but God. What does this mean? That God can come into us and by his Word lead us in faith and direction. For the longest time I was hung up on Apostolic succession but it is not the men but the Word of God that propels the Church. RCC and EO would stress that their bishops were given the Holy Spirit but as Paul goes on to say that this is not the litmus test for teachers of the true faith.

” I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” 1:6,7

It is so evident here that false doctrine was coming from within the Church and that when these teachers turned from Christ on the cross they started making new doctrines. To me this stresses the importance of maintaing true doctrine found in the Gospel.

‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. ”

Right here it is expresses that even if it is an Apostle, an angel, priest, pastor, bishop or any other in the church that with they are not preaching THE WORD that they are not from God. To me this is where Sola Scriptura comes in with a bang, that it is not the pastors but the Holy Spirit, which comes from the Word. Without the Word of God we are hopeless as he goes on to explain that even the Apostles where confused. When they went on their own, when they relied on their authority and not on the Word. Here it is evident that in the Word we do have the authority of God. It makes it clear that if one is not in the Word or preaches the Word in truth that they are not of God. It becomes false doctrine. Also is it me or does he in a off shot way give creedance to Sola Scriptura when looking in the Scriputures to make his point?

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.”

Here it is simple though we have to hold true to the traditions and they have their place. Without the Word of God behind it, breathed in it, it is not of God. This was evident to Luther. So here we see that Sola Sciptura is not isolating the traditions only the ones not adminstered by God breathed in by his Word. So how can Mr. Hahn seriously hold that the Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura when it is clear right here that the Apostles authority directly comes from the Word and the Word alone.

I suggest everyone to read the entire epistle. Later on in it you start to see St. Paul correct and say that the Apostles had been in error suggesting that they where confused when the failed to keep the Gospel in perspective. The basic truth is that RCC and EO are right about some things. They error when they put the infalliable authority of God in man’s hands and not in the Word. This why even some of our Lutheran pastors error they are corrected by the Word.

Some interesting things to think about.  However, there are a few other things to consider:

  1. The New Testament that we have today is a product of Tradition.
  2. The Gospel Paul talks about is the Apostolic message that the EO believe has been passed down through Tradition.
  3. The question is, is Tradition the Apostolic message, or merely the traditions of men?  Perhaps a combination?

Any other thoughts?

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4 Responses to More thoughts on Sola Scriptura

  1. Fred says:

    It’s a funny coincidence that I used the same Galatians reference for my post today. I didn’t see your post until just now.

  2. me says:

    Posted today by Paul McCain:

    The opinion of these fathers is that a thing should not be believed or accepted because someone of the fathers either thought or said so, unless he proves what he says from the canonical Scriptures, that the fathers could have thought differently from what truth demands, and that we have been called by the Lord to that liberty that we may freely judge about the writings of any and all persons according to the canonical writings, and that when we disapprove of anything in the writings of the fathers which does not agree with the Scripture and reject it, this is done without rashness but by a just judgment, without injury or disgrace to the fathers, without prejudice to their honor, and with their consent, and this is done by those also who are incomparably inferior to the fathers.

    Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, I:261

  3. Steve Martin says:

    As a confessional Lutheran myself, I believe that there is a place for tradition in the church.

    But we are free to utilize tradition…or not.

    We hang on to the traditions that glorify the gospel of Jesus Christ, as long as they hold meaning for the worshiper. If they lose their meaning then they can become rote, and can detract from the Word.

    For us, our traditions help to keep us from floating too high up in the stratosphere of our own desires and self-eminated spirituality, and help keep us tethered to the great cloud of saints that have gone before us.

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