Recently someone going by the name Ginny commented on my blog entry entitled Christian Catch Phrases. I enjoy a good religious debate, and I added that post so long ago that I decided my response should be a post of its own. So here goes.
This is what Ginny said:
You say you studied religion and are still a Baptist. I think you should read your Scripture more closely - it would help you. Where do you find sola scriptura in Scripture? You don't. It says in response to being asked what to do to be saved - "Repent and be baptized...." It also leads one to know that they can lose their salvation . I would hope you would read more closely - with a more open mind. God bless you!
Ginny, thanks for commenting! I’ve been pretty disappointed that the only discussion on my blog up to this point has been about what kinds of TVs are best and whether or not Hellboy was a bad movie.
You’re right. You won’t find “Sola Scriptura” in the Bible, due in no small part to the fact that it’s a Latin phrase and the New Testament was written in Greek. But I see the point you’re making. You’re saying that by my own definition I shouldn’t believe that the Bible is the only source of divine knowledge because the Bible itself doesn’t come right out and claim that it is.
Do you believe in the Trinity? It’s a fundamental Christian belief. If a person doesn’t believe that God is one being with three eternally distinct and coexisting personalities then he falls outside the scope of Christian orthodoxy. While the word “Trinity” is found nowhere in the Bible, the concept is found throughout.
Likewise, the reason that all protestant denominations adhere to Sola Scriptura is because this is the standard that scripture holds itself to. Nothing in the New Testament contradicts the Old. Rather, passages from the Old Testament are frequently used as evidence that the point being made in the New Testament is true.
So I have to ask myself, what truths do we need God to reveal to us beyond the revelation He’s already given to us in scripture? Are there any matters of doctrine or morality that scripture doesn’t address? I would say that there aren’t.
So what happens when we say that people can obtain further revelation from God that cannot be supported (or is in direct contradiction to) scripture? We create tradition that supercedes doctrine, we substitute idolatry for worship, and we cloud the perfect truth that God has already given us. Take the Catholic church, for example. They choose a man and call him holy for the rest of his life. He makes statements that append scripture with contradictory ideas. He sanctions the belief in praying to dead people, the pseudo-hell of purgatory, and the act of repeating meaningless prayers to a dead woman in a bid to “pay” for sins in a sad works-based return to legalism that deviates from the truth of Christ that is clearly revealed to us in scripture. Joy and peace are replaced by guilt and fear, and Christ’s life, death and resurrection are rendered meaningless.
Previous popes labeled Mary worship and concepts such as Mary’s ascension, perfect life, and continued virginity after the birth of Christ as heresy. Now the current pope not only supports all of these fictional ideas, but basically deifies Mary. So my question is this: If even ONE pope was ever in contradiction with another, wouldn’t that invalidate the entire concept of the papacy? If the position of the pope is ordained by God and is infallible, then every pope would have to live up to their position. Unless of course, in the final analysis, popes are merely human like the rest of us.
Mormons add new scriptures to the mix. Jehovah’s Witnesses change the ones we have to fit their views. Catholics pile tradition on top of scripture and distort its meaning. What, then, is the truth? If a person is free to say, “God has given me this new revelation”, how can we ever know if they are lying? That is why the burden of truth has to rest on Scripture alone. Without this safeguard, Christianity becomes a silly superstition, and no one can discern what is true.