Liberals vs. Sola Scriptura
Sola Scriptura is a subject that is attacked from all angles. Liberals deny it and thus they are thrown into a spiral of subjectivism. Conservative Roman Catholics must attack it because the Bible alone doesn’t support many of their “infallible” teachings. These two groups are not the only ones that attack Sola Scriptura but they are the hefty majority. Before we dive into this article we need to define Sola Scriptura. I like the definition that Kenneth R. Samples gives in an article he wrote for Christian Research Journal. This is what he said:
Sola Scriptura- A Definition
By sola Scriptura Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals). Sola Scriptura implies several things. First, the Bible is a direct revelation from God. As such, it has divine authority. For what the Bible says, God says.
Sola Scriptura- The Sufficiency of Scripture
Second, the Bible is sufficient: it is all that is necessary for faith and practice. For Protestants “the Bible alone” means “the Bible only” is the final authority for our faith.
Sola Scriptura- The Authority of Scripture
Third, the Scriptures not only have sufficiency but they also possess final authority. They are the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. However good they may be in giving guidance, all the fathers, Popes, and Councils are fallible. Only the Bible is infallible. – “What Think Ye of Rome?” from the Christian Research Journal DC170-3
Samples went on to give two more points but for this article the three will suffice. Now let’s take a look at how liberals dismiss Sola Scriptura.
Brian McLaren is a widely known and respected person within the emergent church movement. The emergent church is a difficult subject because it is hard to define. The definition is difficult because they do not have many faith statements. You cannot pin them down on a topic because where one person holds one view you will find a dozen more that hold to a different view. What does this create? It creates utter subjectivism. This subjectivism can only come from denying Sola Scriptura and that is exactly what McLaren does in his works. Notice what he says:
…if you’re going someplace where no one has ever been a map cannot help you. That’s where the name “Off The Map” comes from in part. But another problem with maps is that sometimes they change. -(Brian McLaren, “A New Kind Of Christian – Part 1“, Copyright: 2004, Off The Map)
And the maps that used to accurately reflect reality don’t reflect reality anymore. -(Brian McLaren , “A New Kind Of Christian – Part 1“, Copyright: 2004, Off The Map)
Scripture is something God had ‘let be,’ and so it is at once God’s creation and the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures who produced it. -(Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 162)
With this view of Scripture where does one get their understanding of God? Does it come from within? Personal Experience? Culture? That is the question that needs to get answered. Denying that the “road map” is capable of directing the Christian in the 21st century leads to the conclusion that truth about God isn’t something that we can really know. It is something that is up for grabs. If you look at the second quote referring to McLaren he undermines Sola Scriptura because he asserts that the Bible could not possibly give us insights on how to live now because it was written too long ago. So, McLaren apparently believes that the Bible is insufficient because our culture has changed. And guess what…our culture will change again and again and again. So how do we know the truth about God? In a world filled with darkness how can we know a God of light? I guess we can’t…or can we? I believe that we can and, thankfully, the Bible contradicts McLaren’s claims. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, forreproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” -ESV
Paul’s words to Timothy are clear and precise. The man of God is complete and equipped for every good work through the God-breathed Scriptures. The Scriptures are how we know God. our knowledge of God doesn’t come from culture or personal experience. Those are subjective grounds for truth because culture changes and everyone’s experiences are different. God does not change thus he cannot be subjected to a changing foundation (Mal. 3:6, James 1:17). God is capable of speaking to his creation throughout every generation and has done so in the Scriptures.
Sola Scriptura matters.
Thanks for reading.