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9/27/2018 4:30 pm  #1

Sola Scriptura

Can someone point me towards or rehearse to me the strongest arguments against sola scriptura?  I grew up old-school Lutheran and I recently started working with some very theologically informed Lutherans and sola scriptura was something we discussed.  I'm not up to date on my Christian apologetics, however, and my half of the conversation left something to be desired.  I have some thoughts but I'm curious to hear yours.    Thanks.


9/27/2018 8:26 pm  #2

Re: Sola Scriptura

The first problem with Sola Scriptura is how to identify the books that comprise Scripture, the canon problem.

The second problem is that it presupposes a paradigm shift in the medium of transmission of divine Revelation at the end of the Apostles' lives. Whereas during the Apostles' lifetime the medium of transmission was the Apostles' teaching, "tē didachē tōn apostolōn" (Acts 2:42) - so that before the first NT books were written around 50 AD the transmission of Revelation could have been rightly described as "Sola Didachē" - after the Apostles' had died the only medium of transmission is a book. If that were the case, anyone hearing the Apostles preach would have been right to point out to them, "Excuse me, gentlemen, but if you want to optimize the use of your time, you should devote most of it to putting your teachings in writing instead of preaching, making sure that you are thourough and clear. Because any teaching that you have not put in writing will just be lost."

But apart from these problems arising from just common sense, there is the issue that Sola Scriptura is against Scripture, specifically 4 Pauline passages.

First we have these 3 passages which imply that not everything which was revealed by God was transmitted in writing by the Apostles, at least definitively not by Paul:

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter."  (2 Thess 2:15)

"Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 1:13)

"and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:2)

The objection to Sola Scriptura from the three above passages could be ingeniously countered by positing that any knowledge that Paul transmitted only orally and which needed to be transmitted to future generations was put in writing by some other NT author, be it John, Peter, James, Jude, or Luke in Acts. I don't think any Sola Scriptura defender would actually resort to such convoluted argument, but even if they did, they'd still need to explain away this other passage from Paul:

"the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." (1 Tim 3:15)

It is the Church which is "the pillar and support of the truth", not Scripture. This statement plus the quoted Pauline exhortations to hold to the traditions received orally from him show clearly that the position of Sola Scriptura is actually against Scripture.

Last edited by Johannes (9/27/2018 8:27 pm)


9/27/2018 11:34 pm  #3

Re: Sola Scriptura

That was a very informative reply.  Thank you Johannes.

     Thread Starter

9/27/2018 11:40 pm  #4

Re: Sola Scriptura

Ed gives some arguments against sola scriptura hereherehere, and here. (You can probably find more by going over the literature on early modern disputes over the rule of faith.)


9/28/2018 12:05 am  #5

Re: Sola Scriptura

Those look good.  I'll read through them tomorrow.

     Thread Starter

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