Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Protestant Discovers the Problems of Sola Scriptura

A post on what happened to a man searching diligently for the truth, no matter where it leads him.
Some snips:
For all of my life up until recently, I was a member in that complex and confusing part of Christendom known as evangelical Protestantism in both its mainstream and Reformed expressions. Though my transition from the generically Arminian church of my childhood to classical Reformed Presbyterianism was marked by several significant developments in my beliefs, one certainly maintained its place at the bedrock of my entire theology. This is no surprise for despite the doctrinal differences of the some 20,000 to 30,000 denominations within Protestantism, there is perhaps one that underlies every last one of them and that is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Latin for “by Scripture alone”). What the doctrine means is rather self-explanatory given its translation. Simply put, the doctrine states that only that which is contained in the Scriptures or can be directly derived therefrom should be received with the certainty of infallibility. In other words, anything that is not in and of the Scriptures is necessarily the wisdom of men and therefore does not possess the infallibility of God’s inspiration. The consequence of this doctrine is that any idea that cannot be found in the Scriptures is immediately suspect at best and should probably be discarded. No matter what denominational affiliation a Protestant is aligned with, he maintains some form of Sola Scriptura for it is the bedrock of the whole experiment.

Sola Scriptura, of course, sounds like a doctrine that is so obviously true that to question it could only indicate a doubt in the infallible divine inspiration of Scripture. However, I assure you that the doubts I began to consider that finally led me to shed my belief in Sola Scriptura were only because of my firm conviction in the absolute infallible divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. I must also say that my beliefs that must replace Sola Scriptura are still being worked out in my mind and heart. I simply do not yet know precisely how I will articulate the alternative at this time. This is the collection of thoughts that led me to consider Sola Scriptura as itself a man-made doctrine that is internally inconsistent and ultimately leads to an ironic conclusion characterized by complete uncertainty.
Then he bumps up against the biggest obstacle - the canon of Sacred Scripture:
To restate the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, it is the idea that only that which is contained in Scripture can be received with certainty of infallible divine inspiration. But think about this. When you open up your Bible to the first few pages and you come to the table of contents, has it ever occurred to you that that list is not itself a part of Scripture? That list, otherwise known as the canon, cannot be found within any book of the Bible. For what ever reason, God did not see fit to reveal to us a chapter-and-verse table of contents of what books possess that criterion of God-breathed Scripture. Therefore, given the Sola Scriptura principle, it would seem that any attempt to declare which books count as Scripture and which books do not is necessarily an extra-biblical claim that would be deemed uninspired and fallible because we don’t have an inter-Scriptural canon. Continue reading.
Please pray for all who search for the truth.
Tip o' the hat to Devin Rose.

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