Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sola Scriptura

Thanks to Church and World, I was able to read the comments of our new Vice Moderator of the General Assembly on Bill Tammeus' blog about how Sola Scriptura is dead in most places ... so where do we lodge the authority of our faith?.

Coming to the Reformed faith late in life, after growing up Catholic, my knowledge of the Bible was sorely lacking. Oh sure, we got a dose of the OT and the NT at Mass, but not an in-depth study. Perhaps it has gotten better, but in the 50's and 60's, you just didn't get that in a Catholic school.

Anyway, in my membership class at Treeburn Presbyterian back in 'Nother Completely different Presbytery, concepts like Total Depravity, and the Solas were introduced into my consciousness. I did some additional reading, really started getting into small group Bible studies, found out what the Solas meant, and what Calvin said about Christianity and humanity.

While I always understood the Bible was the inspired Word, I came to understand what Sola Scriptura really meant. While I don't take the Bible completely literally; there is some allegory in Genesis after all, the laws as enumerated in the Old and New Testaments are clear, non-allegorical, and obviously meant to be followed. I also realized that my old denomination, the Catholic Church, while having a fairly direct lineage from the early Church through Peter, had lost its way through the manipulations of ritual and rules by the hierarchy.

The Reformers said Sola Scriptura, that anything outside the Scriptures is the work of mankind, and not that of God; and we should not follow such. Is that statement being rejected by our new Vice-Moderator?? Evidently so!

Others have commented on this here, here, here, here, and here, much better than I could. Many of my original thoughts were confirmed by those listed posts. However, I'm not capable enough to respond with the kind of theological argument that would refute that statement.

What I can say is that for many Presbyterians in the Pew his declaration could be construed as a call to schism. What he is saying is that if the Bible does not agree with what he wants, we just do away with the Bible as the authority for the church. In effect, he is calling for a split in the PCUSA of those who believe in Sola Scriptura, that is, conform the world to the will of God; and those who want to find a different authority, to conform the church to the world.

Many will say that split is already here, and those who believe in the authority of the Bible are voting with their feet. I tend to agree, the PCUSA shrunk by 60k this past year alone. Not all left with churches moving to another denomination, I'm not sure of the breakdown, but I don't believe the rest all passed on to join the Church Triumphant.

I won't be leaving, its too easy to walk away and give up the PCUSA. I won't leave, not when there are those in countries being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Can I not do the same in a denomination that is becoming less faithful to Christ and His Word?? A pastor friend of mine said to me, As long as I can preach Christ, and Him crucified I will stay!. As one who believes that the Word was made flesh, and that we can only learn about Him through the Word, I will stay and be faithful.

... and so it goes!


  1. I don't think that our churches have been teaching Sola Scriptura--or the other four solas--in their confirmation and membership classes for quite some time. No wonder we now have a vice-moderator who says its dead in most places.

  2. This is what happens when seminaries dumb down our candidates for clergy...

  3. I like what you are saying. I would say that I will stay as long as I can preach and worship according to the word of God. I am a conservative Presbyterian minister who had a strange problem getting through the ordination process back in the 1970's.


I'm not one to moderate comments, as I try to moderate my own at other blogs. That said, I will remove offensive, defaming and otherwise inappropriate comments when needed.