I will use the phrase sola scriptura throughout this presentation to
refer to the Reformers position on the bible. J. I. Packer, a strong
Evangelical theologian says that "The Reformers whole understanding of
Christianity depends on the principle of sola scriptura. What does sola
scriptura mean? That the bible is the only word of God, the only guide
for conscience in the church. It is the only source of true knowledge
and of God's grace. It is the only qualified judge of the church's
testimony and teaching." Since that is admittedly the foundation for all
Protestant theology, sola scriptura must be conclusively proved from the
bible. If it can not be proven from the bible, it is a self-refuting
doctrine that has no validity. We would agree that the bible does all
these things, but we would not agree that the rule of faith is the bible
alone. The bible is made effective by the living church with an
infallible tradition whose church was founded by Jesus. The church
confesses a living tradition to which he is bound, out of obedience to
There are many reasons why we reject Sola Scriptura: The first and most
important reason is that it is unbiblical. Other reasons are that it is
unhistorical, illogical, inconsistent, impractical and improbable.
1 - Sola Scriptura is unbiblical. Nowhere does the bible teach that the
bible alone is our sole authority. Many try to say 2 Tim 3:16-17 teaches
it. It says that scripture is inspired and profitable. That is exactly
what the church teaches. However, nowhere does it say that it is
sufficient, or that it contains all inspired truth necessary to know, or
that only scripture is profitable. In fact, if you try to use these
verses to prove scripture is all you need, then if you look at verse 15,
you will see that Paul is talking about scripture that Timothy knew since
infancy, the Old Testament. You will have just proved that you do not
need the New Testament.
God's truth is revealed in both the New and Old Testament. There is not
one instance in either the Old or New Testament where sola scriptura is
practiced or preached. For example, Moses wrote Genesis thousands of
years after the events of Genesis took place. The argument against oral
tradition is that it is unreliable, and things get distorted. Well, if
you believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and that it is God-breathed
scripture, you are basing that fact on oral tradition. This information
was passed from Adam to Moses. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Joseph, etc. somehow got by without scripture even existing. In Genesis
one example of this oral tradition working is by looking at chapters 17
and 26. In chapter 17, God forms the covenant with Abraham. How in
Chapter 26 did two generations later will Jacob know how to keep the
covenant? Did Abraham write it down and say you read this, interpret it,
and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the correct interpretation? No, it
was orally and authoritatively transmitted 2 generations later to Jacob.
In the third generation of Abraham, Jacob will be duty bound to keep the
commandments, statutes, and laws. It is this type of faithful
transmission of truth that eventually reaches Moses that enables Moses to
finally enscripturate it.
Now, let us look when finally Moses wrote down the authentic oral
tradition that we know as the Pentateuch. When the law was given to
Moses, one copy of the law is given in the ark of the covenant. Only
Moses could approach the ark of the covenant. The book of Deuteronomy is
written by Moses and entrusted to the Levitical priests. If sola
scriptura was to be practiced Moses would have made sure that he
published Gideon Pentateuchs and Gideon Torahs for everyone to interpret
on their own. However, Aaron is given this authority, for example in
Deuteronomy 10:3. In Leviticus 10:2-11 only the Levites are given the
authority by God to bear the ark of the covenant. The priests interpret
the word and bind the people. The people do not say, "Oh no, you are
mere Levites, you can't tell me how to interpret scripture". Here we get
magisterial authority of the priests, when they make an oral proclamation
of Deuteronomy. Also, the whole book of Deuteronomy is like a Pope Moses
encyclical. It is all of Moses writing. It is not just Moses writing a
command from God, per se, but it is Moses writing an infallible oracle.
In 2 Kings 22:8-17 King Josiah, who is shown to be a Godly man, is given
the book of the law. If God wanted him to work the sola scriptural way
in determining the truth he would say "Ask the Holy Spirit and he will
guide me in interpreting the truth." No, he says to the priests Shaphan
and Hilkiah, "Go, inquire of the Lord for me." God's message is shown to
be entrusted to the interpretation of the priests, and Josiah has an
obligation to pay heed to that interpretation. There is a binding
magisterium at work, no sola scriptura.
In Nehemiah 8:1-8 we see Ezra the scribe and priest bring the Law before
the congregation. They read it aloud. Ezra, the main priest with other
Levites and helped the people to understand the law. It says in verse 8
that Ezra and the Levites "gave the sense, and helped them to understand
the reading." Not one Israelite said "give me the law directly and I
will interpret it for myself."
Elijah and Elisha are great prophets who had teaching authority. That is
what magisterium means in Latin. Elijah was a great prophet but he did
not write a thing down. Obadiah was a prophet. However, are we to
believe that the only word of this prophet that had God's blessing is one
chapter? Prophets are not just read, they are listened to, orally, and
that message is passed on by tradition. Jeremiah writes " I will write
the law on their hearts", not on their pages.
God's word in the Old Testament therefore shows us that his revelation
came to his people orally and authoritatively by teaching authorities,
and when scripture was written, it needed to be properly translated by
priests and prophets. No one gave private interpretations of the Torah.
In the New Testament, how did the church function? The sola scriptural
doctrine says that Christianity is solely guided by the bible. Can you
show me anywhere where Jesus said that his disciples must write the New
Testament? Do you see anywhere where Jesus told his disciples to write
anything? No! Jesus says nothing about apostles or non-apostles (such
as Mark and Luke) writing anything or binding the church exclusively to
it. What do we read? Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go ye therefore,
and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto
the end of the world. Amen." Nothing about writing a book. If Jesus
meant Christianity to be solely based on a book, he would either have
written it himself or at least commissioned his disciples to write it.
He does not say write it down, then it is up to everyone to interpret it
for himself to discover truth on his own by asking the Holy Spirit to
Jesus said to Peter "Upon this rock I will build my church..." He gives
Peter alone the keys. He tells Peter to feed, or lead his sheep 3 times
in John 21:15-17. Jesus shows this authority of the church also in
Matthew 18:17-18, where he gives to the rest of the apostles the
authority to bind and loose. In Matthew 18:17 Jesus said that if a
brother sins against another, take it to the church. "But if he refuses
even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and tax
collector." This church has authority from Christ who gave it authority
to bind on earth as well as heaven. This church is visible.
Let us examine how the church functioned in the New Testament. In Acts
2:42, after Pope Peter gave a sermon in which many were brought to
salvation, it says they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine
and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." According to
sola scriptura doctrine, the visible church has no authority in doctrine.
According to this passage however, the doctrine already existed via
Jesus but through the church that Jesus established. At that time there
was not even a hint of one letter of the New Testament existing.
According to sola scriptura there would have been no doctrine to
persevere in. It fits in perfectly with the Catholic approach .
How was the dispute on circumcision handled in Acts of the Apostles,
Chapter 15? Let us look at how it was resolved. The apostles Paul and
Barnabus were disputing with the Christians who came from Judea who
wanted to force the new believers to be circumcised. The question is who
made this decision and how was it made? According to sola scriptura they
would have to decide it in one of two ways: They would have to look up
some Old Testament scripture and prove that view from the scripture: or
the apostles would have written down the answer to that question, and
after it was determined it was now New Testament scripture, they would
have said circumcision is now necessary or not necessary based on this
new scripture. Is that how it was determined? The bible shows that
neither one of these sola scriptura methods were used. Pope Peter
settled it the Catholic way. After all the disputing Pope Peter came out
with an infallible decree that binds all Christians since. He said that
circumcision is not necessary for salvation in Acts 15:7-11. What was
the reaction of these people who were in such dispute? Did they say like
you would "Who are you, a mere man, to tell me what to do? I follow no
Pope!" No! Read Acts 15:12. Remember, prior to Peter speaking, there
was much division.
Once Peter spoke, "Then all the multitude kept silence,..." The people
recognized his authority, as they knew that he received his authority
from Jesus. Circumcision is not necessary. Also, nowhere does Peter say
"This must be written down."
Later, acting as local bishop James puts in guidelines to his local
community. His guidelines assume the full force of Peter's decree. Acts
15:13-20 shows that for that time, so as not to offend the Jews,
they were to abstain from strangled meat, and blood. Now that was
binding on the people at that time. It was written down. One would have
sinned if those people would have eaten meat with blood, because it was a
decree by the apostle. However, is it a sin today to eat meat with
blood? I eat meat with blood all the time and I am sure that you do too
unless you are a vegetarian. We do not sin by doing that. What does
this passage show? First, that Peter was the ultimate authority who
decided the issue of circumcision. This decree has been binding on all
Christians ever since. and this was not written down until some 25 years
after the fact. The church did not wait until Luke wrote this to make
this decree authoritative. That is oral tradition at work. Scripture
had nothing to do with that decision. Second, the decree that James had
written down was something that could be changed later on. He did not
try to adjust Peter's decree. If you notice, that is the exact same
thing that the Catholic church did with eating fish on Friday. In the
past, eating meat on Fridays, out of respect for Jesus dying on Good
Friday, was a small sacrifice to bring to remembrance his death for us
(similar to Daniel in Daniel 10:2-3). That parallels James telling the
people not to eat meat with blood. Later on, the decree of not eating
meat on Fridays was changed, just as Christians are now not bound to
abstain from eating meat with blood.
This shows that there are two types of tradition that are established by
the church. The tradition that will never change and is apostolic, such
as the decree on circumcision we say is a capital T tradition. This
includes beliefs and morals that will never change. Small t traditions,
like the decree made by James, modes of baptism, eating meat on Friday,
priestly celibacy, are binding and can be changed, but they are not
Let us look at Matthew 23:2-3. Here Jesus commanded his followers to
observe the traditions based on Moses seat. Moses seat is nowhere
mentioned in the Old testament. Rabbinic sources show us that Moses seat
was based on oral tradition dating back to Moses. The same Jesus who
condemned human tradition in Chapter 15, validates authentic traditions
in Chapter 23. He says that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees
sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell
I encourage you to read Jude 14-16. What was Jude's source for this
information about Enoch? There is absolutely nothing from scripture.
Jude is using this information to teach us prophetically and
authoritatively. Again, it is oral tradition. The Book of Enoch was an
apocryphal book that was written about 100 BC. Jude drew from this Book
of Enoch to teach us. As he was the seventh of Adam, in order for this
to be reliable information, it was oral tradition that passed this down
from the moment of the event until it was written down thousands of years
after the event. Jude is using this to teach us, and is therefore
binding on us. Yet another showing of sola scriptura's falsity.
There is no question that the word of God is to be binding on Christians.
The Catholic Church teaches this. However, there is no indication
anywhere in the bible that the word of God is only contained in written
form. The Catholic Church teaches that the word of God is oral, as well
as written. There are many verses to support this but a couple should
suffice. 1 Peter 1:25 says "But the word of the Lord endureth forever.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Notice,
it does not say the word which by the gospel is written down to you, and
then preached. It says by the gospel which is preached to you. It is
oral, and it is just as inspired as what was written down. How long does
God say this word of God will last? Again, that verse says that it will
endure forever. In Acts of the Apostle we see in many places the
Apostles preaching the word of God without the contents of their
preaching being written down. For example, in Acts 13:5, after being
commissioned by the church, Paul and Barnabus preached the word of God in
Salamis to the Jews. However, nothing is written anywhere what the
contents were. In Acts 20:27, 31-32, Paul says that he taught 3 years
day and night the whole counsel of God to the Ephesians. Are we to
believe that the letter to the Ephesians, only 6 short chapters exhausts
all of what Paul taught? No way! He then commended the people to the
word of God - most of what he taught orally. Read Isaiah 59:21 and the
prophecy of the new covenant. It says how the new covenant will be
transmitted generation by generation, orally. Nothing about writing.
Romans 10:17 says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God. The word of God is oral. That is what the bible says. Sola
scriptura would say it cometh by reading. There is not one verse in the
bible that says the written word of God is the only word of God.
Tradition is the means by which we know what that oral word of God is.
What about the apostles who were commissioned to preach? Only John,
Matthew, and Peter actually wrote anything that appears in the New
Testament. Are you telling me that the others did not do their job?
They all did do their job, which was to preach the gospel just as Jesus
had commissioned them to do. For example, Thomas went to India and
established a church there. The church that traces itself to Thomas has
all the Catholic beliefs that are constantly trashed by Protestants.
What Thomas and the other apostles taught was the word of God even though
it was not written down. Tradition is the means by which we know what
the apostles taught orally. All Catholic beliefs are based on this. All
Catholic beliefs can be traced back to the first few centuries, well
before there was an emperor Constantine. The facts are conclusive to
anybody who seriously studies church history. The tract that was given
to us was both a bad caricature of what we believe, and a
misrepresentation of the facts. If we are really interested in the
truth, we will look at what the church taught in the first centuries
through the Christians themselves, not by people who are living in the
20th century who have axes to grind and distort the Catholic Church.
What does the bible say is the pillar and ground of truth? Whatever the
bible says, that is what you say that you go by. 1 Tim 3:15 says the
church of the living God is the pillar and ground of truth. It does not
say pillar and ground of truth, as long as the scripture leads it. If
the bible said that the scripture was the pillar and ground of truth,
evangelicals would use that as a proof text for sola scriptura. You say
that the church is just anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. I
have done that, so has Joe, many Pentecostals, Lutherans, Presbyterians,
Baptists, non-denominational people such as you, etc. Now you would have
to say that all of these people, since they constitute the church, are
the pillar and ground of truth. You have got to be kidding, they all
disagree on very many important things. Since they disagree on so much,
there is no way that they can be a pillar and ground of truth. The funny
thing is, they all go by sola scriptura! Pillar and ground of truth is a
bulwark that does not crumble and leaves no room for doctrinal error.
You need a visible church in order for 1 Tim 3:15 to make any reasonable
sense. That of course is the Catholic Church, the only church that
traces itself back to Jesus.
In John 20:30 and 21:25 John says that are many things that Jesus did
which are not written in the gospel. In 2 John 12 and 3 John 13, John
says that there many things that he would write, but he would rather see
him face to face. Oral tradition at work. In the midst of Jesus' great
commission he said in Matthew 28:20 to teach them to observe all things,
not just things that they will write down. Again, Jesus told them to
Tradition in the New Testament is in the Greek paradosis, which means to
transmit (i.e., a precept), hand on. It can be negative, can be
positive. In the bible, Man-made tradition which contradicts the word of
God is condemned, but church tradition is always affirmed. Last week
Rev. Payne said he wanted nothing to do with tradition. If that is true,
then he must not have anything to do with the bible. 2 Thessalonians
2:14-15 says "He called you to this through our gospel, that you might
share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand
firm and hold to the traditions which were taught, whether by word of
mouth or by epistle." The gospel thus consists of oral and written
traditions. Notice that the bible is called a written tradition. If you
are against tradition, according to this passage you are against the
bible. Notice that the oral tradition is put on the same par, and is in
fact mentioned first in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. There is no mention of the
oral tradition just explaining what the written tradition is. The church
confesses this living tradition to which we are bound out of obedience to
the bible. Here Paul states tradition matter of factly. He did not feel
a need to argue for a living tradition, he assumed it. The Thessalonians
knew what he was talking about. Where is that living tradition? In the
Catholic church, distinct from private interpretations of the bible. In
that tract of supposed heresies it said that the Council of Trent made
traditions on par with the bible. The tract was off by about 1500 years.
Paul did it himself in this verse. In fact, according to Paul if you
leave out oral tradition you are leaving out half of the gospel.
How does Paul say for Timothy to spread the faith? Does he say copy what
I write, and distribute these copies to everybody to read, interpret it
themselves, and just have them ask the Holy Spirit to guide them? No,
instead he says in 2 Tim 2:2 "And the thing you have heard me say in the
presence of many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able
to teach others also." Notice that he says what you heard from Paul.
That is the oral word of God working thru tradition. No, Timothy, who
was ordained as Paul mentions in 1 Tim 4:14 and 2 Tim 1:6, is told to
proclaim what Paul taught him orally. Those following Timothy were to do
the same thing. That is exactly what the Catholic Church has done for
In 1 Corinthians 11:2 Paul commends those Corinthians who hold to the
traditions. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6, he commands believers to stay away
from those who do not live according to the traditions. In other words
if you do not walk according to the living tradition of the church, you
are not walking in the fullness of faith.
Does not the bible condemn human traditions in Matthew 15:3-9, Mark 7,
and Colossians 2:8-9? Yes, Jesus and Paul condemn human traditions that
contradict the word of God. The korban rule that Jesus condemned
violated the commandment to honor parents. Jesus gives the people the
authentic, correct tradition in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The Catholic
church condemns human traditions that contradict the word of God just as
Jesus did. The church is based on apostolic, not human tradition.
Attacks on the church based on these verses are either superficial or not
understanding what the church traditions actually teach. The tract that
was given to us was a perfect case in point. In fact sola scriptura is a
human, man-made tradition.
In 2 Peter 1:20, Peter condemns private interpretation, which is the
heart of sola scriptura. You will notice that on the heels of this
verse, you see Peter trashing false prophets and heresies in 2 Peter 2.
In other words, private interpretation, which is at the heart of sola
scriptura, directly leads to heresies. The doctrine of sola scriptura
says, according to the Christian Research Journal, a leading evangelical
magazine, that "the bible has perspicuity apart from any traditions to
help us understand it. All doctrines essential for salvation and living
according to the will of God are sufficiently clear." What does the
bible say about how clear it is? In talking about Paul's writing, Peter
says in 2 Peter 3:16, "in all his epistles, speaking in them of these
things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are
untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the
rest of the scriptures." Peter is showing us that private interpretation
in 2 Peter 1:20 is directly linked to the heresies of 2 Peter 2, and the
twisting of scripture of 2 Peter 3.
2 - Sola Scriptura is unhistorical. When Jesus ascended into heaven,
what did he leave behind, a book or a church? The church spread for
decades long before the New Testament books were written and gathered.
The first book of the New Testament was not written until more than 20
years after he ascended. The last book was not written until 50 or 60
years after Jesus left. It took 350 years for anybody to give a list of
defined scripture, the bible. How could these Christians last all these
years without even a list of scripture if Jesus meant them to follow the
bible alone? When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left behind a church that
was led by Peter and the apostles. The bible came from this church, not
the church from the bible. There was already a pillar and ground of
truth: the church that has since lasted 2000 years, the Catholic church.
The church that Jesus established formally defined what scripture was in
the years 393 and 397. Until that point there was much debate on what
was scripture. Most books of the bible do not even claim inspiration.
There are many books that were claimed to have been written by apostles,
that were rejected by the Catholic Church. There were others, such as
the letter written by Pope Clement of Rome in the first century to the
Corinthians, that were read as though they were scripture in the first
few centuries. Have you read the Didache, Letter of Barnabus, Shepherd
of Hermas? In the early centuries some Christians considered these
writings as scripture. Do you know that there was also much dispute in
the early centuries on whether the book of Revelation, Hebrews, James,
Jude, 2 Peter, were indeed scripture? Who finally decided? Now if there
is an infallible church, that can infallibly decide things based on the
authority given it by God, then I could know that the 27 books of the New
Testament are indeed inspired by God, and I have full assurance that what
I have is God's. If you reject the Catholic church, you have no such
assurance. If you are sure that the church went into error on Mary, the
sacraments, tradition, and so forth, then why do you accept the New
Testament, which the church declared to be true. What basis do you have?
Does God speak directly to you and say "the letter of Philemon is
God-breathed?" Is that how you know that it is the word of God? If you
use that argument, you are talking just like the Mormons, who say that in
order to verify the Book of Mormon, you ask the Holy Spirit, and he'll
show you. Please show us in scripture how that is the scriptural way of
finding out what is scripture.
How do you know that Matthew wrote the gospel of Matthew, or Mark wrote
Mark? In the original manuscripts, none of the gospels say who wrote
these books. I know because of the oral tradition of the Catholic
church. That is the church that checked into it. We must be able to
prove that Matthew wrote Matthew, because he is an apostle of Jesus. If
it was not written by him, there is no basis for believing it. Your sola
scriptura doctrine gives you absolutely no basis for knowing that
Matthew's gospel is apostolic. Did you also know that there was another
book that was claimed to have been written by the Apostle Matthew? How do
you know that this book does not belong in the bible? You have
absolutely no grounds for rejecting it, because you reject the Catholic
Church which declared the one gospel of Matthew as authentic, and the
other book a forgery. Historically, sola scriptura has no grounds.
3- Sola Scriptura is illogical - Inside of scripture there is no list
of books which state the canon. In fact, in the New Testament the only
book that verifies its own canonicity is the Book of Revelation.
However, as stated before, there was much dispute for centuries whether
even the Book of Revelation was scripture, until the church affirmed its
authenticity in the Councils of Carthage and Hippo at the end of the
fourth century. How can you rely on a doctrine that does not even affirm
which books constitute scripture?
Even if scripture did tell us what was scripture, how would you know
whether to believe it? I believe that the Koran, and the Book of Mormon
claim inspiration. Maybe we have the wrong scriptures?
If you agree that the church was infallibly correct on which scriptures
were the New Testament, then how can you say that they were heretical on
the sacraments, Mary, purgatory, tradition, etc? If they got these areas
messed up, how can you believe them on what constitutes the bible?
The sola scriptura argument presupposes the canon as it begs the question
on authority. Sola scriptura is therefore illogical.
4 - Sola Scriptura is inconsistent - All of us have a tradition, whether
we want to admit to it or not. The tradition from which we draw is
authoritative. For example, would you allow someone at your church to
preach with your blessing that baptism is necessary for salvation? What
if they searched the scripture hard and they think that John 3:5 means
baptism? Would you allow that to be preached in your church? I know
there are many people like B.B. Warfield who hold that the charismatic,
spiritual gifts went out at the death of the last apostle. Some feel
that there are no more God-ordained miracles, and speaking in tongues is
of the devil. These people claim to come to these positions by the bible
alone. If you went on vacation for a couple of weeks, would you allow
someone of Warfield's ilk to preach with your blessing that healing and
spiritual gifts are no longer valid. No, your tradition is too
authoritative to allow that. What if while you were on vacation you
visited B.B. Warfield's church, and you wanted to preach specifically on
spiritual gifts and the fact that there are still apostles. Would B.B.
Warfield allow you to preach on that? No, his tradition would be too
authoritative to allow that.
The bible is written in Hebrew and Greek. Both of you are trusting
someone else's knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek, and biblical culture,
in order to mold your opinion. We are all trusting in humans in some
manner in the translations to English from Hebrew and Greek. Both of you
are trusting someone else's knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek, and
biblical culture, in order to mold your opinion. We are all trusting in
humans in someone in some manner in the translations to English from
Hebrew and Greek.
You have a big selection of books in the office, that has helped to form
your current theology You have therefore drawn from traditions,
although you may not want to call it that. Sola Scriptura is a tradition
that started in the 16th century. Salvation by faith alone apart from
obedience to God is a tradition that was started in that century as well.
The whole spectrum of theological issues have a tradition that started
at one time or another. There are people like Gerry Matatics, who was
once an ill-informed anti-Catholic, who found the fullness of truth in
the Catholic church through the bible. He was excommunicated by the
Presbyterian church, even though he went by the bible, and the
Presbyterian church supposedly honors the bible alone. Sola Scriptura is
So then, the question again is, not whether one follows an authoritative
tradition, but is it the tradition that can be traced to Jesus and the
apostles? If your tradition can not be traced to the apostles, it is a
man-made tradition. As God's truth can not change, our theology has to
have been found in the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 13th, 15th, 17th, and 20th
centuries. If it can not be found during that whole time, then it can
not be apostolic, based on Jesus' promises in Matthew 16:18-19, 28:20,
and John 16:13.
5 - Sola Scriptura is impractical - As a result of Sola Scriptura, there
have been thousands of denominations and splinter groups. Most breakups
have been based on private interpretation, or sola scriptura at work.
What the bible teaches on baptism, the mode of baptism, how you are
saved, can you lose it once you get it, charismatic gifts, sacraments,
the millennium, communion, type of church leadership, etc. Those are
only a few of the issues that churches have split apart on, based on how
people privately interpret scripture. Is that how God wants his children
to be? By all accounts it has led to denominational, and even
In comparison, look at the U.S. Constitution. If the government was sun
in the same way as sola scriptura was practiced, we would have 240
million interpreting the U.S. Constitution their own private way. They
would ask the spirit of Thomas Jefferson to guide them to their correct
interpretation of the constitution. What would we have? Total anarchy.
The framers of the constitution saw fit to have a judicial branch that
could interpret the constitution. You might say, well, we have the Holy
Spirit and he is supernatural, and he will guide us unto the truth. That
is what all denominations say as they go off in their varying
interpretations. The Holy Spirit only guides to the truth, and it is
near blasphemy to say that the Holy Spirit will cause such confusion.
Are the framers of the constitution more practical than God?
How does the impracticality of sola scriptura compare to the aim of the
gospel. John 16:13 - However, when he, the Spirit of truth has come, he
will guide you into all truth for he will tell you things to come;
Ephesians 4:4 - There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 1 Cor 1:10 -
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you;
but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the
same judgment. Sola Scriptura is therefore impractical and leads to
being unbiblical in yet another way.
6 - Sola Scriptura is improbable - We would say that this fundamental
doctrine of Christianity, at least according to Luther, Calvin, and all
Protestants, was missed for 1500 years. There was no question that
opponents of the Catholic church in the early centuries did selectively
quote scripture. However, no one inside or outside the church put out as
a platform the doctrine of the bible alone as the sole authority. We
would have to say that for 1500 years Christians everywhere got it wrong.
All the doctors of the church, all the saints got it wrong. Wycliff in
the late 14th century first came up with it only when he disagreed with
the pope. The theologians in his own college condemned it as
All Christians talked of a living tradition alongside the bible, to make
the bible infallible in reality, not just in theory. Jesus would have to
have been asleep at the wheel for 15 centuries until Luther finally got
it right. Sola Scriptura is therefore improbable.
There are many more biblical and historical points that I can point to as
I show the inadequacy of sola scriptura. However, if the points in this
paper I have written can not be refuted, then Protestant theology,
whether Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, non-denominational,
Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. which has as its foundation sola scriptura,
is false. Most Protestants just assume that the bible alone is the
correct way to find truth but as I have shown this view is false.
1997 Refutation of Sola Scriptura ...by Matt1618
Last modified March 28, 1997.