It's more than a little ironic that Protestants who believe that all doctrines need to be found in the 66 books of their Bible claim to be modelling themselves off of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12), who neither had a 66-book canon nor a belief that all doctrines need to be found in the Scriptures. The Bereans are noble, but they're not Protestant.
Was sola Scriptura true during the time of the Apostles?Were the Apostles and the first-century Christians bound to follow Scripture alone? These are the two options. You can claim, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, that the Apostles and early Christians believed in Scripture alone. But doing so both undermines John's faith in the Resurrection and renders the New Testament irrelevant. Or you can concede that the Apostles and early Christians didn't believe in Scripture alone. But then you have to throw out all of the alleged "Scriptural proofs" for sola Scriptura, and concede that it's a post-Apostolic man-made tradition that contradicts the written word of God.
In the modern age, it's easy to assume that Christians always studied Scripture by reading their personal Bible, or that theological questions always settled by the believer looking through his Bible at home, alone. But none of that is true. As St. Augustine and Scripture itself confirm, the Bible was originally intended to be proclaimed to the community. Which is why I'm happy to be part of a project that seeks to do just that.
How important is it that all Christians operate from the exact same Bible? You may be surprised to learn that for most of Church history, the (implicit) Christian answer was "not that important." Why was this the case? And why isn’t it the case today? Because of a major shift in how Christians approached Scripture and doctrinal orthodoxy...
Contemporary Christian groups are fond of producing "Statements of Belief" (SoBs) that serve as sort of imitation Creeds. That's a bigger problem than it might seem.
Did the early Christians believe in "sola Scriptura" (Scripture alone)? Or did they also believe in Apostolic Tradition? Keith Mathison, in his book "The Shape of Sola Scriptura," claimed that the Catholic view wasn't found in the first centuries of the Church, and that the earliest Church Fathers believed in sola Scriptura. Mathison's views are thoroughly debunked by (of all people) Karl Barth, the Reformed theologian Christianity Today called "the most important theologian of the twentieth century." And Barth capably proved the Catholic Patristic case... even though he personally believed in sola Scriptura!
Is mandatory celibacy extrabiblical? Who cares?
The debate over sola Scriptura is often framed as a question of whether the fullness of revelation is Scripture or Scripture plus Tradition. But the Bible points us to the fullness of revelation, and it doesn’t look like this: Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life with Bible (1885) Rather, the fullness of revelation looks more like […]
Caspar Schwenckfeld Catholic beliefs are often rejected by “Bible-only” Protestants on the grounds that they are “extra-Scriptural Traditions.” This accusation typically misses the mark: on teachings like the priesthood, or the Eucharist, or regenerative baptism, it’s not that the Church is deriving these views from a source other than Scripture. It’s that she sees support […]
Did you know that the word “person” comes to us through Catholic philosophy and theology? Theatrical masks of Comedy and Tragedy, Roman mosaic, (2nd c.). It’s true, although the word existed before Christianity in a different context. Etymologically, the word “person” originally comes from a Latin word meaning “sounding through” (personare), which referred to actors […]